We are delighted to say that the comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady has been in touch with a member of our news team by telephone to apologise for calling the South Essex town of Southend On Sea a ‘sh*thole.’

Listen to the full apology below.

The apology has come after O’Grady made derogatory comments about the town during a recent episode of Blind Date for Channel 5.

When he discovered that a winning couple would be sent to Southend for a date, he reacted by saying: “Fancy sending them to that s*** hole.

“That place is full of single mothers. Oh my God — what are you trying to do?” F****** hell. I wouldn’t even go down there for a s***.”

However, after both Southend News Network and a number of other local outlets took exception to these comments, he contacted us and said the following:

Hello everyone. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for some recent comments that I made about Southend. I only realised afterwards that I was mixing it up with Southport, and I am truly sorry for the confusion. I hope to see you all again soon the next time I am performing at the Cliffs, taking a stroll along the seafront or even enjoying some doughnuts at Doodah’s! Much love everyone.”

It is now hoped that the town of Southend can rebuild its reputation and move on in its ongoing quest to become both a city and a tourism hotspot visited by an extra 1.5 million people per year.

With high-profile figures such as O’Grady recognising the abundance of riches that our town has to offer, the sky really is the limit.