Throughout his 25 year career as an actor, comedian and intellectual game show stalwart, ‘Jonathan Creek’ star Alan Davies has been asked to do the voice-over for many factual and reality shows. He’s turned most of them down but not ‘The Dog Rescuers’ - the documentary series about the wonderful work done by RSPCA officers who save animals from cruel homes.
‘’Programmes like this are so worthwhile,’ he says. ‘They highlight the excellent work of RSPCA officers and vets too. As The Dog Rescuers proves, they do amazing things, sterling work. There are nine million dogs in our homes but sadly they don’t always get the treatment they deserve.’
Although not a dog owner himself – Alan reckons he and his wife Katie have their hands full with three children under seven - he is clearly very fond of man’s best friend.
‘Like a lot of people, I’ve got a soft spot for dogs,’ he explains. ‘In this show, we see the best and the worst of that relationship between humans and dogs. The RSPCA get more than a million calls a year. There are 100,000 strays and thousands of dogs get abandoned. The dogs aren’t the problem here – it’s the people who own them.’
Although The Dog Rescuers doesn’t shy away from the grim reality of this issue, fortunately there are many happy endings.
‘It’s nice television,’ Alan goes on. ‘Yes, there are sad stories and some shocking examples of cruelty towards dogs that we cover but we try and emphasise the work of RSPCA officers and vets in trying to help these animals, even those left badly injured and neglected. In many cases they are re-homed and given happy new lives.’
In this series we meet a Shih Tzu called Missy whose fur was so matted, the RSPCA officer couldn’t even tell she was a dog. She was in such a bad way, she couldn’t see in front of her and ran around in circles as she had limited visibility. Also featured is a German Shepherd called Reo whose untreated ear infection became so bad it seemed euthanasia was the only option until the RSPCA stepped in; an abandoned Lurcher who was so emaciated she was mistaken for a pile of rags; two lifeless and practically furless French Bulldog puppies who were found in a cardboard box; and a Collie cross called Timmy who was discovered living in squalor with an orange-sized tumour on his face. All were successfully treated and happily re-housed. In fact The Dog Rescuers gives the public the chance to give a rescue dog a home.
‘At the end of the show, viewers are given the opportunity to put themselves forward if they would be keen to rehome any dogs, so hopefully that will have a positive outcome, too,’ says Alan (51). ‘ I’d like to think that, having watched the programme, some of the viewers might be encouraged to take on a dog themselves. I know I wanted to.’
We suspect we will, too!
- By Alison James
Everything you need to know about Alan Davies
- He has played the title role in the BBC mystery drama series Jonathan Creek since 1997 alongside Caroline Quentin and Julia Sawalha.
- Alan married writer Katie Maskell on 13 January 2007 after a six-month engagement. The couple first met backstage at QI in 2005, and they now have three children: 6 year old Robert (aka Bobby), 7 year old Susie, and 1 year old Francis.
- Alan has been a permanent panelist on QI since 2003, with Stephen Fry.