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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Alexi Duggins

‘I can never replace Paul’: Alison Hammond announced as new host of For the Love of Dogs

Alison Hammond meets staff from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
‘I can’t wait to share the joy’ … Alison Hammond meets staff from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Photograph: ITV

Alison Hammond will take over as the new host of the long-running ITV series For the Love of Dogs.

Her appointment follows the death of its previous host, Paul O’Grady, whose final posthumous series behind the scenes of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aired last spring.

“I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series,” said Hammond.

“But if I can continue to shine a light on the brilliant work done at Battersea and help to tell the stories of these beautiful dogs, then it will be an absolute privilege to give it my all.

“I can’t wait to share the joy of their searches for new loving forever homes and hopefully make lots of furry friends of my own along the way!”

For the Love of Dogs began airing in 2012 and ran for 11 series with its previous host. Hammond’s first series as presenter will consist of six episodes. The title will change from Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs to For the Love of Dogs With Alison Hammond.

“We are thrilled to be able to confirm that the series will return in the spring and that the dogs have a brand new champion in Alison Hammond,” said Satmohan Panesar, commissioning editor for ITV.

“As Paul O’Grady always said himself, the stars of the show were the dogs themselves, but the impact that he had and the legacy he leaves will never be forgotten by any of us.”

Presenting For the Love of Dogs is the latest high-profile hosting gig for Hammond, who replaced Matt Lucas in the most recent series of The Great British Bake Off and co-presented last year’s Baftas ceremony. She is one of the main hosts of This Morning alongside Dermot O’Leary, after Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield left the programme.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Alison to Battersea and introducing her to the incredible animals in our care as we help them on their journey to finding loving, new homes,” said Peter Laurie, Battersea chief executive.

“Alongside our beloved ambassador, the late, great Paul O’Grady, we’ve enjoyed showing how much joy rescue animals can give, and we’re pleased we can continue to shine a light on the work our charity undertakes every day to improve the lives of dogs and cats.”

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