Lionel Blair dead: Iconic showbiz entertainer dies aged 92 while surrounded by family

What really happened when Lionel joined The Real Marigold Hotel

He jumped at the chance to spend a month in India for the new series of The Real Marigold Hotel – with the backing of his wife Susan.

“My wife said: ‘You’ve got to go, darling. You have to take every opportunity that comes at your age!’” he said.

“As an experience, it was wonderful.”

Inspired by the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the first series on BBC2 pulled in over four million viewers.

“When we dined outside it was like a family dinner. I bonded with all of them,” says Lionel.

“Amanda was one of my backing dancers over 50 years ago, Miriam had interviewed me, and lots had been on Give Us A Clue [a game show on which Lionel was a team captain] back in the day. I didn’t know Paul that well, but we laughed all the time.”

In the first episode, Lionel struggled with the heat, the food, the surroundings and, most of all, an overwhelming bout of homesickness.

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