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BBC branded hypocrites

Carashon Just The Ticket At Newkasbern

IN an amazing about turn over its stance on pedigree dogs, the BBC has 'employed' a St Bernard to star in its high-rated soap, Eastenders, despite the fact that the breed was listed as 'at risk' when the BBC made the decision to withdraw its coverage of Crufts in March.

Carashon Just The Ticket At Newkasbern made his first appearance in the programme last week. Shamus' dam, Chandlimore Town Gossip With Carashon, was top brood bitch and his sire, Poolsway No More Mr Nice Guy, was top stud. His brother, Carashon Take A Chance With Chandlimore, was top St Bernard 2008.

Bred by Carol Parry from Lancashire and owned by Harry and Jean Minnican from London, Shamus – who will be three in March - now spends a few days a week at a TV studio where he is looked after by a professional trainer. His contract with the show will run until June, after which it may be renewed.

In the new storyline, cast member Bradley Branning finds himself the reluctant owner of a 'champion show dog' Gumbo, played by Shamus. Bradley takes Gumbo to Phil's house where the dog proves a big hit with character Ben, who is delighted when Phil agrees to let him stay. Bradley then makes the decision to show Gumbo in the hope of making some money.

'EastEnders wanted a dog in the cast but they weren't sure which breed for the storyline,’ Mrs Parry said. ‘Shamus' owners live in the London area and heard about it. They screen-tested Shamus and he passed every test. He was very good on set and very obedient so they gave him the part. We have been breeding dogs for 16 years but Shamus is our first television star.
'We keep in touch with all our puppies' owners once they leave us and were delighted to hear when Shamus got the part. The producers needed a dog to take over from Genghis and Well'Ard. They weren't sure if they wanted a big dog but when they saw Shamus audition they knew he was the one.'

Crufts qualified

Shamus, who was from a 13-strong litter, and whose brother and sister are champions, has also qualified for Crufts for the last two years.

The BBC angered many dog lovers last December with its decision, after 40 years, to suspend coverage of Crufts in 2009, despite having a contract with the Kennel Club to air the programme worldwide until 2010. At the time the organisation said it would not go ahead with the filming without assurances from the KC that certain 'at risk' breeds would be excluded from the show. The disputed breeds were: Basset hound, Clumber spaniel, Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Neopolitan mastiff, Pekingese, Bloodhound, Shar pei, St Bernard, Chow, German shepherd, Bulldog, Rhodesian ridgeback and the Cavalier.

The KC refused to back down. KC Chairman Ronnie Irving hit back at the BBC saying: 'we have been forced to reject the insupportable conditions imposed by the BBC, who have told us they will only televise the show in 2009 if certain breeds are excluded from participating.

'We are unable to agree to these demands, as it would compromise both contractual obligations and our general responsibility to dog exhibitors and our audience and we believe it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to exclude any recognised breed from Crufts.'

The club said the BBC had failed to "take into account" measures the club had put in place to improve the health of pedigree dogs.

Caroline Kisko, KC Secretary, told OUR DOGS: "We are very surprised to hear of the BBC's decision to run a story line in Eastenders relating to a St Bernard show dog. It seems extremely hypocritical considering that the BBC specifically required the Kennel Club to ban the BBC's so called "at risk" breeds from Crufts, of which the St Bernard was one."

OUR DOGS has no problem with the dog appearing on TV; what we and many readers will find impossible to accept is the dreadful example of double standards by an organisation which appeared to allow a very one sided film to appear in the first place, and then to contradict its own high handed moral stance. It begs the question does the BBC know what its doing in terms of pedigree dogs, and does this undermine their credibility yet again?

Our Dogs contacted the BBC but at the time of going to press we had received no comment.

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Lets hope the BBC don't have a cunning plan to have this dog in the programme and then it falls foul of 'unhealthy breeding' just to prove a point and to back up the programme they showed....


Did you notice in another episode there was also a Bermese Mountain Dog? What next, a Peke or CKCS ?

Julie Frost

I'm embarrassed that someone at the KC felt it neccessary to comment on this publically. It looks like childish tit for tat behavior and does nothing to improve the dog worlds current image. Does anyone think that the BBC controllers that decided not to televise Crufts are about to start trawling through the plot-lines of drama television to check that none of the breeds mentioned appear?
If you do, you are way over estimating the importance of this whole subject to the BBC. Let's all just grow up and get our house in order shall we. Constantly trying to hit back at them by pointing out stupid stuff like this, makes us look ridiculous. Like, the lady doth protest too much! For the love of dog, stop drawing more attention to this subject. 
The BBC's credibility isn't undermined with anyone except a bunch of people who show dogs. 
If everything is so hunkydory in the dog world, what are we all so worried about? 

D Bates

I found it shocking when they spoke of putting the dog out, to stud and mention selling the puppies on for a 100 quid each (which im sure they cost more than that) any how I think the bbc are hypocrites in every sense firstly condolling pedigree dogs and calling them all mutants on there joke of a program pedigree exposed. And then going on to produce a story line with a pedigree dog who has been to crufts, the story line was portrayed as a way of  advertising and  the selling of puppies as a quick way to make mone , did they consider how much dedication and hard work goes into the arrival of any litter bred by reputable breeders. What they did was emphasise puppy farming maybe the bbc have got real breeders mixed up with pf is this were they've gone wrong ...I dont think they considered the impact it could cauce on any breed if the general public think of dog breedings a way to make money.

E Borthwick

It will be very interesting to see just how much money Bradley makes with his show dog. You only win £100 for supreme crufts champion and minimal amounts at open shows, so just how is he planning to make money? Perhaps the BBC are planning to use this show dog at stud and show how 'responsible' breeders make money!

Ann Wardle