Shep (British dog)

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Shep
SpeciesCanis lupus familiaris
BreedBorder Collie
SexMale
Born1 May 1971
Died17 January 1987

Shep (1 May 1971 – 17 January 1987) was a famous Blue Peter dog, a border collie. Shep was bought by the BBC to replace Patch, one of Petra's puppies, born in 1965. He became the main Blue Peter dog when Petra died in 1977.

Shep is remembered by British TV viewers as inseparable from Blue Peter presenter John Noakes. Shep was excitable, and Noakes would often have to restrain him. Noakes' common refrain, "Get down, Shep!", became a catchphrase, and The Barron Knights released a song with that title. Shep left Blue Peter when Noakes departed in June 1978.

Shep also appeared with Noakes in six series of Go With Noakes, from 1976 to 1980. Noakes left Blue Peter on 26 June 1978.[1] and the BBC offered to let him keep Shep, as the dog had lived with him since his TV debut.[2] Despite Shep living with Noakes, the dog was always legally owned by the BBC and in rules that also applied to himself whilst under contract to the BBC, he could not use Shep for advertising or commercial purposes.[3] Noakes was paid a stipend to cover all Shep's costs from the Blue Peter budget (as was Peter Purves for 'Petra' and later Simon Groom for 'Goldie') and as part of the agreement to keep Shep after leaving the show, Noakes agreed to continuing the no-advertising condition.[4]

However, shortly after leaving the show, Noakes was furious to discover that what he called his "dog money" ceased to be paid and he confronted Biddy Baxter in a phone call. Baxter was adamant that since Shep had left Blue Peter, the programme should no longer be responsible for any of Shep's costs, although she did sympathise with some of his argument and felt that the BBC should pay Noakes for Shep to appear in Go With Noakes or for 'personal appearances' the dog made. Regardless, she later wrote that Noakes was too angry to discuss the matter and the two rarely spoke again.[5] Soon after this angry confrontation, Noakes relinquished Shep, who went to live with Edith Menzies.

Noakes subsequently appeared in a series of television advertisements for Spillers "Choice Cuts" dog food, using a dog that was indistinguishable from Shep but named Skip.[6] The clear subterfuge led to a deeper rift between him and Baxter.[7] Noakes called her a "stupid woman" in a televised 2008 documentary celebrating the show's 50th anniversary.[8][9] Shep died in 1987, and Noakes often became emotional when asked about him; he openly wept on an edition of The Weakest Link when hostess Anne Robinson asked him about the dog.[10]

Preceded by
Petra
Shep Blue Peter Dog
1977–1978
Succeeded by
Goldie

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC programme catalogue entry for Blue Peter, transmission date 26.6.78". Retrieved 30 January 2007.[dead link]
  2. ^ "'Get down Shep!' – Blue Peter's action man John Noakes dies aged 83 after battle with Alzheimer's". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Obituary – John Noakes, popular presenter of Blue Peter in the 1960s and 70s". The Herald. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. ^ Baxter, Biddy. Blue Peter: The Inside Story. Interpet Ringpull BBC Books 1989. ISBN 978-0948955501
  5. ^ Baxter, Biddy. Blue Peter: The Inside Story. Interpet Ringpull BBC Books 1989. ISBN 978-0948955501
  6. ^ IL004 002 Spillers Choice Cuts Dog Food John Noakes Blue Peter on YouTube
  7. ^ Baxter, Biddy (1989), Blue Peter The Inside Story, Interpet Ringpull BBC Books; ISBN 978-0-948955-50-1
  8. ^ "Blue Peter at 50". Genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Blue peter appeals". YouTube. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  10. ^ Showbiz - News - Anne Robinson makes 'Blue Peter' star cry - Digital Spy

External links[edit]

  • Shep from the Blue Peter website