Alison Hammond to succeed Paul O'Grady as host of ITV's For The Love Of Dogs

Alison Hammond is to take over from Paul O'Grady as host of ITV's For The Love Of Dogs.

The popular show goes behind the scenes at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home as it tries to find new owners for its animal residents.

O'Grady hosted the programme for more than a decade until his death last year.

Hammond, 48, who is known for shows such as This Morning and The Great British Bake Off, said she was keen to get started and "make lots of furry friends".

"I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series," she said.

"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."

The animal shelter's boss, Peter Laurie, said everyone was excited about working with Hammond and "introducing her to the incredible animals in our care".

For The Love of Dogs has won several National Television Awards and TV Choice Awards, and was also nominated for a BAFTA.

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ITV commissioning editor Satmohan Panesar said the show would return in the spring and feature the same "fun and warmth" shown by O'Grady.

"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," said the ITV executive.

O'Grady died unexpectedly in March, with more than £130,000 donated to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home in the days afterwards.

In December, animal rights group PETA posthumously named him their person of the year in recognition of his years of campaigning.