Paul O'Grady breaks down during emotional tribute to 'Queen of showbiz' Cilla Black

'There's no more calling out for our Graham and certainly no more lorra, lorra laughs'

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The Independent Online

Paul O’Grady broke down into tears as he paid tribute to his late friend Cilla Black during a radio tribute to the singer and entertainer on Sunday.

O’Grady was overcome with emotion after playing Black’s 1966 song ‘Alfie’ on his BBC Radio 2 Show, telling listeners: “that always does me in that one - completely finishes me off”.

The comedian dedicated the last hour of his weekly show to the “Queen of showbiz”, who died from a stroke after a fall in her Spanish holiday home last week. She was 72-years-old.

“I’m just grateful that last week’s show was pre-recorded before I found out the sad news about Cilla,” he said.

"There's no more 'what's your name and where do you come from? There's no more calling out for our Graham and certainly no more lorra, lorra laughs.”

O’Grady recalled being thrown out of a bar in New York with Black as one of his favourite memories and said his friend would want to be remembered as a singer first and foremost. "She said to me 'I want singer on my headstone', and I said, 'Why do you want to be known for being a sewing machine?'

"She said 'I'll have you in a minute'.

“Now today, Cilla is back in the chart and she would be absolutely thrilled - she would be modest about it, but she would be thrilled.”

The reaction to Black’s sudden death highlighted just how popular she was within the music and television industry and among her many friends and fans. O’Grady closed the show with a final message for Black after the outpouring of tributes to the woman he described as "like a sister": “I’d just like to say Cilla, you’ll be missed, not just by me but by all of the legions of your fans as well.”

Additional reporting by Press Association