Alison Hammond announced as For The Love Of Dogs new host following Paul O'Grady's death

Alison Hammond is the new host of the ITV series (ITV)
Alison Hammond is the new host of the ITV series (ITV)

Alison Hammond has been announced as the new presenter of For The Love Of Dogs, following the passing of much-loved host Paul O’Grady last spring.

The Great British Bake Off star will front the award-winning six-part series, which aims to help animals in Battersea Dogs & Cats Home's care look for a new forever home

O’Grady, who died last March, became an ambassador for the shelter in 2012 after the success of the award-winning programme, which he hosted for 11 series.

Speaking of her new role, Hammond said she could "never replace" O'Grady but hopes to "shine a light" on the "brilliant work" done at the London-based animal shelter.

The This Morning host said: “I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series, 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!”

Paul O'Grady was the show's much-loved host until his untimely passing in March (ITV)
Paul O'Grady was the show's much-loved host until his untimely passing in March (ITV)

Satmohan Panesar, Commissioning Editor for ITV, said: "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.

"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.

"We can't wait to welcome back the series with Alison; there will be all the fun and warmth that our viewers have come to expect whilst continuing to showcase the wonderful and important work done by the incredible team at Battersea."

Speaking about Hammond now helming the show, Battersea Chief Executive Peter Laurie added: “Everyone at Battersea is excited to embark upon a brand-new series of For the Love of Dogs with Alison Hammond.

"Over the last twelve years, For the Love of Dogs has shared with viewers the love and expert care Battersea dedicates to all the animals that need our help. 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.

"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.”

Hammond's signing comes after Ricky Gervais ruled himself out of replacing the late Paul O'Grady on the ITV reboot.

The comedian, 62, along with Amanda Holden and Martin Clunes, had been tipped as favourites for the teatime show’s reprisal following O'Grady's sudden passing last March.

However, Gervais put an end to the speculation in October after a fan asked him about it directly on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

O’Grady’s award-winning For The Love Of Dogs first began in 2011 and ran for eleven series with the last airing posthumously. He was given a special recognition award at the 2018 National Television Awards for the impact For The Love Of Dogs had on helping find homes for rescue animals nationwide.

The TV star, also known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, sparked a national outpouring of grief following his death on March 28.

His husband Andre Portasio confirmed his passing on social media at the time, writing that he had died “unexpectedly but peacefully”.