British host and comedian O’Grady died after suffering cardiac arrhythmia on 28 March 2023, aged 67, prompting an outpouring of love from the world of entertainment.
News of O’Grady’s “unexpected by peaceful” death was announced by his partner, Andre Portasio.
After O’Grady’s death, the future of his series, For the Love of Dogs, in which he meets rescue animals in need of owners at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was left up in the air – but ITV has now revealed it will return with a This Morning host.
Alison Hammond, best known as one of the rotating hosts on the daytime series, will replace O’Grady in the role, which launched in 2011.
Hammond made a promise while reflecting on her appointment in a statement that read: “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.”
Meanwhile, ITV’s Commissioning Editor, Satmohan Panesar, confirmed the new six-part series has already been filmed, and will begin in a few months.
“We can’t wait to welcome back the series with Alison,” Panesar said, adding: “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.”
In 2022, O’Grady was joined by Camilla for a special one-off episode to mark 160 years of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an organisation for which he was an ambassador.
The TV star’s love for animals was well-known, and he had lived in a farmhouse in Kent with Portasio along with a menagerie of animals including four dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and barn owls.
Speaking at the time of of O’Grady’s death, Portasio said: “We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”