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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jessica Sansome

British Soap Awards viewers 'in bits' as Paul O'Grady honoured but fume over 'missing' tribute

The late Paul O'Grady's unexpected cameo during the British Soap Awards left viewers 'in bits' as fans still struggle with the loss of the star. The comedian and TV and radio star was honoured during the ceremony following his tragic death on March 28 this year.

The sad news was broken on social media by Paul's partner Andre Portasio the morning after his death, aged 67, at their home in Kent. "It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening," he said at the time.

His sad passing was announced as Paul was midway through a UK tour of musical Annie, and just days after he signed a new contract with Boom Radio station. It was later confirmed that the Lily Savage star had died from sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

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Paul was featured during an 'In Memoriam' segment during the Britsih Soap Awards, hosted by Jane McDonald at the eleventh hour in place of Phillip Schofield, which took place at The Lowry theatre at Salford Quays on Saturday (June 3) in front of a live audience before being aired on ITV on Tuesday night (June 6).

Clips of the late star played out from his stint hosting the award show himself in 2004 and 2005 after soap stars who have also died in the last year were remembered. And it wan't long before viewers were flocking to social media to share their upset at the special moment.

@Angelaaa79 said: "Managed to get through that until I saw Paul O'Grady." @geordigalg tweeted: "Still can't watch any footage of Paul O'Grady without bursting into tears." @lorimeganxo wrote: "I still cry every time I'm reminded Paul O'Grady isn't with us anymore. The best."

@babynewt_ echoed: "Every time I see an awards show, show Paul O’Grady - I instantly cry and still can’t believe he’s gone#britishsoapawards2023 #SoapAwards." @JoLeonard___x shared: "I’m in bits #BritishSoapAwards." @mrsklmweston added: "Hands up if you shed a tear when they paid tribute to Paul O’Grady #britishsoapawards2023."

But some viewers were left furious when they thought late EastEnders legend June Brown, famed for playing Walford favourite Dot Cotton, was missed out of the tribute.

@noshvscancer wrote: "How dare @SoapAwards miss out the legendary June Brown? They never paid her tribute she gave her life to TV and they don’t even have the decency to give her a tribute #britishsoapawards2023." @Christopher_T42 tweeted: "Was expecting Goodbye Dot as a tribute to June Brown who was an EastEnders legend #britishsoapawards2023."

And it was left to fellow viewers and soap fans to clear things up as @DavidMackayy explained: "For anyone asking why they didn’t include a tribute to June Brown; she died in April 2022 so they paid tribute to her at last years show x #BritishSoapAwards2023." @ayoprayer also said: "Oh my god June was in the memoriam section last year stop complaining #britishsoapawards2023."


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