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Paul O'Grady was the 'life and soul of Battersea' while filming final season of ITV show

Paul O'Grady cuddles Newfoundland, Peggy, on For the Love of Dogs.
Megan Bull
TV Writer
13 April 2023
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The eleventh series of For the Love of Dogs will air this evening on ITV1, following the sad passing of Paul O’Grady in March. While the show’s premiere is naturally bittersweet, Shaun Opperman, Veterinary Director at Battersea, described the presenter as the “life and soul of Battersea,” during filming for the final season. 

Close up of Paul O'Grady smiling.
The presenter loved working with animals

Speaking to HELLO! about what it was like working with the late presenter behind the scenes, he said: “When Paul was on site with filming, he was the life and soul of Battersea and lit up the kennels. He really fell for a two-year-old Newfoundland called Peggy who appears in the first episode of the series and helped us nurse her back to health after she’d undergone a life-changing operation on her back legs.”

MORE: Paul O'Grady's close friend reveals 'gorgeous' husband Andre changed his life

READ: Paul O'Grady's beloved dogs who brought such joy to the star's life

Shaun added: “He cared deeply for every single one of our dogs that he came across and always took the time to speak to our staff. We loved filming For the Love of Dogs with Paul over the years and we will forever remember his kindness and support.”

For a first look at the new episode, which documents Paul’s heartwarming connection with Newfoundland, Peggy, click the video below…

Prior to his death, Paul had also revealed how much Battersea meant to him. 

In an interview for the show, he said: “It's always such a joy to be back at Battersea. It really is my second home and I'm part of the furniture now. There are some smashing dogs in the new series, they really are lovely. But some sad stories as well and, of course, there is a dog that I fall in love with too. There always is.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, patron of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and Battersea Ambassador Paul O'Grady hold cats during their visit to Battersea Brand Hatch Centre© Getty
Paul called Battersea his "second home"

"When we first made this programme, I certainly didn't expect to stay this long but here I am, 12 years later. It's such a simple little show really. No special effects, no shiny floor. Just the dogs, the incredible people who work with the dogs, and me. But the reaction it still gets is really lovely."

Viewers can watch the 8-part series every Thursday at 8.30PM on ITV1.

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