Paws for thought...it’s Pooch Perfect’s finale

Thursday: Pooch Perfect; (BBC1, 8pm)

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:00 pm
Finalists Georgia, Lakhi and Kelly D with Sheridan Smith and Stanley

Let’s be honest, when it was first announced that the BBC was bringing us a prime-time dog-grooming competition, some viewers were more than a little sceptical.

However, as we reach grand final, Pooch Perfect has won plenty of people over and given them a new respect for a profession than many non-dog owners – or people whose mutt’s grooming routine might involve a brush and the occasional bath – knew little about.

Sheridan Smith, who hosts the show with a little help from her four-legged sidekick Stanley, was definitely impressed.

She says: “The professional dog groomers take this really seriously, it’s their livelihoods at stake, they’ve trained their whole lives to do this and I had no idea how much skill goes into it.

“They really love dogs and you see how compassionate they are with them on the show.

“They are doing a job they love, and they are brilliant at it! They really are the best in the country, a lot of them know each other from the circuit, it’s a tough old game.”

While it’s been a gruelling process for the contestants, it’s also been a new challenge for multi-award-winning actress Sheridan.

While she’s taken on real-life roles in dramas including Mrs Biggs and Cilla, she’s less used to appearing as herself.

Sheridan explains: “This is my first prime-time hosting gig, I can’t believe I got asked to be honest!

“But I am a huge dog lover and the time just seemed right, I had just had my son, Billy, so it was an absolute honour to be asked.”

It turns out she’s something of a natural.

She says: “Being the host I got to know each contestant really well – I am a people person and I just love getting to know people.

“I became really attached and I wanted them all to win!

“I hated even just announcing who was going home each week, so I was thankful it wasn’t my job to judge them.”

So, no doubt she’ll be grateful that judges Verity Hardcastle and Colin Taylor will be deciding the winner tonight as three finalists battle it out to take home the Stanley Trophy.

To be in with a chance of getting their paws on the prize, they will have to execute one of the toughest challenges in the industry – a continental clip on an elegant standard poodle.

They then have to guess a breed of dog while blindfolded, before one last dogwalk parade.

Luckily, Sheridan is there to break the tension, perhaps by musing on what sort of dog she’d be.

The actress reveals: “Verity said I would be a Labrador as I am always happy, friendly, and always looking for a biscuit!

“Colin said I would be a Chihuahua as you can pick me up under your arm and I am a little feisty.

“But I would have gone for a Yorkshire Terrier because of my Yorkshire roots, they are a little bit scruffy and a little bit raggedy and I like that, that’s me!”

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