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- Welsh actress
Dermot O’Leary has branded his new television programme about pets “like the Top Gear for animals”.
The presenter will host ITV programme The Pet Show alongside Gavin And Stacey actress Joanna Page.
O’Leary said the weekly show, which will air on Sunday evenings, is “a love letter to our nation’s favourite friends”.
“I suppose the best way to describe it would be that it’s like the Top Gear for animals,” he added.
The programme will showcase pets who have displayed acts of heroism, animals with talents and celebrity pets.
It will also offer insights, anecdotes and advice from animal experts.
O’Leary said there were “thankfully” not any “major incidents” involving animals during filming.
“There was an awful lot of disobedient dogs on the agility course, there were some very stubborn mules,” he said.
“Lots of creepy crawlies. Lots of people freaking out in the breaks and things.
“Add all those together and it was pretty full on.”
He described Page as “the most fun” person to work with.
“It’s not actually dissimilar to working with Alison [Hammond]. There are a lot of similarities. They’re both really cup half full.
“They’re both absolute howls off camera as well, so you can have a real laugh with Jo.
“We would sit around and laugh and tell stories and share experiences. So, she’s lovely and really good fun.”
When asked why the UK is a nation of pet lovers, Page said: “I don’t know. There’s just something about us Brits.
“We just love our animals. We just love them so much, they are part of our families.
“There’s just something about us that we don’t see them as animals, it’s just part of our DNA.”
She added that pets can enhance a child’s upbringing.
“It gives them a sense of responsibility because they actually have to look after someone other than themselves,” she said.
“It’s lovely now because (daughter) Eva’s eight years old and she is so interested in the dogs and wants to give them so much love and cuddles.
“She sits with them curled up on the sofa. But she’s also really interested in feeding them, putting their food down, preening them, giving them treats.
“Teaching them to do stay and heal, she does lead training with them.
“It’s just a responsibility – they have got to keep them alive, nurtured, cared for and looked after – aside from themselves.”