Lassie ‘Top Dog’ in survey of UK’s favourite TV pets
FAITHFUL, HEROIC Collie Lassie has been named Britain's favourite TV pet in a survey.
The film hero was named top dog almost 70 years after she first appeared in Yorkshire author Eric Knight's short story Lassie Come Home. Since then, she – or rather a succession of Lassies, most of them male – have appeared in numerous films and TV series.
EastEnders' Wellard, who first appeared in Walford 12 years ago, came second in the poll.
Blue Peter's Shep took third place. The Border Collie left the children's programme when presenter John Noakes quit in 1978 because the pair had become inseparable
However, Shep didn’t live with Noakes, but stayed with his original trainer, after the BBC refused to allow Noakes to use Shep in advertisements for dog food.
Shep is followed in the poll by another of the show's four-legged friends, the mongrel Petra. Viewers did not know that the show's first dog died after her debut appearance in 1962, and had been replaced by an identical hound. The second Petra lived to a ripe old age, but was a rather grumpy old lady, according to presenter and OUR DOGS columnist Peter Purves, with whom she lived.
Skippy the bush kangaroo, from the Australian TV series, hopped into fifth place in the survey of 2,000 people. The yellow-and-pink-striped magical cat Bagpuss, from the children's animated series of the same name, purred in at number six.
Linda Whiting, from Pets at Home superstore, which commissioned the survey, said: "Pets have featured on classic TV programmes for many years; we all had a much loved on-screen pet as a child - that was part of our upbringing."
Cartoon cat Garfield and cartoon Great Dane Scooby Doo, Neighbours' dog Bouncer and another Blue Peter dog, Golden Retriever Goldie also featured in the top ten.
The top ten TV Pets are: 1 Lassie, 2 Wellard, 3 Shep, 4 Petra, 5 Skippy, 6 Bagpuss, 7 Garfield, 8 Bouncer, 9 Scooby Doo, 10 Goldie.