For two years running I, Josef, have been pursued by the puparazzi at Crufts for photo shoots with famous people. Last year it was Ulrika Jonnson and this year, well let me tell you about it.
The Press Office is a great place to take a break from sniffing out stories around the various Crufts halls. The coffee is good, and there’s always human food on hand if your assistant’s energy starts flagging. This is the place to which many celebrities come for interviews with the press pack and where official show photographs are taken.
On Sunday, there we were, having a drink, when I was approached by a member of the puparazzi. Flaunting his many cameras he asked Mum, “I wonder if we might be allowed to use your dog for a celebrity photoshoot?” Of course, I consented and waited for the arrival of the said celeb. Shortly afterwards, a lovely lady arrived and I immediately recognised her as Jaye Griffiths, who has appeared in TV series such as The Bill and Spooks and is shortly to join Casualty as Consultant Elle Gardner. “Yay” I declared, “Another female this year!”
I was an immediate hit with Jaye, and I must say I liked her a lot, so was thrilled that she picked me up for a long and very cosy cuddle. Wow, I am a lucky man!
Walking behind Jaye was a very tall and elegant gentleman and there was no mistaking who he was….. yes, the Chief Executive Officer of Holby City Hospital, Mr Henrik Hanssen! Whoops, I mean Mr. Guy Henry who plays the good doctor in the series. At first I was terrified that he might look at me in ‘that way’ but no, he was smiling and full of fun. We clicked immediately as you can see, and in true Josef style I inspected his pockets to search for treats. Sadly there were none.
It is rare for a dog, even me, to be in the presence of such important people, and as you can imagine we discussed the NHS at some length. At times the conversation was intense.
Before long before I realised that if I wasn’t careful, I might have to go home with Jaye. I mean, look at her ecstatic expression as our hugs continued.
Suddenly the puparazzi were hurrying us on for the official photographs, and my friend and Editor Frodo Cavalier asked if he might have his photo taken and be included in the offical photos. Of course, he was most welcome and to the sound of hundreds of camera click click clicks, we assumed our best poses to do our new friends justice.
Both of us really enjoyed meeting these lovely people and I think maybe Guy knew that this was Frodo’s Crufts swan song, as he is retiring from big event appearances.
We also conducted an interview with Guy, for whom this was his first ever Crufts visit. We learned that he is a dog lover, and is interested in everything canine related. Currently owning two lurchers, he has previously had a red setter, German Shepherds and a cocker spaniel named Cockie! Sight hounds seem to be a favourite with Holby actors, because Jaye is proud owner of an ex-racing greyhound named Gracie.
Jaye and Guy also mentioned their interest in Heathlands Animal Sanctuary in Hertfordshire which rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes unwanted domestic pets.
Sadly, and all toosoon, Guy and Jaye were whisked away to meet the general public and we had to say “Goodbye” but not before I informed Guy that in future, my mother will only attend Holby City for her medical needs, so I can be sure she receives star treatment!
Josef Teckel, News Editor, The Barking Bugle.