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Paul O’Grady fans left in tears as comedian’s final TV project Great Elephant Adventure airs on ITV

Paul O’Grady fans were reduced to tears as the late comedian and TV presenter’s final TV production aired on ITV last night.

O’Grady, best known for creating the celebrity drag persona Lily Savage, died of cardiac arhythmia last March at the age of 67.

At the time of his death, he was completing work on Paul O'Grady's Great Elephant Adventure, a new documentary in which the presenter travels to Thailand and Laos to explore elephant conservationalism.

The first episode of the two-part series finally premiered on ITV on Sunday night (31 March), drawing effusive and bittersweet reactions from fans.

“Didn’t expect to end up crying over a programme about Elephants with Paul O’Grady #PogElephants but here we are,” one viewer wrote.

“What a joyous bit of television! What incredible animals and what a loss Paul O’Grady is,” another commented.

“Watching Paul O’Grady‘s Great Elephant Adventure,” someone else remarked. “What magnificent creatures and a wonderful human being.”

Paul O’Grady in ‘Great Elephant Adventure' (ITV)
Paul O’Grady in ‘Great Elephant Adventure' (ITV)

Earlier this week, O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio shared candid details about the TV star’s death, one year on.

Describing the day of O’Grady’s death as “most ordinary”, he recalled that the star “had come back from touring, so was a little bit tired and woke up really late”.

According to Portasio, O’Grady had been “looking very smart in a white shirt” ahead of a planned meeting with long-time radio producer Malcolm Prince. “I’ll never forget saying to him how handsome he looked, and him joking back, saying ‘F*** off!’

“He left to get some tea, and I heard this loud bang – but because the house is big and old, I didn’t think of anything at first,” Portasio explained. “I walked to the kitchen to start putting some food on, and I started taking things out of the fridge – and all of a sudden, I could see him lying on the floor. I just didn’t know what to think at first.”

After noticing that O’Grady had suffered a head wound, Portasio then contacted the emergency services. “I called the ambulance and they said the best chance to keep him alive was to do CPR,” he said, adding: “I don’t know how long it took for the ambulance to arrive but by the end I was exhausted.”

O’Grady and Portasio met in 2006 and got married in 2017.

Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure is available to stream now on ITVX.