O'Grady in 2009
|Born||Paul James Michael O'Grady
14 June 1955
Birkenhead, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom
author, television personality
|Spouse(s)||Teresa Fernandes (m. 1977–2005, divorced)|
|Partner(s)||Brendan Murphy (1980–2005,
Andre Portasio (2006–present)
|Official Radio 2 show page|
Paul James Michael O'Grady MBE (born 14 June 1955) is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio DJ. Becoming famous for his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, he subsequently became well known for presenting the daytime chat television series, The Paul O'Grady Show.
Born to a working class Irish migrant family in Birkenhead, North West England, O'Grady went through various jobs in his youth, including working in various bars, for the civil service and for social services, moving around the country. While living in London in 1978 he first turned his hand to drag, developing the character of Lily Savage based upon various female relatives of his. Proceeding on a tour of Northern England as a part of a drag mime duo, The Playgirls, he eventually went solo as a stand-up comedian. Performing for eight years at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), he won a Perrier Award for his comedy act, attracting mainstream attention and presenting television shows Blankety Blank (1997–1999) and Lily Live! (2000–2001).
Moving on from his drag act, he appeared in the comedy sitcom Eyes Down (2003–2004) and presented several travel documentaries. In 2004, he began presenting The Paul O'Grady Show for ITV, but after a quarrel with the company re-launched the show on Channel 4 in 2006 as The New Paul O'Grady Show, which ran until 2009. Returning to ITV, he presented the Saturday night chat show Paul O'Grady Live (2010–2011) before stopping to focus on other projects, including presenting a Sunday evening show on BBC Radio 2, Paul O'Grady on the Wireless and two ITV programmes, award—winning documentary series For the Love of Dogs (2012—) and The British Animal Honours (2013—).
In 2003, O'Grady was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, and in 2006 was listed by The Independent at number 32 in their 101 most influential gay people in Britain. Appointed MBE in the 2008 Birthday Honours list for services to entertainment, in 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts from De Montfort University, Leicester, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television, radio and the stage.
Paul O'Grady's father, Patrick "Paddy" Grady (died 1973), had grown up on a farm in Ballincurry, County Roscommon, Ireland, before moving to England in 1936 in search for work, settling down in the working class area of Birkenhead. His name was changed from Grady to O'Grady in a paperwork mistake when he joined the Royal Air Force; he kept this altered name. Patrick married Mary Savage (1916–1988), born in England to Irish migrants from County Louth. Patrick and Mary were devout Catholics and brought up their children in the faith. Paul was their third child, born at 7:30 am on 14 June 1955 at St. Catherine's Hospital, Tranmere. His birth, over a decade after that of siblings Brendan and Sheila, was not planned; his mother was 39 and only discovered the pregnancy when visiting the doctor complaining of indigestion. Paul O'Grady spent his early life at the family's rented home of 23 Holly Grove, Higher Tranmere, Birkenhead, a house built in a former quarry during the early 1930s; O'Grady remarked that the house was always damp and cold, suffering from "ominous cracks" which "would appear in the walls and ceilings overnight".
Attended St. Joseph's Catholic primary school, he excelled in all subjects but maths. Hoping that he had a good future ahead of him, his parents budgeted to send him to a private school, the Catholic-run Redcourt, but his grades dropped. Failing the Eleven Plus exam, to his mother's dismay he was unable to enter a grammar school, instead attending the Blessed Edmund Campion R.C. Secondary Modern and the Corpus Christi High School. Here he experienced his first homosexual encounter, enjoying a brief romance with another boy, although still assumed he was heterosexual.
A fan of the popular television series The Avengers and Batman, he was enrolled in the cub scouts by his mother, but he hated it, leaving after a month. An altar boy at a local Catholic church, he was dismissed after laughing during a funeral service. Then joining the Marine cadets, he later commented that he was following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, the cartoon Popeye. Enjoying the cadets, at the advice of his captain he joined the Boys' Amateur Boxing Club, developing a lifelong love of the sport. Playing truant from school, he got into trouble with his parents, and subsequently with the police after burgling a house with three friends. O'Grady's first job was a paper round that he kept for a week, and through this and other jobs he saved up to afford Mod clothes, for a time becoming a suedehead.
