As a new TV series featuring dogs, expert judges, and a celebrity presenter hits our screens, Joanne Bednall finds out more.
Imagine a canine version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and ‘Pooch Perfect’ is pretty much it.
In a similar reality TV format, BBC One’s latest competitive entertainment offering focuses on the world of dog grooming.
Sixteen professional canine stylists from around the UK are set to battle it out, in a series of heats featuring themed challenges, in a bid to be crowned the nation’s top dog groomer and scoop the coveted ‘Golden Stanley’ trophy.
Judged by two of Britain’s leading dog grooming experts, contestants are ‘teased out’ and eliminated at the end of each show.
As well as epic ‘transFURmations’, from scruffy to fluffy; ruff to regal, the eight episodes will also feature top tips on responsible dog ownership, fun facts about different breeds, and a guide to at-hoe grooming techniques.
Each week, the teams will reveal their creations on ‘the dogwalk’, where the judges will deliberate over the week’s canine contenders, before owners get to see their newly transformed dogs for the first time.
Kate Phillips, acting controller of BBC One, said: “I love this show! It has so much warmth, joy, and skill to it — one false snip could cost someone the competition.”
The contestants hard at work.
The perfect presenter
Dog owner, singer, and award-winning actress Sheridan Smith OBE hosts the show.
It’s the first time the star of TV’s ‘Mrs Biggs’, ‘Cilla’, and ‘Cleaning Up’ has fronted a prime-time entertainment series, but the subject matter proved irresistible.
“To combine my love of dogs with presenting for the BBC was a match made in heaven!” said Sheridan. “Everyone who knows me will understand that animals, and especially dogs, are very special to me. I live at home with six dogs, so presenting a show dedicated to our four-legged friends didn’t take much consideration!”
Q What was it like sharing the limelight with Stanley, your canine co-host?
“Stanley is amazing — he’s so well trained and well behaved. He didn’t answer back and just barked, rolled over, and wanted a tummy tickle! We all fell in love with him and I wanted to take him home at the end. He did upstage me — he’s the star!”
Q Did you want to take any of the other dogs home?
“I was tempted every day. The little Pomeranians and Shih Tzu were so cute… but I promised my mum before the show that I would not come back with any more livestock!”
Q How much did you know about dog grooming before the show?
“I bought ‘Dog Grooming for Dummies’ to get clued up, but judges Colin and Verity gave me tips so I learned as we went along.”
Q Were there any ‘Blue Peter’ moments on set?
“The dogs were regularly taken out on comfort breaks so we didn’t have any accidents.”
Q What do you think viewers will enjoy most?
“The whole show is camp, fun, and lovely to be a part of. I really hope it brings everyone some light relief and a lot of joy.”
Q What do you look for in a good canine hair cut?
“I like a beautiful silhouette and a balanced and symmetrical dog. I’m a neat freak — I want to see beautiful scissoring with no stray hairs, while good handling and an understanding of the dog’s emotional needs are also important.”
To read the full interview and the rest of the February 2021 issue of Your Dog you can purchase a copy here.