Paul O’Grady’s final-ever TV project confirmed to air months after star’s passing

Paul O'Grady's best friend reveals his funeral wishes. (Getty)

Legendary comedian Paul O’Grady’s final TV appearance will be in an upcoming documentary about elephants.

Before he died in March 2023, the presenter filmed a two-part documentary series called Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure.

O’Grady made the series in Thailand as he explored elephant rescue centres across the country, in the vein of his much-loved series Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs.

The documentary also sees O’Grady exploring Thai culture and religion.

ITV said, in its autumn preview: “Filmed late last year before his sudden and unexpected death, this was Paul’s final project and one that he was incredibly passionate about.”

The broadcaster added: “Each episode highlights a particular challenge faced by elephants in the region and – as ever – Paul’s love for animals shines throughout the series. The tone is warm, playful and heartfelt and always characterised by his much-loved wit and humour.”

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Paul O'Grady pictured at a red carpet event.
Paul O’Grady’s death was announced on Wednesday (29 March). (Getty)

The popular comedian – who rose to fame as his drag persona Lily Savage – died suddenly in March of cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 67.

His death was announced by his husband Andre Portasio, who said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening. He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

Images from Andre Portasio's Instagram birthday post for Paul O'Grady. (Instagram/Andre Portasio)
Images from Andre Portasio’s Instagram birthday post for Paul O’Grady.

A number of stars paid tribute to him, with Russell T Davies saying: “He was ferocious in the fight against AIDS; he made everyone love drag.”

Lorraine Kelly also called O’Grady “funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise”.

O’Grady was last seen on TV in the 11th season of For the Love of Dogs, which aired just a fortnight after his death. The show won several National Television Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA.

Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure will air on ITV1 this autumn.