Early adulthood: 1972–77
Leaving school aged sixteen, O'Grady obtained a job in the civil service, working as a clerical assistant for the DHSS at their Liverpool office; he commuted in from his parents' home. Supplementing this income, he worked part-time at the bar of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) club in Oxton. Called for a disciplinary hearing at the DHSS and accused of incompetent behaviour and tardiness, he resigned. Obtaining a job at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Virginia Water, Surrey, aged seventeen he moved there; appalled at the working conditions, the management accused him of stealing, which he denied. Promptly returning to Birkenhead, he worked at the RAFA club, increasingly socialising within the Liverpudlian gay scene, attending meetings of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and working at gay bar the Bear's Paw; this was kept a secret from his parents, to whom he was not "out of the closet". With best friend Tony, he regularly travelled to London to socialise with Tony's friend, the classical music conductor John Pritchard, becoming very fond of him. Considering himself bisexual, O'Grady had casual sex with a friend and colleague, Diane Jansen; she became pregnant, news which O'Grady discovered in the same week that both his parents suffered heart attacks; his mother recovered, but his father died. Following the birth of his daughter, Sharon Lee Jansen, on 16 May 1974, O'Grady agreed to pay £3 per week towards her upkeep, but refused to marry Diane, recognising his homosexuality.
Briefly working as an assistant clerk at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, O'Grady subsequently worked as a barman at Yates's Wine Lodge, supplementing the income with the occasional night at the Bear's Paw. Realising this wage was insufficient to support both himself and his daughter, he travelled to London, lodging in Westbourne Green, but found only poorly-paid work as a barman. In London he began associating with drag queens, particularly a couple who used the stage name of The Harlequeens. Although making friends in the city, O'Grady was homesick and returned home. Employed as an accountant in a FMC Meats Merseyside abattoir, he then gained employment at The Children's Convalescent Home and School in West Kirby, a home for disabled and abused children; he worked here for three years. Entering into a relationship with an older man named Norman, O'Grady moved into his house in Littlehampton; their relationship was strained, both cheating on one another, and it broke apart.
Moving again to London, he rented a flat in Crouch End and began busking with a friend in Camden Town before obtaining a job as a physiotherapist's assistant at the Royal Northern Hospital. Made redundant by public sector cuts, O'Grady took up a job at a gay club called the Showplace, befriending Portuguese lesbian Theresa Fernandes; in May 1977 they legally married to prevent her deportation, although eventually lost contact, only gaining a divorce in 2005. Taking up jobs as a cleaner and a waiter at private functions, he began working for Camden Council as a peripatetic care officer, living in with elderly people or dyfunctional families; it had a lasting effect on him for many years to come.
Career in drag
Lily Savage and the drag circuit: 1978–84
While working for Camden social services, O'Grady made his first attempt at putting together a drag act, creating the character of Lily Savage; he later related that "I wanted to get up there but be larger than life, a creature that was more cartoon than human. I wasn't sure yet." His debut was on the afternoon of Saturday 7 October 1978 at The Black Cap gay pub in Camden, miming the words to Barbra Streisand's "Nobody Makes a Pass at Me" from the show Pins and Needles. Following a holiday to Poland, he visited an ex-boyfriend in Manila, The Philippines. Affording the fare due to a "sizeable tax rebate" from the Inland Revenue, O'Grady found Manila to be a "culture shock", but briefly worked as a barman and waiter at a brothel known as Gussie's Bar.
