Paul O’Grady is said to be ‘moved to tears’ in his final ever TV appearance on For The Love of Dogs, set to air posthumously.
The legendary comedian, also known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, died ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on March 28 aged 67, with his partner Andre Portasio saying: ‘He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.’
Fans of the LGBT+ activist and animal lover, as well as celebrities across the globe have been paying tribute to O’Grady, with broadcasters airing past TV appearances and interviews of the beloved comedian resurfacing.
The new series of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, series 11, is scheduled to air after his death, on Thursday April 13, as planned.
According to reports, the episode will see O’Grady telling Newfoundland pooch Peggy that there’s ‘no room at the inn’, as he admits he was desperate to adopt her.
O’Grady personally rehomed several dogs from the centre, including during filming for the show, when he took home Eddie, a Chihuahua Jack Russell-cross puppy.
Eddie was joined 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.
But O’Grady was desperate to take home Peggy too, after she had a three-and-a-half hour operation to repair her back legs.
According to The Mirror, O’Grady helps Peggy nurse back to health with eight weeks of physio, hydrotherapy, and assisted walks before she could be rehomed.
O’Grady is said to tell the pup: ‘Oh dear, I wish I was ready for you, Peggy, but I am afraid I can’t do it this time, there is just no room at the inn.
‘Peggy, it’s been a real privilege meeting you, it’s not every day you get to meet a special dog like you. You are very beautiful. It’s been lovely knowing you, take it easy, Peggy.’
O’Grady is left even more heartbroken when Peggy whines as he leaves, telling her: ‘Don’t start, Peggy please. I’m going to get a job on the railways. It’s too hard to say goodbye.’
Thankfully though, Peggy is later rehomed with a family, delighting O’Grady.
He says: ‘Don’t start, Peggy please. I’m going to get a job on the railways. It’s too hard to say goodbye.’
Ahead of the new series airing, O’Grady had recently spoke about the joy he experienced when returning to the charity for filming.
‘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,’ he said in an interview for the show.
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‘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.’
O’Grady also added that when they first made the programme he ‘certainly didn’t expect to stay this long’.
‘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,’ he said.
When talking about the furry friends he met this time around, O’Grady said he had been ‘obsessed’ with Peggy, who he said was the ‘size of a donkey’ and ‘so loving’.
‘I thought, “I can’t bring her back, I don’t know what (my dogs) would say”. Especially Eddie, my Chihuahua – he’d go for him,’ he said.
He added that Eddie had ‘no idea of his own size’ and would be ‘straight in for a fight, even though we’ve got bigger rats than Eddie’.
For the Love of Dogs began in 2012, after which, following its success, O’Grady became an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
He presented the show for eleven series, during which time he laid bare his ‘passion for all things dog’, the charity said, in a tribute.
Last year O’Grady was joined by the Queen Consort in a special one-off episode of the programme to mark 160 years of the organisation.
During an interview during the first series in September 2012, he said it was ‘hand on heart… one of the nicest jobs I’ve ever had’ and praised the home as ‘a magical place’.
Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs returns on Thursday April 13 at 8.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
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