Earlier this Summer we were invited by a ITV company to bring one of our Newfoundlands to appear in a programme which required a large dog, with sound temperament, who would work with strangers and be totally relaxed with people, crew and dogs. We chose our brown dog, Monty, who was then just over a year old and extremely friendly towards other dogs and people.
Although Monty’s father, Berkeley, has appeared in several TV shows this was Monty’s first appearance.
The venue was a large park in Essex and the theme of the programme, Celebrity Showmance, was a light-hearted competition involving three pairs of celebrities who would compete in order to win the most votes as a couple faking a ‘genuine’ romance.
The couple Monty was assigned to were the former Spurs footballer, Jamie O’Hara, and Lady Victoria Hervey, socialite, royal, model, and daughter of the Marquess of Bristol.
The idea was to have contrasting personalities with equally contrasting dogs: Lady Victoria with her small Norfolk terrier, D’Artagnan, and Jamie O’Hara with Monty (Montmorency), a giant Newfoundland. A reviewer described the programme as ‘an integration of unscripted programmes with the fake news zeitgeist’.
We began the day with Monty bonding with Jamie O’Hara, walking on the lead, recalling and playing catch with a ball that had been used by Monty’s dad, Berkeley, when he appeared on TV with John Barrowman in Superstar Dogs.
Everything went perfectly. The filming started with the two celebrities approaching each other with their dogs. For dramatic effect Monty was supposed to drag Jamie O’Hara along, attached to the lead. But Monty had other ideas. He insisted on walking perfectly to heel alongside his new handler, displaying excellent manners. So we had to fudge it. Out came the ball which was thrown ahead of Monty thereby encouraging him to run and pull Jamie. As for greeting the small dog, Monty once again revealed good manners and respect.
It seems that social media is today’s final arbiter of talent, where Monty’s fans expressed their appreciation in comments in various Face Book sites. I understand that the show is now being run on US television.
Here is a video of Monty moving to music. Enjoy!