TV & Movies

Blankety Blank hosts now – tragic deaths, health battle and famous daughter

"Saturday nights would not be complete without iconic BBC series …"

Yes you've guessed it, it's Blankety Blank!

For almost five decades the hit game show has delighted generations of viewers, as celebrities try to fill in the blanks with some hilarious – and at times naughty – answers.

READ MORE: Blankety Blank viewers left in hysterics by Peter Andre's answers on the tv game show

The answers often left the hosts in stitches, with icons including Les Dawson, Sir Terry Wogan and Lily Savage all taking the helm throughout the years.

As Blankety Blank celebrates its 44th birthday (January 18), Daily Star takes a look at where the former presenters are now.

Terry Wogan

Sir Terry Wogan was one of radio and TV's most beloved presenters, hosting his long-running BBC Radio 2 programme, as well as providing the commentary for The Eurovision Song Contest.

He also wrote a number of books, as well as co-hosting charity programmes including Children In Need, and presenting his long-running Wogan talk show – in addition to game show Blankety Blank, between 1979 to 1984.

Sir Terry also returned to host a Children In Need special of Blankety Blank in 2004, featuring special guests such as Simon Cowell and Barbara Windsor.

In 2006, he was also reported to be the BBC's highest-paid radio presenter, earning over £800,000 per year.

However, Sir Terry died on January 31, 2016 at the age of 77 years old, after the star was diagnosed with cancer.

A statement released by his family following his death said: "Sir Terry Wogan died today after a short but brave battle with cancer.

"He passed away surrounded by his family. While we understand he will be missed by many, the family ask that their privacy is respected at this time."

Fans and stars from the world of entertainment paid tribute to the beloved radio and TV icon, with Graham Norton – who took over from Terry Wogan as the Eurovision commentator – saying in a tweet: "He made it seem effortless and for a young boy in Ireland he made it seem possible. RIP Sir Terry Wogan."

Fellow radio DJ Tony Blackburn also added: "He was part of our lives, a real radio legend. He loved what he was doing and he gave an enormous amount of pleasure."

His last will and testament stated that his estate was to be divided between his wife Lady Helen Wogan and their three children – Alan, Mark and Katherine.

Although it was revealed that Sir Terry's estate was worth £1.04million when details of his will were made public, the will did not include other assets in his estate.

These included a 12-acre country estate in Buckinghamshire and a holiday home in Gascony, France, worth over £1m – with Sir Terry estimated to have an eye-watering net worth of over £20m before his death.

Les Dawson

Comedy legend Les Dawson took over the reigns of Blankety Blank from 1984 to 1990, after rising to fame with his own hit comedy series.

After working briefly as a journalist for The Bury Times, the star got his TV breakthrough on Opportunity Knocks in 1967, and the rest as they say, is history.

He landed his own comedy series called The Les Dawson show between 1978 to 1987, where he delighted audiences with his deadpan comedy and hilarious characters.

That's not all, as he also appeared in The Good Old Days, Jokers Wild and Sez Les, as well as making guest appearances on Surprise, Surprise and This Is Your Life.

Away from the limelight, was married to Margaret Rose Plant from 1960, with whom he had three children called Julie, Pamela and Stuart.

However, they suffered a devastating loss when Margaret died from breast cancer in 1986.

Les later married his second wife Tracey Roper in 1989, with whom he had daughter Charlotte in 1992, who is now a television star in her own right.

During this time, Les had been recovering from a heart attack he suffered in 1988, and visited the hospital with wife Tracey in 1993 for a routine medical check-up.

However, the comedian died suddenly during the hospital visit from a heart attack, at the age of 62 years old on June 10, 1993.

Fellow comedy star Jon Culshaw has since played Les Dawson in a new show called Flyin' High, with wife Tracey and daughter Charlotte describing the performance as "uncanny" and "emotional."

Charlotte also paid tribute to her late father on her Instagram page, after taking her son Noah to see her dad's statue.

She wrote a poignant message to the comedian as she posted photos on her Instagram page, with the caption saying: "Wouldn’t be Christmas without going to see you dad..

"Noah’s first time seeing you on Christmas Day, can’t wait for him to get to know his amazing grandad les.. who would of adored him so much.

"Oh we would of had the best time with you here, life just isn’t the same without you here…"

Paul O'Grady

TV legend Paul O'Grady has been a viewer favourite on screens throughout the years, and in the 90s, he hosted popular game show Blankety Blank from 1997 to 2005, when the series was rebooted.

Paul hosted as his drag persona Lily Savage, who was loved by generations of fans.

Since Blankety Blank, Paul has hosted television programmes including Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs and his own tea time talk show.

However, the popular presenter has also faced health worries in recent years, after suffering from a heart attack.

In his autobiography, Paul O'Grady: Still Standing, the popular TV star revealed that his father died of a heart attack when he was a teenager in 1973, and that in 1988, his mother had also died suddenly of a heart condition.

Paul is still a presence on our TV screens, continuing to entertain audiences on his new programme, Paul O'Grady's Saturday night line up, as well as Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.

Away from the limelight, Paul has one daughter called Sharon and was married to Teresa Fernandes between 1977 to 2005.

He later married husband and ballet dancer Andre Portasio in 2017, with Paul telling The Mirror that close friend Julian Clary encouraged the pair to tie the knot.

He said: "Julian put the seed in my head. He said, ‘I’ve got married. You should’.

"And he’s right, then you protect your partner. If anything happens to me, he is pro­­tected. It makes sense."

Paul added: "Married life is the same as before. We have known each other so long. Nothing has changed, really.

"And it’s nice. I like saying I’m married – better than saying I’m a divorcee, which I was before."

Bradley Walsh

Bradley Walsh is the most recent host of Blankety Blank, after the show was rebooted for a second time in 2020.

However, his career could have been different, as Bradley originally played football for Brentford FC and Barnet, before injuries to his foot ended his footballing stint at the age of 22 years old.

Bradley's attentions soon turned to acting, with the star landing roles in Lock, Stock…, Mike Bassett: England Manager, Night and Day and The Bill.

He also found soap fame as Danny Baldwin in Coronation Street, playing the role for two years between 2004 and 2006.

From there it has been onwards and upwards for the actor, playing companion Graham in Doctor Who between 2017 and 2020 and currently, Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds Of May reboot, The Larkins.

He also regularly hosts ITV game show The Chase.

It is no surprise then that Bradley has an estimated net worth of £20m.

Away from the limelight, the actor has been married to his wife Donna Derby since 1997, with whom he shares a son called Bradley.

Bradley is not the only famous star in his family, as wife Donna has choreographed routines for Miss World pageants, starred in Robert Palmer's Simply Irresistible music video and appeared on The Kenny Everett Television Show.

Daily Star reported that Donna and Bradley also run a property company, and share a £2.5m farmhouse in Essex.

Bradley has since gushed about his wife, telling The Mirror that he wouldn't have landed his Coronation Street role without her.

"I wouldn’t swap my missus for the world," said Bradley.

"Donna isn’t just beautiful; she’s the most fantastic wife and mother. It’s because of her I signed with Coronation Street.

"She’s the one who recognised what it could do for me even though it would mean being apart."

Bradley has also been joined by son Barney for the hit ITV series Breaking Dad, and appeared in the 2021 Christmas special for The Larkins.

Bradley also has a daughter called Hayley from a previous relationship, and revealed to Saga Magazine that he became a grandfather in 2021, saying: "I am a grandfather! My daughter and her husband Tom have had a baby boy who is coming up for five months old."

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