Posted 5 months ago ago
The brilliant Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs returns to our screens this week and we couldn’t be happier.
The TV host and dog lover is back at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for the ninth series, and Paul will once again be helping the staff of London’s famous animal trust to care for and rehabilitate the dogs when it returns to ITV on Wednesday, April 7.
The series has become somewhat of a cult classic for animal lovers across the country since its debut in 2012 and since then, Paul has gone on to film over 100 episodes of the show.
And it’s no wonder that it’s been such a success – because not only do us humans and doggies love the show – but dog lover Paul is the perfect host.
How it all started:
Before he hit the big time, TV star Paul performed as Lily Savage in the 80s.
He started off working the drag circuit with his act across pubs and clubs and performed annually as Lily at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before performing a show titled Lily Savage Live from the Hackney Empire, which proved to be a sell-out.
Once he had gained national success, Paul was then asked to bring his act to mainstream TV, and it was when he took over from the late Paula Yates on The Big Breakfast from 1995 to 96 that he really hit the big time.
However, the early mornings didn’t agree with him so he left after a year to host a reboot of the BBC quiz show Blankety Blank.
Paul and Buster:
In 2004, he presented The Paul O’Grady Show with his faithful dog Buster - a shih tzu and Bichon Frisé cross that he’d rescued as a stray - by his side.
The original episodes of the programme featured only Paul, but after a ‘guest appearance’ by Buster the dog became a regular feature.
Such was Buster’s popularity with the audience a mini nodding version of the pooch was created as a prize given away to viewers during the show. As the show went on, ill-heath forced Buster to appear less and Paul’s dogs Olga and then Bullseye rotated slots on the show.
Buster died aged 15 after a short retirement and Paul paid a heartfelt tribute to him just this week, saying: “Buster Elvis Savage, what a great little dog he was.”
What we can expect from Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs:
Such is Paul’s adoration of our four-legged friends, he admits he finds it hard not to take each and every stray he meets at Battersea back to his luxury Kent home, with its menagerie of animals.
In the new five-part series, filled with laughter and tears in equal measure, Paul is faced with more abandoned and stray dogs. He meets canine heroes with incredible stories and falls in love with some precious puppies along the way.
As always, Paul doesn’t hold back as he helps care for the animals, feeding them, walking them, picking up after them and holding their paws as they go for treatment.
In episode one, Paul meets two Maltese Terrier puppies who staff suspect may have come from a puppy farm in Romania, having been sold to a family in the UK for an eye-watering £4000. They were brought into Battersea after the family struggled to cope with looking after them.
Paul also meets a three-month-old Spaniel-cross who was taken to the Brands Hatch branch of Battersea by his owners. He is covered head-to-toe in mites and staff believe he might also be the result of puppy farming.
Paul has urged people to show compassion for dogs.
The 65-year-old has spoken about the “horrific” conditions some puppies are born into – and called for “stiffer” sentences for people who abuse animals.
Paul says he believes people running puppy farms are “getting away with murder” and slammed the government’s lax attitude towards it.
Paul said that at one point, the dogs had faced such terrible abuse, producers decided not to film them.
He explained: “We once had a van full of puppies turn up and they had eye infections. Nobody had bothered to care for them, and they were blind from over-breeding.”
The show is a global success
Speaking about the show’s continued success recently, Paul said: “What’s amazing now is how popular the show is overseas. Australia, Canada, China, Germany, even Dubai! Three little boys from Dubai ran up to me in London once and their mum said they love the show. It amazes me, all these years down the line, the response it gets.
“I was only supposed to do six days filming here back in 2012 but I‘ve never really left since. People always tell me they laugh at me rolling around on the floor with these dogs, but that’s the only way to be with them. I’m not going to stand at the gate all day talking to the camera. I genuinely love these dogs. I really do.”
When can I watch Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs?
Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs will start on ITV on Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 8PM.
You'll also be able to catch up online via the ITV Hub.