Paul O’Grady spoke of ‘joy’ at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home return as interview recorded before his death to air

Paul O’Grady spoke of the “joy” he felt when he returned to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for his long-running ITV show in an interview conducted before his death.

The presenter, who died “unexpectedly” last week at the age of 67, visited the charity for the upcoming series of Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.

In the interview for the show, O’Grady 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.

“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.”

The 11th series of Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs will begin on 13 April on ITV and the broadcaster is also airing a tribute to the late TV star on Sunday.

ITV has asked the public to share their video memories for the show, which is called For The Love Of Paul O’Grady.

After his death, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home set up a fund dedicated to O’Grady which has raised more than £200,000 for charity so far.

He became an ambassador for the animal charity in 2012.

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O’Grady – who found fame with his drag queen persona Lily Savage – presented a string of programmes across the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, including Blankety Blank, The Big Breakfast, Blind Date and The Paul O’Grady Show.

He was given a special recognition award at the 2018 National Television Awards for the impact the For The Love Of Dogs series had on helping find homes for rescue animals nationwide.

His contribution to animal welfare was also recognised with an RSPCA animal hero award.

During the first series of the show, O’Grady rehomed Chihuahua-Jack Russell cross puppy Eddie at his Kent farmhouse.

This was followed by Boycie, a shih-tzu, in 2014, Conchita, a Maltese, in 2015, Arfur, a mongrel puppy, in 2017, Nancy, another mongrel puppy, in 2020, and Sausage, a wire-haired dachshund, in 2021.