Big Dog Britain
The Hotel Inspector
Certain women go gooey for him. He is handsome, in a strange way, though he bumbles around like a giant dishmop on a Spacehopper. Generally, whatever he wants, he gets.
Naturally, his name is Boris. He’s a Chien de Berger des Pyrenees or Pyrenean Shepherd dog. ‘He’s blond and nutty and good-looking,’ sighs his owner, Susan.
Boris hogs the bed, which you’d expect, and he also likes to eat standing up at the dining table, which somehow does not come as a surprise either.
In fact, he needs to be fed by hand. Providing he’s permitted all the luxuries of life, he’s happy to do whatever the lady of the house tells him.
I’m not convinced that Boris, one of the stars of Big Dog Britain (C4), really exists. He might have been invented as a political satire by Fluck and Law, the creators of Spitting Image.
Certain women go gooey for him. He is handsome, in a strange way, though he bumbles around like a giant dishmop on a Spacehopper. Generally, whatever he wants, he gets
If so, it’s a joke that can run endlessly on: for instance, though he’s soppily charming, you might not want him actually in your house. You certainly wouldn’t trust him with a roast chicken, or any other bird.
Someone else always has to clean up his messes. And so on.
This whole hour was an unremitting advert on behalf of the Dog Party. We met a couple with ten Irish wolfhounds, and another pair with five St Bernards (and a sixth on the way).
The only voice of dissent came from Wade, a young lad whose mum and dad kept half a dozen Newfoundlands at their cottage in Northumberland.
Wade was a cat person. But in a family where a Newfoundland dog was Best Woman at his parents’ wedding, Wade’s chances of a tabby kitten for his birthday were nil.
Film-maker Richard Macer asked the boy what he disliked about sharing his home with a pack of bear-sized mutts. Wade looked around. From the ceiling hung a lump of moulted hair, dripping with slobber. Words failed him.
He might become a convert. This gently probing documentary discovered a pattern in most of the dog-mad households — at least one of the adults grew up with a pet that looked like the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Carlos, from Brazil, had Great Danes as a child. Now he runs a motorbike repair shop in South London, where one of his two current Danes, called Diego, likes to ride in a sidecar. Ears flapping in the wind, Diego even wears biker’s goggles.
Come on, Boris, make Diego your Transport Secretary.
With her poodle ringlets, Alex Polizzi looks as if she’d sleep curled up on the end of a bed piled with eiderdowns. She wasn’t happy to be roughing it in a backpacker’s hostel in Bude, Cornwall, as The Hotel Inspector (C5). The owners weren’t happy either. Enthusiastic world travellers, Sean and Janine made the mistake of setting up their own budget B&B to enjoy that adventurous vibe all year round.
They ended up with all the worst bits — the cramped kitchen, the smelly dorms, the total absence of privacy — and none of the fun.
‘I just don’t want any part of it,’ moaned Janine, 50, who foresaw divorce if they couldn’t sell the place.
Alex helped the couple to spruce the joint up, attracting more guests (at £15 a night) as well as a buyer for the business.
But it was a downbeat and glum episode, as most of the current series has been.
With the UK travel industry veering from shutdown to overload, the show’s concept is suddenly out of date.
Next time, I’d much rather see Alex showcase a few surprising and enticing hideaways for holidays in Britain.
Royal tour of the week: Susan Calman was trundling along the prom at Southend in Essex, greeting her subjects from an open-top bus, on her Grand Week By The Sea (C5).
‘If you ever see me, just wave,’ she hooted. ‘It brings me such great joy.’ Hiya, Susan . . . hello!