Frustrated Paul O’Grady stormed off set of BBC sitcom over filming request

National Television Awards pay tribute to Paul O’Grady

Paul O’Grady stormed off set of his BBC sitcom and sped away on public transport after a filming request left him frustrated. Actor Tony Maudsley said the late star was so incensed, he wouldn’t even wait for hischauffeured car and “flagged down a double decker bus to get home”.

Tony, who first met Paul in 2003, when they were cast in a new BBC sitcom called Eyes Down, explained that Paul was not used to sticking to a script and couldn’t bear to be told to redo his lines.

“It was the first time he was going to do scripted comedy,” he added to Julian Clary, who hosts upcoming Boom Radio special, Paul O’Grady The Musical Celebration, in honour of the late comedian.

“As Lily, he’d always had free reign over what he said and when he said it. With Eyes Down, he was working alongside five other actors and had to stick to a script. In the beginning, he would get so frustrated when he had to film something again.

“He’d say, ‘What was wrong with that? I got all me lines right?’ They’d say, ‘I’m gonna do the same again from a different angle’. But he hated doing it over and over again.

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“One day, he got so frustrated he stormed off the set and said he’d had enough,” he continued. “I chased after him. I said, ‘Paul, there’s no car to pick you up till 4pm’. Next thing, he’d stuck out his hand and flagged down a double-decker bus.

“‘Take me to Tower Bridge’, he said to the driver. ‘I can’t mate, this only goes as far as Cricklewood.’ Oh, then I’ll go as far as Cricklewood and I’ll get a taxi,’” he said.

“But, of course, he came back into work the next day with his tail between his legs and he apologised to everyone.”

According to Tony “Paul was always angry about something”, but he was “also kind and he was generous and he was just an absolute joy to have around”. He added that despite the drama: “I wouldn’t swap those days for anything.”

Since Paul’s death from sudden cardiac arrhythmia in March, there have been a sea of tributes from his family and famous friends, including his husband Andre Portasio.

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Andre told a star-studded memorial gathering for the comedian about his partner’s final moments before his death.

According to The Sun, Andre said: “We’d had a very ordinary day, just watching TV together at home, when Paul said he wanted to make a ‘cup of tea,’ and that was our ­little code for rolling a spliff.

“So Paul went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, brought it back, lit it and started smoking it – and that was our last time together, the last thing we did. He passed away there in his chair.”

Julian Clary’s Boom Radio show will also feature chats with other famous names, including Dawn French, Michael Buble and Jo Brand sharing their anecdotes about the legendary comedian.

Paul O’Grady The Musical Celebration will be on Boom Radio from 12-2pm on Christmas Day

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