Paul James O'Grady, MBE, is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer, radio host, producer, and former drag queen. He achieved notability in the London gay scene during the 1980s with his drag queen persona Lily Savage, with which he went mainstream in the 1990s. He subsequently dropped the character and in the 2000s became the presenter of a range of television and radio shows, most notably The Paul O'Grady Show. Born to a working-class Irish family in Tranmere, Cheshire, O'Grady moved to London in the late 1970s, initially working as a peripatetic care officer for Camden Council. It was here in 1978 that he developed his drag act, basing the character of Lily Savage upon traits found amongst female relatives. Touring northern England as part of drag mime duo, the Playgirls, he eventually went solo as a stand-up comedian. Performing as Savage for eight years at a South London gay pub, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), he gained a popular following among the city's gay community and used his character to speak out for LGBT rights. After being nominated for a 1992 Perrier Award, he attracted mainstream attention and made various television, radio, and theatrical appearances. As Savage, he presented morning chat show The Big Breakfast (1995–1996), game show Blankety Blank (1997–2002), and comedy series Lily Live! (2000–2001), earning various awards and becoming a well known public figure. Seeking to diversify his career away from Savage, O'Grady starred in BBC sitcom Eyes Down (2003–2004) and presented two travel documentaries for ITV. In 2004, he began presenting ITV's daytime chat show The Paul O'Grady Show, which proved a hit with audiences. After the network refused to transfer creative control of the series to O'Grady's production company, Olga TV, in 2006 he defected to rival Channel 4, where the show was rebranded as The New Paul O'Grady Show and ran until 2009. O'Grady subsequently presented a late night ITV show, Paul O'Grady Live (2010–2011) as well as Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs (2012–present) and Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans (2014–2016), while presenting BBC Radio 2's Paul O'Grady on the Wireless and publishing a four-volume autobiography. O'Grady has received a variety of awards, among them honorary degrees and an MBE in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to entertainment.