Paul O'Grady says there's 'not enough cash on earth' for Lily Savage to return

·Contributor
·2-min read
Paul O'Grady performed on TV and on stage as Lily Savage for many years. (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Paul O'Grady performed on TV and on stage as Lily Savage for many years. (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

Paul O'Grady has made it clear that he won't be returning to his drag queen alter ego Lily Savage any time soon. 

The 66-year-old TV presenter told the Mirror that he has said goodbye to his former stage persona forever and has no appetite to return to the wigs and high heels.

"There’s not enough cash on earth to get me dragged up. God no," he said. 

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O'Grady added: "It’s always been ‘why don’t you be Lily Savage again?’ Well, because one, I’m too old. And two, I couldn’t be bothered.

“At the time I thoroughly enjoyed it but I’ve moved on. Even in panto I wouldn’t fancy it.”

Watch: Paul O'Grady admits he got bored of hosting chat show

O'Grady has occasionally returned to Savage since her heyday as the host of Blankety Blank in the 1990s, but it has been a long time since she last appeared.

The presenter likes to appear on TV as himself now, including as the host of his heart-warming animal show For The Love of Dogs, which returns to screens over Christmas.

Read more: Baga Chipz shares advice for drag queens of the future

Since the rise of Lily Savage, the art of drag has catapulted in popularity with the success of reality show behemoth RuPaul's Drag Race, which now has iterations all over the world.

“At the moment it is the current trend," said O'Grady of the rising interest in drag. 

"We’ll have a drag queen reading the news before much longer. Question Time will be hosted by a drag queen. That would liven things up.”

Paul O'Grady prefers to appear on TV as himself now, rather than as his alter ego. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Paul O'Grady prefers to appear on TV as himself now, rather than as his alter ego. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)

O'Grady has previously spoken of his distaste for more modern drag queens, who he believes have lost some of the comic edge that helped carry him to success in the 1980s.

He said in 2017: "It's all about shading and contouring your face now and being like supermodels.

"In my day we had the likes of Phil Starr, who was a glorious comedian… we had Marc Fleming, Auntie Flo, Mrs Shufflewick. We had great comedians in drag. 

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"This new brigade who just parade around going 'sashay, shantay' – that's not drag to me."

Any hope of O'Grady joining Alan Carr and Graham Norton as a guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race UK is probably unlikely to come to fruition in that case.

Watch: Meet the stars of RuPaul's Drag Race UK series three

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