Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary debut as This Morning hosts with awkward gaffe

Alison Hammond made an awkward start to her new role as Friday host of This Morning alongside Dermot O’Leary.

The show saw the pair, who have taken over from Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, speak to stars including Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley and comic Michael McIntyre.

But during a video interview with Graham Norton about his new job as a weekend presenter on Virgin Radio, Hammond made a gaffe by asking about his dead dog.

She told him: “I miss you. I love you. The last time I saw you you were with your dog out and about. I have just been told I am going to get a four-legged friend. Have you still got your dog?”

Norton replied: “No, dead”, prompting O’Leary to burst into laughter and Hammond to admit she was “absolutely devastated”.

But Norton clearly found the exchange funny, adding: “I was devastated when it happened – I’m being horrible to you.”

Hammond and O’Leary’s debut split opinion among viewers but many praised their performance as “an absolute joy”.

The episode also saw the ITV show’s resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, talk about getting the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and its after-effects.

He said: “It’s extra important for me to have it because I am from a minority ethnic background and that puts me at slightly higher risk, and I’m a frontline worker, so it’s really, really important that I protect myself, my patients and my colleagues.”

Hammond serenaded O’Leary with a version of Bill Withers’ Just The Two Of Us and the pair spoke with a woman who claimed to be able to predict the future with asparagus.

They also tried their hand at making Irish soda bread and stew, and gave away £1,000 to one viewer during a game of Spin To Win.

At the end of the show, Hammond told viewers: “We loved it.”

Despite their departure, married couple Holmes and Langsford will continue to host the daytime show “during key holidays”, ITV has said.

They have been a regular fixture on This Morning for 14 years.

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