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As seen at Crufts …
Life amongst the stars with Robert Killick

Crufts is like a magnet, it attracts everyone, the famous, the infamous, rich and poor, the lord and the worker, to many it is irresistible. It is the greatest celebration of dogs the world has ever seen. Over the past few years the presence of celebrities at Crufts is becoming part of the general attraction, visitors love the fact that they can get close to and even speak to some of our television stars and football heroes.

Our Dogs played host to many celebrities who came to Crufts to support the charity work of the National Golden Bone Awards by promoting the book Star Dogs, written by NGBA founder Kevin Horkin. They come on a voluntary basis and quite honestly they seem to like being with us; each one of them spent ages on our stand, causing a big jam in the aisles whilst they spoke to members of the public and signed copies of Star Dogs.


Photo by John D Jackson
Coronation Street Star Bill Roache enjoyed his visit to the stand and is pictured above with OUR DOGS Media Director Kevin Horkin and Vince Hogan, Managing Director of OUR DOGS.

My role was to look after the celebs, show them round, and attend to any special needs like finding breeds or accessories in which they were particularly interested. A terrible job but someone has to do it! I had also to find them little havens of peace where they could relax with a cooling drink, and in this connection I’d particularly like to thank Arden Grange, Eukanuba and Nestle Purina, whose hospitality oases were a Godsend. Pedigree Masterfoods provided them with lunches well up to and above standard and believe me, the celebs were most grateful; walking about and being mobbed really is exhausting.

Many doggie people asked me what it is like to have lunch with so many television stars, I hate to disillusion anyone but it’s just the same as having lunch with a bunch of dog breeders, the only difference being that nobody mentioned the Kennel Club or breed politics.


Photo by Alan V Walker
Our Dogs columnist Robert Killick with a Miniature Schnauzer lookalike
and actress Debbie Arnold.

Theatrical people laugh a lot and chatter fifteen to the dozen, but what did amaze me was their hunger for doggie information, I can tell you they put my memory to the test. They also have the same behavioural problems with their dogs as we do; due to their way of life they can’t devote much time to training, believe me there’s a good job waiting for an enterprising person as canine behavioural consultant to the stars!

The girl who really made us laugh with tales of her misbehaving Bichon was Crossroads’ Cindy Marshall-Day, she who plays the hotel proprietor’s son’s drunken wife, Tracy. The dog takes no notice of any command Cindy gives and pees in the most unlikely places. She bought a very expensive bed cover with nineteen Bichons embroidered on it, for her dog’s bed of course; her husband was displeased.

Marvellous

William Roache (Kenneth Barlow of Coronation Street) about whom I’ve written before, I’m always impressed by him, he seems marvellously still, under control as it were. Being an ex-theatrical myself I’m on the same wavelength so I’m interested in beginnings, William doesn’t come from a theatrical family, he served five years as an officer in the army before embarking on his acting career. He served his apprenticeship in repertory like everyone did in those times. He then started in Coronation Street and to his astonishment is still there.

William loves his dogs and cats, he has many and he values his time with them.

David Janson of Keeping Up Appearances and his wife Debbie Arnold (Eastenders & Coronation Street) with their two delightful young daughters visited us for a second year.

Those two little girls wanted to know just about everything about dogs, they were particularly fascinated by Lancashire Heelers. They must’ve spent two hours in Discover Dogs.


Photo by David Cavill
EastEnders actress Pam St Clement making friends with a Sheltie PAT dog.

I have written about the next three celebrities before but I think they are such good value I’ll mention them again, starting with Cristian Salamino, he’s the latest handsome icon with whom the ladies have a love/hate relationship, he was a nasty in Footballers’ Wives.

Surprise, surprise, he’s not a nasty at all, he’s a lovely fella. Apart from the charity he came with a short list of dogs he wanted to see before he makes up his mind to buy. After a couple of hours he came down heavily in favour of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, he was unusually knowledgeable, a colleague told me he has one hundred books on dogs!

One lady captivated me, Di Sherlock who plays Oona in Crossroads, a warm, charismatic lady, her humour and infectious laughter mark her as someone rather special. Travelling with her was Jim Dunk who is Dave in Crossroads, Oona’s ex husband, more of a listener than a talker, when he was with Di that is, he’s a Midlander with a typical self deprecatory sense of humour, a likeable man on first acquaintance.

There were many more; there was Armand Beasley the make-over expert from GMTV, Joseph Millson (Dr Sam Morgan Peak Practice), Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson Brookside), Susie Mathis (Sony radio personality), Steve Bruce, Manager of Birmingham FC and his wife Jan, I saw Simon le Bon with his supermodel wife Yasmin looking around.

I have to thank them for their time and patience, they all offered their services again to help raise money for our charities, a gesture I know will be greatly appreciated.


Photo by John D Jackson
Debbie Arnold of Coronation Street and EastEnders and Cindy Marshall-Day of Crossroads fame paid a visit to the OUR DOGS stand on Saturday.

Photo by David Cavill
Dr Sam Morgan (Joseph Millson) from Peak Practice and Jason Turner (Cristian Salamino) from popular TV series Footballers Wives, met the breed representatives for Bolognese from the Discover Dogs Stand.

Photo by John D Jackson
Jason Turner (Cristian Salamino) from popular TV series Footballers’ Wives and Dr Sam Morgan (Joseph Millson) from Peak Practice at the Our Dogs stand with Media Director of OUR DOGS Kevin Horkin and Vince Hogan, Managing Director of OUR DOGS.

Photo by John D Jackson
Actress Stephanie Beacham helps Chairman Mr Peter James to cut the celebration cake in the KC Good Citizens ring.

Photo by Alan V Walker
Mrs Val Foss of the KC General Committee meets KC President HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

Photo by Alan V Walker
Jim Dunk, who plays Dave in Crossroads, shared a cuddle of the OUR DOGS fluffy dog with fellow Crossroads star Di Sherlock who plays Oona in the newly revived soap.

Photo by Alan V Walker
Josh of ‘Big Brother’ fame with his dog Bailey.

Photo by Alan V Walker
GSD judge Mr Andrew Winfrow in conversation with HRH Prince Michael of Kent in the ring at the show.

Photo by Alan V Walker
KC President HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the ‘Animals in War’ memorial stand, in conversation with Peter Davies CEO of the RSPCA and writer Jilly Cooper.

Photo by John D Jackson
OUR DOGS Media Director Kevin Horkin with Debbie Arnold, Vince Hogan Managing Director of OUR DOGS and David Jansen of Keeping Up Appearances fame and Cindy Marshall-Day.

Worcester cricketer and England batsman Graham Hick (centre) who was at the show with his wife Jackie, looking at Rhodesian Ridgebacks with a view to buying a puppy. He was entertained by Pedigree Masterfoods and is pictured here with cricket fans Bill Moores of OUR DOGS and Bill King of Pedigree.

Photo by John D Jackson
Actress Stephanie Beacham helps to give out the awards in the KC Good Citizens dog ring.