Alison Hammond is set to replace the much-missed Paul O’Grady as the host of For the Love of Dogs.
O’Grady died “unexpectedly but peacefully” last March, at the age of 67, with tributes flooding in from members of the public and fellow celebs, including Elton John, Lorraine Kelly, now-queen Camilla and LGBTQ+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
The Birkenhead-born funny man won the hearts of the nation through his drag persona, Lily Savage, presenting The Big Breakfast, Blankety Blank and Lily Live! in the early years of his career.
After he stopped performing as Lily, he became known for The Paul O’Grady Show and the much-loved Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs.
Following his death, the future of the programme looked uncertain, but the baton is set to be picked up by The Great British Bake-Off co-host Hammond, who’ll be visiting Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to help the animal charity find new for-ever homes for their residents.
“I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series,” Hammond told The Sun, “but if I can continue to shine a light on the brilliant work done at Battersea and help tell the stories of these beautiful dogs, then it will be an absolute privilege to give it my all.
Alison Hammond currently co-hosts The Great British Bake-Off. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
“I can’t wait to share the joy of their searches for new loving for-ever homes and hopefully make lots of furry friends of my own along the way.”
The new-look series is due to return in the spring, but O’Grady will always be remembered. “The dogs will have a brand-new champion in Alison Hammond,” Satmohan Pansear, commissioning editor for ITV, said.
“As Paul O’Grady always said, the stars of the show were the dogs, but the impact he had and the legacy he leaves will never be forgotten by any of us.”
The charity added on X, formerly Twitter, that the new series would allow the organisation to “continue sharing the quirky and heart-warming stories of our rescue animals that we know you treasure as much as us.
“With Alison ready to bring to life our work and discover more about rescue, we can’t wait to bring back the show you love.”