Dilton Marsh dog's set to be a TV star
Dog owner Ashley Russell will appear in new Channel 4 series Superstar Dogs over the next three weeks, with his German shorthaired pointer Oliver.
Mr Russell, of Dilton Marsh, has had Oliver for three years, since he was a puppy. They did two auditions with production company Tuesday’s Child before being selected to appear.
The show will be presented by John Barrowman, with dogs and their owners coming from all over the UK to compete in a number of challenges and the final spectacular “Dogstacle” course.
Mr Russell and Oliver filmed the heats, semi-finals and final on January 27 and 31 at MediaCityUK in Manchester, where they competed against 30 other pairings for the chance to win cash and Crufts appearance.
Mr Russell, 26, who lives with partner Sophie Stent, said: “I saw it advertised and thought why not give it a go.
“I didn’t necessarily think we would get through the auditions, but it looked fun and it was a chance to do something different.
“We didn’t have a great heat, as there were a few obstacles that Oliver found quite difficult, but we managed to scrape through and got better as it went on.
“Oliver was particularly good at retrieving a ball thrown into water in the quickest time.
“He was a bit taken aback when he first saw all the lights and the smoke during filming, but he eventually settled down and coped well with the 200 or so people in the audience.
“This was the first time we had done anything like this and I couldn’t have asked for any more from Oliver. It was a really great experience and totally different to what we are used to.”
Mr Russell, a civil servant, said he would be joined by relatives and friends to watch the television shows, with everyone eager to find out how the pair got on.
He added: “I’m not allowed to reveal the winner prior to the programme being aired, so all my family and friends are keen to find out how we did and see us on TV.”
Superstar Dogs will be aired over three weeks, with the first show on Channel 4 on Monday at 5.30pm.
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