‘What a tribute’
A posthumous TV appearance from Paul O’Grady has left fans in tears after the much-loved Liverpudlian star made a cameo in a video celebrating the city.
The first Eurovision Song Contest semi-final took place on Tuesday night at the M&S Bank Arena as 15 acts strive to land a place in the grand final.
It marks the first time the UK has hosted an international song contest since 1998.
The UK offered to host the event after it was revealed Ukraine was unable to due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Liverpool was chosen as the host city after entries were whittled down from seven.
A video broadcast on the opening night celebrated the North West city, with several famous stars from the area making an appearance.
The film opens with a little boy watching TV and seeing Graham Norton announce the news that his home city of Liverpool is to host the Eurovision Song Contest, with last year’s winner Ukraine unable to host due to the war with Russia.
He excitedly tells his mum before jumping on his bike to spread the word.
The montage then shows Liverpool’s preparations to host the event in a series of shots showing famous local landmarks being scrubbed, spruced up and strung with bunting in the blue and yellow of the Ukraine flag.
Merseyside sights getting a starring role include Sefton Park Palm House, the Cavern Club, the Empire Anthony Gormley’s Another Place statues in Crosby, Speke Hall, the Albert Dock, Goodison Park, Anfield, the Chinese Arch and the Royal Philharmonic toilets.
A few famous folk from the area also show their face, including Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson and Wirral-born Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood, who is seen icing and slicing a cake for the celebrations.
Paul O’Grady made a poignant final TV appearance in the video.
The Birkenhead-born star, famous for his drag persona Lily Savage, was seen holding one of his beloved dogs while mopping the floor as part of the montage.
He then looks directly into the camera with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
The BBC said it was one of the last things he filmed before he passed away aged 67 in March, and was included with the blessing of his family and friends.
Reacting to Paul O’Grady’s appearance, user @SamAychG said: “Just burst into tears at the sight of Paul O’Grady.”
User @badlydrawnroy said: “NOT THE PAUL O’GRADY CAMEO I’M WELLING UP.” Ashley said: “Paul O’Grady being in the intro has absolutely set me off.”
Cass tweeted: “Crying already because Paul O’Grady appearance in this opening.” And Kathryn said: “Absolutely love they have shown Paul O’Grady! What a tribute.”