Returning to London, he moved to Purley and then Streatham with a drag act, the Glamazons. With one of them, nicknamed "Hush", he founded a two-man drag mime act, The Playgirls, although found little work in London. Agreeing to a tour of the North of England, they moved to Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, also accepting a month's work at a club in Copenhagen, Denmark. Living up north, they diversified their act, with O'Grady performing a striptease while wearing a fat suit he named "Biddy", also learning fire eating from a hotel manager in Bradford. Fed up with the poor living conditions, Hush returned to London, leading O'Grady to continue his drag performance as a solo act under the name of "Paul Monroe", a reference to Marilyn Monroe. When his driver Phil decided to quit, O'Grady found it too expensive to continue his drag act, moving back in with his mother in Birkenhead; here he became reacquainted with Diane and his daughter. Amid mass unemployment, O'Grady briefly lived off the dole before resurrecting The Playgirls with his friend Vera; initially performing in Liverpool, where they were caught up in the 1981 Toxteth riots, they began touring other parts of Northern England till deciding to quit and return to London.
Returning to work as a peripatetic nurse for Camden Council social services, he began caring for an old woman who lived several doors down from serial killer Dennis Nilsen. Regularly moving flats, from Vauxhall to Brixton and then Battersea, he was reunited with Hush, and they began performing as the Playgirls again, devising an act based upon the cult film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. At the end of the year, he appeared as an Ugly Sister in a drag pantomime of Cinderella, beginning a relationship with fellow cast member Scott. Moving into the Victoria Mansions apartment block in Vauxhall, in March 1983 he joined the Equity union, allowing him to take a role in the theatrical adaptation of If They'd Asked for a Lion Tamer at the Donmar Warehouse. The Playgirls gained bookings to appear across London, and also in Amsterdam and Copenhagen; O'Grady and Hush joined with drag artist David Dale to form an act known as "LSD", which stood for "Lily, Sandra and Doris", devising an act that parodied Andy Pandy, they gained bookings across London and in Edinburgh.
Residency in Vauxhall: 1984–92
In 1984, O'Grady began working as a barman at The Elephant and Castle, a notoriously rough gay pub in Vauxhall; as Lily, he became compere of Ladies Night every Tuesday, where amateur drag acts would perform. As compere, he tried out comedy routines, becoming known for insulting both the acts and the audience, describing it as "one of the best times of my life." Becoming increasingly popular, the show began attracting crowds and he was interviewed by artist Patrick Procktor. After six months, he transferred his act to the nearby Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) gay pub, whose manager offered him £50 a show over the £15 that The Elephant and Castle paid; he re-opened his show on Thursday nights as "Stars of the Future". In February 1985 he obtained his own council flat in Vauxhall's Victoria Mansions, number 81, moving in with two Persian cats named Dolly and Lucy; his friend Vera would move in and live there for six years. During the mid-1980s, O'Grady met Brendan Murphy, known as "Murph" or "Murphy" to his friends, who was the manager of a gay sauna in Oval; O'Grady began dating him while still in a relationship with Scott, but after Scott moved to New York City, O'Grady's relationship with Murph intensified.
Eventually appearing at the RVT three times a week, on Sundays he began performing at the Union Tavern, Camberwell, and the Goldsmith's Tavern, New Cross, where he'd often precede Vic Reeves' three-hour show Vic Reeves Big Night Out before leaving to do a show elsewhere. Quitting his council work, he focused full-time on his career as Lily, taking his act across the United Kingdom and also abroad to countries like Israel and Finland. Befriending American drag queen Divine and his manager Bernard Jay, Jay booked him to appear in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He used his act to publicly speak out against the treatment of Britain's LGBT community by the mainstream media, government and police, particularly during the HIV/AIDS crisis that hit the community during that decade. On a number of occasions, police raided pubs that he was working at; he was quoted in the Capital Gay newspaper as calling on LGBT people to riot against their mistreatment. Regularly doing charity fundraisers for HIV/AIDS research, many of his friends died of the disease, while in April 1988 he took part in a 30,000 strong march against Section 28. That year he performed as Madame in The Scythe of Reason, and appeared at the Glasgow Mayfest where he developed a lifelong friendship with actor Ian McKellen.
O'Grady played a transvestite prostitute informant, Roxanne, in three episodes of The Bill between 1988 and 1990. Just before filming on the first episode, O'Grady's mother died, and he proceeded to return her house to the landlord. In 1990 he appeared in the ITV miniseries Chimera as Tony Donaldson, a social worker skilled in signing for the deaf.
