TV Cream

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One Man and his Dog

CANINE AND company for the wind-hewn, welly-bound well-to-do. While bunking off from Television Centre one day, BBC producer Philip Gilbert decided to spend a day attending a pissing-it-down agricultural show in Northumberland. Inspired, it seems, by the sight of an authentic sheepdog trial, he became gripped with the desire to put the whole thing on telly, despite the rituals of the handlers and their faithful Border Collies boasting less dynamism than a still-life painting. So ONE MAN AND HIS DOG was born, with presenting duties handled by bluff, hang-the-bastards countryman PHIL DRABBLE and learned boffin ERIC HALSALL. Buried in the traditionally healthy slot of early Sunday evenings the show flourished and ran for ages. The team mutated through a line-up that included RAY OLLERENSHAW, 12-year Chairman of the International Sheep Dog Society, and GUS DEMODY. Drabble relinquished his role after a marathon 18 years, giving way to latterday anti-licence fee campaigner ROBIN PAGE. It was MARK THOMPSON, in one of his last acts as BBC2 Controller, who called time on the whole ridiculous roustabout, prompting the inevitable hysterical outrage and the ever-reliable wheeze of questions being asked in parliament. For a time it was rumoured Sky One was ostensibly considering launching its own version, titled, inevitably, “Sky One Man and His Dog”. Dermody fumed: “I have had complaints from farmers who have said they could not watch it on a Saturday afternoon because they are working,” perhaps somewhat overlooking the ubiquity of the everyday video recorder. Nonetheless, one-off specials still turn up unexpectedly, like a pile of horse shit in a spotless field.



  1. johnnyboy

    February 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    It was amazingly watchable Sunday pm stuff; though I’m sure it moved to 8.30pm on Beeb 2 on a Tuesday at one point. One ended up mentally totting up the score for each doggy, whilst listening to Phil’s bucolic meanderings as the farmer shouted “Come by!!” or er.. other household phrases now lost to time. Highlight was always when one of the collies took a mad turn and went for one of the sheep; the sheep always lost that battle.

  2. B B Beyer

    February 7, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Inspired the classic Victor Lewis-Smith line: “I entered my dog on One Man and his Dog once – got two years and no remission for that.”

  3. Sonny Jim

    October 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Not for the first time, but I have to say TVCream editor/critique, is talking absolute bollocks here!

    Nothing wrong with OMAHD – harmless fun. What the hell is wrong with that?

    Better than some of the wall2wall 24/7 shite currently belching all over our terrestrial TV channels ad infinitum.

  4. Barbersmith

    November 26, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Absolutely spot on Jim.

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