ITV has announced. a new documentary in tribute to the late Paul O’Grady.

The Life and Death of Lily Savage will air on ITV1 this Easter, along with Paul’s final TV project; Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure, to mark the first anniversary of his passing.

The special feature length /90 minute documentary will feature Paul’s daughter Sharyn and other close family and friends including Sir Ian McKellen, Julian Clary and Graham Norton, sharing personal memories and first hand accounts, with much of it told in Paul’s own words.

Paul’s story will be told through the prism of his famous creation, Lily Savage – an underground cabaret star who took mainstream TV by storm.

The Life and Death of Lily Savage is set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain, Clause 28 and the AIDS crisis. It’s the unlikely tale of how a working class, gay man from Birkenhead created the unforgettable character of a Scouse sex worker and honed her persona on the stages of London’s underground gay venues in the 1970s and 80s.

Featuring personal accounts from Paul’s close friends and family, including, for the first time, his daughter, Sharyn Mousley, and, using Paul’s own words from earlier recordings, The Life and Death of Lily Savage tells the story of bringing Lily from the fringes of London’s gay counterculture into the heart of the nation’s living rooms and discusses why Paul suddenly decided to kill Lily off.

Paul’s final TV project will also air for the first time on ITV1. Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure is a two-part series following Paul as he travels through Thailand and Laos to celebrate the work done by elephant conservation centres to rescue, rehabilitate and protect the animals. Filmed in the months before his sudden and unexpected death, this was Paul’s final TV project and one that he was incredibly passionate about.

Jo Clinton-Davis, Controller of Factual at ITV says: “This blue chip feature-length documentary reveals the little known biography of Paul’s alter ego Lily – from her birth in the docks of Liverpool to her mysterious ‘death’ on mainstream TV. Set against the background of social and political change and upheaval, it features Paul’s own voice and those who were closest to him – including his daughter Sharyn. This is a layered and richly entertaining tribute to the wonderful Paul O Grady.”

Clare Barton, Executive Producer at Silver Star says: “It was an honour and a privilege to make Paul’s final TV project with him out in SE Asia, coupled with the opportunity to pay tribute to him with a deep dive into the life of his most famous creation – Lily Savage. It has been very emotional and moving to interview the people who knew him best and to delve into the golden archive of Paul in his absolute prime.”

Both programmes are co-produced by Olga TV and Silver Star Productions, for ITV1, ITVX and STV.


Jon Creamer

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