T.V. Stars!

Erinsjoy Papillons ~ T.V. Stars for a day!

A message came through on Papnet saying that Channel 5 were looking for four red & white Papillons to appear on their reality show ‘Make Me A Supermodel' on Friday 27 th October. Normally I wouldn't be available on a Friday but as it was during half-term I would be. We didn't think we would have much chance of being chosen but thought we would put our names forward just for fun. The next morning Erin phoned the contact to say that we had a couple of red & whites they could use. She said all the other offers they had were from quite a distance and did we possibly have four dogs. Erin said yes we did have four red & whites but the other two haven't shown for quite a few years – no problem they said, bring them all! There were numerous phone calls and e-mails back and forth. What were their names and ages? They didn't understand the difference between ‘registered names' and ‘call names'. Were they registered with the council and / or licensed? They had to check with our local council if the dogs would be allowed to do it. They then contact Southwick council who had to see copies of the dogs registration papers and arranged to visit the dogs on the day to make sure they were happy and that the facilities were appropriate for them. Finally all the permissions were received and we were given the go ahead that it would be happening.


Tower Bridge
view from our window!
Waiting Room

The day before the show it was a marathon session of bathing and grooming the dogs. On the Friday we gave the dogs a hearty breakfast so they would have time to digest it before travelling. We were to arrive between 3:30 and 4:00 so we left home at 1:00 p.m. just to make sure we had plenty of time as I have never driven in London before. The show was being filmed at St Olave's School next to Tower Bridge in London .

We were met in the car park by a young man who had been sent to help us carry the cages, etc… We had taken a trolley but hadn't been told that we were up two flights of stairs so wouldn't be able to use it – nice young man was better looking than the trolley anyway :-) We were taken to what used to be a science room. We had the use of two adjoining rooms which were very basic. We had to be locked in at all times for the dogs' safety, which meant that they could run freely in the rooms. At 4:30 two men from Southwark council arrived for the inspection - talk about your ‘jobs worth's'! They had a good look around the rooms and asked a few questions, one was ‘will they chew through flex's' as they had noticed one running through the room. To be honest the flex was huge and they would have trouble getting there mouth's around it! Did he honestly think we would sit there and watch our dogs electrocute themselves!!! After inspecting the catwalk they finally gave the okay – but would have to be in the audience for the live show to make sure everything was okay!

Playing before the show
Resting before the show

After taking the dogs out for a walk we all settled down in the room to wait! We weren't need for the rehearsal until about 6:30 so after the dogs had a good run around the room, they settled in the cages for a rest. We had a runner who was assigned to stay with us in case we needed anything. They had got some special Pucci collars and leads for them to wear – there were two small pink ones which were the right size but the other two beige ones were huge! Fortunately the dogs didn't mind them, but it was awkward trying to carry the dogs and manage these huge unflexible leads! Unfortunately they didn't allow us to keep the accessories. When it was time for the rehearsal we had to go to another building. There wasn't a lot of space and there was a lot of action going on. The producer had asked if we could get the dogs to misbehave and yap. I said that Papillons are not a yappy breed and no they probably wouldn't bark. Everyone fell in love with the dogs and they were thriving on all the attention! We had been told that we would have an opportunity to brief the models on how best to handle the dogs. Unfortunately that didn't happen! The first one just took the lead and walked off to the catwalk. He didn't even take time to say hello to the dog. It was all a bit hectic and not how I would like to have seen it happen. Because it is reality T.V. they were trying to throw different situations at the models without them having time to prepare for it. Anya started with 8 year old Taz (Sanjuper Dare Devil at Erinsjoy) who was a bit overawed by it all to start with. She did the sensible thing and picked him up and carried him. Kerrie had 4 year old Harvey (Erinsjoy Harvey Wallbanger), Waz had 10 year old Brandy (Ringlands Kiss Me Kate at Erinsjoy) and James had 6 year old Pandora (Serenglade Serendipity at Erinsjoy). After the rehearsal was over, Anya and Kerrie came over and spent time with the dogs getting to know them. Anya asked if she could have a different dog and fell in love with Brandy. Brandy thinks there is nothing better in life than to be in someone's arms, so it was ideal for her. Kerrie wanted to take Harvey , but unfortunately, later we had to change her to Taz. Waz and James were nowhere to be seen and showed no interest in the dogs whatsoever. They were real diva's – totally self-centred! We were a little concerned about their behaviour and voiced these to the producer.

Anya & Brandy,
Kerrie & Harvey
Erin, Brandy, Taz,
Harvey & Pandora

Back to the room and the dogs had another run around and back for another rest. About 9:10 we were called to get the dogs groomed and take them over for filming. Anya asked for Brandy and we had no worries. Kerrie asked for Harvey but we then realised that she wanted to carry him and being an entire male you have to be very careful carrying him! We thought it better that he walk and because Taz had been a little unsure earlier, felt he would be better to be carried. We felt that Harvey and Pandora are the two most confident and that they would be best able to deal with the two guys who really weren't the slightest bit interested in the dogs. James was given Harvey, and if he had only listened to me I did try and explain to him that if he would talk to the dog and tell him what he wanted that he would do it. I think Harvey realised that he was more intelligent than the handler and so just sauntered along with his tail down! He wasn't unhappy, just wasn't going to make an effort for him! I was very concerned about Waz's behaviour and told him that if he didn't look after the dog, he wouldn't be allowed to have one. At the end of the day, my dogs' safety and happiness is far more important than these silly models! We decided to give him the most confident one which is Pandora and she shone for him! In a way I don't think he deserved it, but she showed her little socks off! People may worry that Taz looked terrified, but that is how he always looks! He actually had a wonderful time. All four dogs thoroughly enjoyed all the attention they got. I do think that a few of our Junior Handlers (and ex) could teach these models a thing or two about how to walk down a catwalk with poise and elegance.

Fearne Cotton, James & Waz
The judges

Erin and I really enjoyed the experience. We were looked after well and at the end of the day we felt that the dogs had had a great day and were all very happy. Don't all Papillons love a change of scenery and to be made a fuss of?


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updated December 12, 2010
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