The Week In Weird TV: Super Dogs And John Barrowman

John Barrowman presenting a daytime TV talent show for dogs. What else was television invented for?
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John Barrowman presenting a daytime TV talent show for dogs. What else was television invented for?

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Imagine the least offensive TV programme you can? Imagine a programme so light that a gentle fart from Kate Middleton would send it spiralling through the air. Now imagine that it’s presented by someone that looks suspiciously like Tom Cruise and you’re pretty much there. I’m talking about Dog Superstar: Countdown to Crufts, presented by none other than John Barrowman.

Now, I know it’s been said a few times before (including by me, above) but I really don’t think enough fuss is made over how much John Barrowman looks like Tom Cruise. It’s weird. It’s not weird in the way that loads of people loved Avatar is weird, it’s weird in the way that the vast majority of the universe is made up of something we can’t see or measure. It’s physics weird. But no one really seems to be that bothered. I feel like I’m living in some kind of Rosemary’s Baby type scenario where everyone but me is in on a big, slightly sexy, secret and before long I’ll go mad and end up pushing a bag of monkey nuts around in a pram.

Just look at them. They’re identical. Surely this impossible coincidence/abomination of nature should me more remarked on? Someone phone David Icke. Hell, someone phone the Pope.

Back to the dogs. This daytime programme on channel 4 is The X Factor for people with colostomy bags. It’s a talent show for dogs that’s slightly less interesting than toner. But there are lots of big flashing lights and some green felt. So, that’s something.

It’s not really meant for me though. It’s meant for students who can’t remember last night and pensioners who can remember Dunkirk. A programme designed to be an accompaniment to a cup of tea and a garibaldi biscuit. Each episode consists of three dogs competing in three ‘challenges.’ And by ‘challenges’ I mean the equivalent of opening a packet of cereal without tearing the top.

The first challenge on the last episode was a simple game of fetch, spiced up with a little bit of water. The dog’s owners each threw a tennis ball no more than 5 yards into a pool of shallow water and the dogs had to bring it back as fast as possible. Edge of the grave stuff.

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The next epic task was to see how many inflatable balls the dogs could gently roll into a massive goal. Considering the balls in question were as light as air and the size of prized pumpkins, it proved surprisingly difficult. Most of the dogs just sat around vacantly staring into the middle distance, while their owners manically flapped around like Arsene Wenger on MDMA.

Finally, the last and most difficult challenge of all: the spectacular ‘Dogstacle course.’ Yes, ‘Dogstacle.’ If there was ever a name that made you want to pour hot wax into your own ear canal then ‘Dogstacle’ is it. A name invented by someone who despises everyone.

This fearsome final challenge consisted of a couple of 12 inch jumps and some tilted balsa wood. The eventual winners were Wendy and her dog called Zebedee. They will now go on to the final for a chance to go to Crufts. Not compete, just go there. I’ve never been to Crufts myself but I imagine if you like dogs and stale air it would be an absolute riot.

You may be surprised to learn that I plan on entering the show myself. I hope to get close enough to Barrowman to take a swab of his DNA. I will then have it tested at a respected medical centre, with the hope of proving that he is some sort of alien doppelganger, hell bent on making mediocre daytime TV. Pass the monkey nuts.