Transition to television: 1992–2001
After appearing at The Edinburgh Festival and gaining a Perrier Award nomination, O'Grady's Lily Savage act became more mainstream and the character became popular on television, making appearances on the ITV daytime programme This Morning and as the 'On the Bed Presenter' on The Big Breakfast. For a few years O'Grady hosted the game show Blankety Blank as Lily Savage, for the BBC and later for ITV. Performing as Lily, O'Grady also co-hosted the 1996 Smash Hits Poll Winners Party with Ant & Dec.
Abandoning drag to portray himself, in 2000 he appeared in a six-part travelogue series entitled Paul O'Grady's Orient, filmed in Shanghai, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Bangkok, Bali and Singapore. This was followed in 2001 by Paul O'Grady's America. From 2002 onwards, he appeared less as Savage and more often as himself. In 2002 he presented Outtake TV, a bloopers show, and in 2003 starred as the lead character in the BBC sitcom Eyes Down for two series, as the manager of a northern Bingo hall. He also appeared in Celebrity Driving School for the BBC.
There was also a comedy show built around the character, Lily Live!, appearing on ITV in 2000. O'Grady also appeared alongside Cilla Black and Barbara Windsor (as Savage) in the 2001 Royal Variety Performance where the trio performed a rendition of "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" from the musical Gypsy. Paul also played the role of Miss Hannigan in a touring production of Annie, as his alter ego Savage.
O'Grady retired the Lily Savage character around 2004. He claimed she had "seen the light, taken the veil and packed herself off to a convent in France" but on his TV show, he said, "she's escaped the convent and she's heading towards these shores!". On 23 May 2008 on the 500th edition of The Paul O'Grady Show, guest star Julie Goodyear told O'Grady that Bet Lynch, the character she played in television soap opera Coronation Street, had joined Savage in the French convent. On The Paul O'Grady Show on 7 October 2009, after being prompted by actor Martin Clunes to "bring Lily back", O'Grady said he could not because she had been "bricked up in a chimney" by the Mother Superior of the convent.
Chat-show and radio host
===The Paul O'Grady Show: 2004–09,
O'Grady stood in for Des O'Connor on an episode of the lunchtime celebrity chat show Today with Des and Mel, something that impressed ITV enough that they asked him to stand in for O'Connor on other occasions as well. Eventually they decided that O'Grady would be a success if he presented his own daytime television show, and so commissioned a series, The Paul O'Grady Show, which first aired on October 2004 in the 5 to 6 pm slot. The show, which involved O'Grady interviewing celebrity guests, aired at the same time at Channel 4's similar series Richard and Judy, creating a friendly rivalry between the two programs for ratings. Despite the competition, O'Grady's was a success, and won a number of awards in 2005, including a BAFTA and the award for Best TV Comedy Entertainment Personality at the British Comedy Awards. The show ran on ITV for three series, before O'Grady fell out with the broadcasting company and decided to switch to Channel 4.
In producing the show, O'Grady worked with many of his old friends, including Andy Collins, his warm-up man, whose job it was to "make sure the [studio] audience is relaxed, happy and ready for the main event".
The show gained a devout following, with an "extraordinary hardcore of fans [who] try to be at as many recordings as possible", in many cases arriving at the studio gates two hours before the advertised starting time in order to get the best seats. O'Grady's biographer Neil Simpson commented on the crowds coming to see the show being recorded when he related that "Groups of middle aged women dominate – but they are joined by beautiful twenty-something women with flawless make-up, flash City boys with Louis Vuitton briefcases, hip-looking students out for a good time and pensioners just wanting a laugh in the afternoon." In many cases, fans queuing to see the show had to be turned away because too many had turned up, and for live shows as many as a hundred often had to be turned away.
The fourth series of the show appeared on Channel 4 under the title of The New Paul O'Grady Show and began broadcasting in March 2006. On 24 August 2007 the Daily Mirror revealed that O'Grady had rejected a £5 million deal to return to ITV as the "New Parkinson." Instead he signed a £4 million deal to remain with Channel 4 until the end of 2009.
