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Daily Record
Daily Record
Eve Beattie

ITV This Morning's Vanessa Feltz fights back tears comparing Paul O'Grady to Nelson Mandela in emotional tribute

Vanessa Feltz fought back the tears on Wednesday morning as she paid tribute to her "quick-witted" and "clever" friend Paul O'Grady.

The star joined Nigel Havers and Scott Mitchell alongside presenters Holly Willoughby and Joel Dommett to commemorate the late comedian's life.

Speaking on This Morning, she compared her friend to Nelson Mandela: "He made time for people, he was very very busy and had a lovely partner and about a million animals and all these different shows but somehow he made you feel that he absolutely could focus on you and that's a big deal.

"That's kind of Nelson Mandela of him."

She continued: "He was absolutely hilarious, so quick-witted and so clever. He was almost incapable of saying anything that wasn't funny.

"He had to be the absolute master of the put-down, the spontaneous, response to a heckler, falling in his unbelievably uncomfortable stilettos."

Holly Willoughby and Joel Dommett on This Morning (STV)

The tributes continued to pour in, as Holly described the late star as a 'trailblazer'. She said: "He was a real trailblazer, if you think about the things he was doing, he was doing it first. To be on mainstream TV in drag at that time just wasn't something that was done."

The comedian and TV personality shot to fame as foul-mouthed, heavy-smoking Lily Savage in the 1980s - before his rise to fame took him from Camden clubs to the doors of Buckingham Palace. He then went on to host a string of television and radio programmes, both as a drag act and as himself.

The late star was also praised by Barbara Windsor's husband, Scott Mitchell. The 60-year-old said: "I happened to look at my phone at about 2.30 am and I saw a text from Andre, now Andre and I would rarely text each other, and before I opened the text, I just knew. He kindly just let me know before it came out.

Paul O'Grady died on Tuesday night peacefully in his sleep (PA, REX)

"I'm devastated. He was such an incredible man, I'm talking about the human, not the performer. As a performer we know he was this brilliantly talented, warm man, who was very funny and witty.

"But as a man, he was a lovely friend. Especially in my experience with Barbara, especially when she was ill. Paul never forgot her. He continuously came to the house and would turn up n the back of a motorbike on his way to work somewhere and he'd sit with her for a couple of hours and he'd listen to her say the same thing over and over again, he truly really was a good friend.

"And afterwards, to me, he's never forgotten me either. So I'm really really sad."

As Nigel Havers added "He was a talented performer, and so funny.

"Rehearsals for the pantomime were almost even better really because he would just busk it, and it would just work out how he did it.

"He was a very elegant man, he always looked immaculate."

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