Alison Hammond and Paul O'Grady smiling

Inside the return of For the Love of Dogs without beloved Paul O’Grady – Alison Hammond’s vow; fan fears; EastEnders star’s bizarre claim

It'll be a bittersweet watch!

For the Love of Dogs is back this year with its new host Alison Hammond.

The late Paul O’Grady fronted every series of the much-loved ITV show since 2012. Paul’s final TV project – Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant adventure – airs on Sunday (March 31).

Following Paul O’Grady’s death last March, there was much speculation about whether his Battersea show would return.

What’s more, a number of names were thrown into the mix from Martin Clunes to Amanda Holden to be the new host. But it was Brummie fave Alison who was confirmed as the brand new host.

But what vow has she made about the show? And which EastEnders star claimed Paul wanted her to host it instead? Keep scrolling to find out!

Paul O'Grady on For the Love of Dogs
Fans were not happy with who has filled Paul’s shoes (Credit: ITV)

Alison Hammond replaces Paul O’Grady on For the Love of Dogs

When news of Alison hosting the For the Love of Dogs was revealed, she 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!”

Alison Hammond speaking on Lorraine
Alison is the new host of the ITV show (Credit: ITV)

Alison Hammond’s ‘vow’ on For the Love of Dogs

A few weeks later in February, while hosting This Morning alongside Dermot O’Leary, she was congratulated by her co-host for the new job.

After thanking Dermot for congratulating her, he stated that he was going to get Alison a dog. Admitting that it’s a “massive responsibility” to host the show, the former Big Brother contestant stated she wanted to take the job to learn more about dogs.

“I’ve always wanted a dog but you have to take it very very seriously,” she said. She also made a vow and added: “I just want to carry on that work because the charity does so much good work.”

For the Love of Dogs fans issue plea

When Alison became the new host, it sparked a mixed reaction among fans. Some were thrilled for the star while others believed Alison was the wrong choice to host For the Love of Dogs. Taking to social media, fans had a moan about the news.

“Paul will never be replaced and if it is Allison Hammond that’s me not watching,” one fan fumed.

“Julian Clary would have been perfect,” another said.

“I love this programme but not sure about Alison Hammond as host she’s not my favourite presenter not sure if I’ll watch it,” a third wrote.

Cheryl Ferigson on GMB
The EastEnders star shared her thoughts (Credit: ITV)

Cheryl Fergison’s For the Love of Dogs claim

This year, former EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison claimed the late Paul would have given her his “blessing” to host For the Love of Dogs.

Speaking about Alison landing the role, Heather Trott star Cheryl told her fans on a TikTok live – obtained by The Sun: “You know, I can turn my hand to most things, I’m not begging for a job. I’m just telling you I am perfect for a lot of jobs but you guys are not putting me up for them, letting me go for them, and I don’t know why.”

Cheryl added: “I say good luck to Alison Hammond for For the Love of Dogs. But I’m telling you now, Paul O’Grady would’ve definitely given me his blessing to do that job, because a) I have a dog, we’ve discussed our dogs quite a lot and I’ve always had dogs in my life, and erm yeah, dogs are the best, it’s that simple.”

Read more: Paul O’Grady ‘left thousands for his beloved dogs in his will’

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Joey Crutchley
Freelance Writer