On 28 June 2008, O'Grady appeared in the Doctor Who episode The Stolen Earth. In September 2008, he appeared in a 2-hour long show, called Ghosthunting with Paul O'Grady & Friends, filmed in Sicily, with fellow Liverpudlians Jennifer Ellison, Philip Olivier and Natasha Hamilton. On 6 June 2009, the Daily Mirror confirmed that O'Grady will sign a new two-year contract with Channel 4 in autumn 2009 to keep his show on air until the end of 2011. However Channel 4 have told O'Grady that his show will face huge budget cuts, and his salary will most likely be halved. On Monday 21 September 2009, O'Grady returned to present the 11th (including ITV series) and final series of The Paul O'Grady Show. On 14 October 2009, O'Grady agreed to an £8 million deal with ITV to host a Friday prime-time chat-show, to rival that of BBC One's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross from 2010, after budget talks broke-down with Channel 4.
On 30 November 2009, O'Grady was a guest presenter on ITV's GMTV with Lorraine, in celebration of Lorraine Kelly's 50th birthday. He has guest starred on Living's paranormal show, Most Haunted Live!, after presenter Yvette Fielding was a guest on his show and invited him on. Also in November 2009, O'Grady reunited with Yvette Fielding to take part in a 2 part paranormal investigation series called Death in Venice where he and Fielding investigated haunted locations in Venice. The episodes were called "Vampire Island" and "Demonic Doctor".
On 18 December 2009, Channel 4 broadcast the final ever episode of The Paul O'Grady Show, after 11 series which started in 2004. Guests included in the final line up were, JLS, Beverley Callard, Catherine Tate, William Roache, Linda Thorson, Honor Blackman, Joe McFadden, Natalie Cassidy, Scott Maslen, Kate Thornton and Melanie Sykes.
Paul O'Grady Live: 2010–11
Following the end of his daytime television show, O'Grady made a deal with ITV to present a new, Friday night show, entitled Paul O'Grady Live. O'Grady spoke to The People in March 2010 about this show, saying "I have no idea what format it will take yet because we have not sat down with the producers ... The show will still have dogs and children but I want it to be a bit more adult too." The programme began airing on ITV on Friday 10 September 2010 and the first series ran for 10 episodes, ending on Friday 12 November 2010.
In October 2010, O'Grady attracted media attention when, on an episode of Paul O'Grady Live, he openly criticised the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government for their implementation of mass cuts to government spending on social services, calling them "bastards" and proclaiming "Do you know what got my back up? Those Tories hooping and hollering when they heard about the cuts. Gonna scrap the pensions – yeah! – no more wheelchairs – yeah!… I bet when they were children they laughed in Bambi when his mother got shot." His Bambi quote was soon after quoted by Peter Taffe at the Socialism 2010 conference. O'Grady also used the show to voice his support for those student protesters who had occupied and vandalised the headquarters of the Conservative Party at Millbank Tower on Wednesday 10 November 2010.
The show was picked up for a second series from April to July 2011 and a Lady Gaga special.
It was revealed on 6 October 2011, that ITV had axed his show after two series. Speaking to the Daily Mail, O'Grady stated that ITV had originally asked him to return for a third series but that he had refused, claiming that he had had enough of the chat show format. He remarked that he had become fed up with the "interference" from the show's producers, and the fact that certain guests had appeared on air while under the influence of the illicit drug cocaine.
Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs; 2012–present
From 3 September 2012, O'Grady has presented award-winning documentary series For the Love of Dogs for two series on ITV, covering life at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. He also presented a Christmas special on Christmas day in 2012.
It has been announced that O'Grady will host 25 revived episodes of his teatime chat show The Paul O'Grady Show on ITV. Episodes will be filmed later in 2013 and will be produced by his own production company Olga TV.
O'Grady is to present two upcoming documentary series, one of which is for the BBC based on the working classes which was filmed in Manchester in late 2012. The other will be filmed in the summer of 2013 about African elephants and orang-utangs. Both programmes will be shown later in the year.
