Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beyond The Hub Superstar Dogs

Superstar Dogs
Hosted by John Barrowman

Executive Producers Tuesday’s Child
Karen Smith & Will Spokes
Reviewed by DJ Forrest

John Barrowman is back on our screens with a brand new game show, this time involving our four legged friends.  The show aired on Channel 4 on 17th February at the teatime slot of 5:30pm.  It certainly had my Australian Kelpie glued to the screen.

There are 30 dogs competing with their owners in the 10 heats.

In each episode there are 3 dogs and their owners completing 3 courses in the fastest time which are added to the leader board.  For each game where a mistake is made, such as eating any of the treats in Temptation Alley, or knocking jumps over or taking the hedges instead of the fences a penalty of15 seconds is incurred on their time. 

There are four courses for the contestants:

Swim and Fetch – Where the owner throws the toy, often a ball with attachments (for smaller mouthed dogs) into the pool and the dog has to leap into the pool and retrieve it in the fastest time.
Penalty Shoot Out – Where a series of various sized balls are set out around the goal where the owner stands (and cannot move from) and who shouts instructions for the dog to nose the ball into the net.  They have two minutes in which to get as many balls in as possible.
Sprint Ball – The dogs are put to the test in this game by racing each other across hurdles to retrieve three balls or toys
The Dogstacle Course – The giant obstacle course with a series of jumps, bridges, tunnels and temptations. 

The dogs and owners with the fastest time incurring few penalties will make it to the semi finals.  The 12 contestants who make it through to the semi finals are the winners of each heat plus the two overall fastest losers. 
The winners of each semi finals (four dogs and their owners), will go through to the grand final, where the winner will be crowned Superstar Dog.  The crowning event will be held at Crufts.

Dave Ray is the Kennel Club expert and judge for the show.  When a dog or owner incurs a penalty he raises his hands at that particular moment of the game in order for the penalties to be added to the time. 

It’s an energetic programme full of bounding, barking, excited dogs, and equally excited owners, who show levels of good sportsmanship when losing out to a faster opponent, knowing that taking part is just as much fun as the crowning glory. 

Our Host, dog lover John Barrowman seems at home with this kind of show, a dog owner himself with ‘Captain Jack’ his Jack Russell Terrier and ‘Harris’ his Cocker Spaniel, he knows that training dogs is not an easy task.  John is a long time supporter of The Dogs Trust and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and he with the support of his fans helps to raise money for their continued work. 

The programme is sponsored by Be Lungworm Aware, a campaign from Bayer Animal Health aimed at warning owners about the dangers and potentially fatal lungworm parasite that is spread by common slugs and snails.  For more information and to spread the word about the campaign join them on Facebook  or by following them on

Research and photo source:

Enormous thanks to Victoria at Plank PR &

Carole Gordon (Team_Barrowman) 

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