Pooch Perfect brings us socially-distanced Crufts in all but name… yes, you can tell we’re in an age where a lot less TV is being made these days.
Sheridan Smith leads the way on a set where hardly anyone taking part doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of tattoos, and the programme is focusing on ‘hairy hounds’… and that’s just the owners (I’m here all week, tip your waitress).
Over the course of eight episodes (yes, strap yourself in!), 16 of the nation’s best dog groomers will each face two challenges when their episode comes up: a breed makeover (episode one’s four contestants have to trim a shih-tzu – make your own jokes about the pronunciation) and a dogwalk challenge. Each week, one owner will be declared Best In Show and goes through to the Quarter Final.
There’s exciting features like a hydraulic bath for easy access to clean the dogs, clippers, scissors and specialist dog-friendly dryers, a man called Bolu, the vet, who looks after the dogs on the show, and plus an animal welfare team on-set.
The fun never starts as the entire hour (feels like about ten) is filled by watching the contestants with each of their families, and their dogs back home, making it feel like they’re trying to copy X-Factor with its back-stories, while Sheridan Smith acts like Gregg Wallace on Masterchef when she shouts to everyone how much time is left… and from what I gather, each episode has two 2.5hr dog grooming sessions. You’ll feel like you’re with them every single minute…
There are judges… well, spare bods on set who just make occasional comments about the state of each contestant’s grooming, and it’s hilarious just how seriously they take this.
Meanwhile, of the four in episode one, blonde contestant Kara is pleased that she has worked her way up in life to now own a high-street dog grooming salon… but at the time this episode is going out, the salon will be closed, and who knows when it will re-open?
About the only person NOT involved in this is former Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom, who could’ve brought Goldie with him… maybe.
Naturally, I’ll give no spoilers prior to broadcast, but that’s assuming I can even remember who won anyway.
Next week: Those contestants will get to trim a pack of Alaskan malamutes. Excitement she wrote!
On the plus side, I’ve since learned 2020 also had to suffer with an Australian version of this, and it was hosted by… Rebel Wilson, so we’ve avoided her. There’s a blessing.
Pooch Perfect is incredibly cheap TV, in all senses of the phrase. It really is the most tedious reality show of 2021… so far. Given how much this is complete junk, it’ll probably run for ten years.
Overall: Can I give a negative figure?
Pooch Perfect starts on BBC1 on Thursday January 7th at 8pm, and runs for eight weeks. It’s unlikely to be released on Blu-ray or DVD. However, after each episode, you can then watch it on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Tony Grech-Smith
Producer: Susanne Rock
Writers: Steve Edge, Damon Pattison, Nikki Pinkus, Sonya Wilkes
Host: Sheridan Smith
Judges: Colin Taylor, Verity Hardcastle
Vet: Bolu Eso
Animal welfare consultant: Jody Gordon
Dog grooming consultant: Stuart Simons
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.