O'Grady made his radio debut on 12 April 2003, when he stood in for Jonathan Ross to present the Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2. Then, later in December 2003, O'Grady presented a two-part documentary about Cilla Black's illustrious career, with contributions from Black's other celebrity friends. O'Grady then presented his own radio show for the first time on Christmas Day afternoon of that year.
Throughout 2004 and 2005, O'Grady voiced many adverts for other local radio stations.
O'Grady returned to Radio 2 on Easter Saturday 2006, with his very own live 3-hour special radio show. The show featured special guests and celebrity chat, the best music and a whole host of games and competitions. O'Grady also taste-tested a selection of the finest Easter Eggs in a search for Britain's Best.
O'Grady then stood in for Elaine Paige on her Sunday radio show Elaine Paige on Sunday for two weeks, on 28 January and 4 February 2007. John Barrowman then took over from O'Grady for the following two weeks, before Paige returned.
O'Grady returned with his own show on Easter Monday 2007. The show featured special guests and celebrity chat, the best music and a whole host of games and competitions.
In January 2008, O'Grady once again presented Elaine Paige on Sunday, on 13, 20 and 27 January. He sat in for her once again on 31 August, and again on 9 November.
On Christmas 2008, O'Grady returned to Radio 2 with his own show The Paul O'Grady Christmas Show, featuring a seasonal mix of Christmas music and some of the biggest hits of the year, including music from McFly and Girls Aloud.
O'Grady presented a two-part documentary on New Year's Eve and New Years Day 2008/09 on BBC Radio 2, which was a tribute to Bill Cotton.
From 22 February 2009, O'Grady returned to Elaine Paige on Sunday to present the show for a month, whilst Paige was on tour.
O'Grady once again presented a Christmas Day show in 2009, from 11 am until 1 pm. Like The Paul O'Grady Christmas Show that he presented last year, the show featured a round-up of the nation's favourite pantomimes. There was also a Christmas Motown Triple, a Carpenters Christmas Triple, and Christmas Thank Yous.
On 7 September 2010, O'Grady presented 'Come to the Cabaret', a documentary celebrating the boozy, glitzy and subversive delights of the cabaret.
For the third year running, O'Grady once again presented a special show on Christmas Day 2010. This year, the show was three hours long, running on Christmas morning from 10 am until 1 pm. There were Christmas phone messages from celebrity callers, and Christmas triples from Bette Midler, Sir Cliff Richard and Dolly Parton.
O'Grady is openly gay. However, he has previously had relationships with women as well as men, and married a Portuguese lesbian, Teresa Fernandes, who was from a Catholic family, at Harrow Road register office, London, on 1 April 1977 in a marriage of convenience. They separated in 1980, before eventually divorcing in 2005. He is very close to his daughter Sharyn, who married her childhood friend Philip Mousley at Liverpool Town Hall on 30 July 2005. O'Grady's long-term lover and business partner of 20 years was Irish television producer Brendan Frank Murphy (4 March 1956 – 9 June 2005), who was HIV+ and died of brain cancer at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, five days before O'Grady's fiftieth birthday. After the first show of series three of The Paul O'Grady Show, there was a tribute to him.
O'Grady became a grandfather on 26 December 2006, when his daughter Sharyn gave birth to a son, Abel. He revealed on his show on 2 December 2009 that he had become a grandfather again as Sharyn had given birth to a girl in the early hours of that morning.
O'Grady is publicly known for having had many high profile and celebrity friends, including the late politician Mo Mowlam, actresses Amanda Mealing and Barbara Windsor, comedienne Brenda Gilhooly, and singer Cilla Black.
In 2012, O'Grady became a Celebrity Ambassador of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home after recording the first series of his ITV documentary For the Love of Dogs. He also supports the Pedigree Feeding Brighter Futures campaign, which aims to give a million meals to dogs nationwide.
Paul's farm in Kent is stocked with 32 animals. He has four dogs, six pigs, a goat, nine sheep, twelve hens, four owls and a flock of geese, whom O'Grady refers to as the "Geese-stapo" (a pun on the Gestapo).
Bullseye (2009-present) was adopted by O'Grady whilst appearing on a Homeless Dogs feature on The Paul O'Grady Show. His first appearance on the show was on 5 October 2009. His breed is unknown and he rarely appears in any of O'Grady's shows. Before he was adopted by O'Grady his name was 'Scottie'.
Louis (??-present) is a Shih Tzu. Louis is one of Paul's less known dogs as he only made occasional appearances on The Paul O'Grady Show due to his bad behaviour. In fact he never appeared in an episode of O'Grady's later show Paul O'Grady Live
Olga (??-present) is a Cairn Terrier. Olga regularly appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show when Paul's other dog Buster was absent. Since Buster's death, Olga has starred alongside Paul on several programmes including Paul O'Grady Live, This Morning and Loose Women. She is also a regular on Paul's Radio 2 show On the Wireless. O'Grady named his television production company Olga TV after her. In April 2013, she also starred on The British Animal Honours alongside O'Grady.
Paul's grey Shih Tzu cross Bichon Frise Buster Elvis Savage (1995-2009) regularly joined O'Grady on his teatime chat show The Paul O'Grady Show and was a firm favourite of the viewers. Buster was rescued by Paul from being abandoned on a motorway. On 19 November 2009, Buster passed away at the age of 14, after suffering from cancer. A spokeswoman said "Buster had been suffering and in a lot of pain. Putting him down was the kind thing to do." O'Grady would later dedicate the second volume of his autobiography to his canine companion, describing him as "The greatest canine star since Lassie." This came a few days after O'Grady announced on his show that Buster was 'in retirement' after viewers had asked if Buster had been given away, as he frequently appeared on his TV show with Paul, but has recently been replaced by one of his other dogs OlgaA memorial statue of Buster, which was presented to O'Grady in 2012 can be found at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.
In April 2002, O'Grady suffered a heart attack after weeks of complaining that he felt unwell; after an emergency operation and weeks of rest, his health recovered and he gave up smoking for two years. O'Grady went back to his 40-a-day habit after his lover and business partner Brendan Murphy died; he had continued to work on the show at the same time as nursing Murphy. He suffered a second heart attack on 30 June 2006; again he was taken to the William Harvey Hospital and into intensive care. He was given an angioplasty operation before being moved to a cardiac unit. He was released on 4 July and again promised to give up smoking. He therefore postponed the new series of his show from 4 September to the end of the month. The delayed second series started on 25 September 2006, and ran over three weeks into January (for the only time in the show's history), due to its 3-week delay start.
On 18 September 2008, O'Grady released his first autobiography entitled, At My Mother's Knee... And Other Low Joints, which was given a rare positive review by Private Eye who noted that the book did not fall into the most common celebrity biography traps of being ghost written, settling scores or not sounding like it had been written by its subject. His second book entitled The Devil Rides Out: The Second Coming was released on 16 September 2010. He confirmed on 14 October 2010, during an interview on Loose Women, that he will write a third and final chapter. His third autobiography, Still Standing: The Savage Years, was released on 11 October 2012, with the official launch event taking place at the Cambridge Theatre on 15 October 2012.
Paul said in an interview in April 2013 that he was writing a fourth autobiography book. In addition to this, he is writing another book about life living in the country. These books will be released later in the year.
|1996||Ford Escort[disambiguation needed]||Lily Savage/Himself|
|1996||Oasis||Lily Savage, voice only|
|2002||Maestro||Walrus, voice only|
|2008/09||WHSmith||Himself, voice only|
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- [dead link]
- Hardy, Rebecca (18 February 2012). "Why did I give up the chat show? I couldn't stand the guests!". Daily Mail Weekend (Daily Mail and General Trust).
- O'Grady, Paul (2008). At My Mother's Knee... and Other Low Joints. London: Bantam. ISBN 978-0593059258.
- O'Grady, Paul (2010). The Devil Rides Out: The Second Coming. London: Bantam. ISBN 978-0593064245.
- O'Grady, Paul (2012). Still Standing: The Savage Years. London: Bantam. ISBN 978-0593069394.
- Simpson, Neil (2007). Paul O'Grady: The Biography. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1844544172.
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