Sykes (dog)

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Sykes Dog Actor.JPG
Sykes, appearing at Discover Dogs in 2010
Nation fromUnited Kingdom
OccupationDog actor
Years active2004-15
OwnerGill Raddings

Sykes is a dog actor from Clifton, Oxfordshire, England. He is best known in the UK for his appearance as Harvey in Thinkbox's television commercial and, under his real name, in Midsomer Murders (Series fourteen to eighteen, inclusive). He has also appeared in several Hollywood blockbusters. Originally found as a stray in 2004, his owner is animal trainer and stunt dog specialist Gill Raddings. Since January 2016 Sykes has been in semi-retirement with him no longer being displayed as available for hire on Gill Raddings' agency website; however, if a producer from a previous role of his needs Sykes they are able to use him.


Sykes was found roaming as a stray in 2004, at an estimated age of seven months.[1] He was rehomed with Gill Raddings, a stunt dog specialist in Clifton, Oxfordshire,[2] after some friends of hers found the dog while out walking dogs of their own. The police were going to place him in kennels, so Raddings took in the stray.[1] Raddings runs a company called Action Stunt Dogs and Animals, and other dogs living at her home with Sykes include Kyte, the Belgian Shepherd who portrayed Wellard in EastEnders. Although a cross-breed, his owner believes that there may be some Parson Russell Terrier stock in him due to his long legs.[1]


They say you should never work with animals or children but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s rubbish because Sykes – as I’ve come to know him – was the consummate professional. It was a joy to work with him.

Peter Kay[3]

Following his appearance in Thinkbox's award winning advert "Every Home Needs a Harvey", he has become better known to the public as his character in the advert, "Harvey".[2][4] In the advert he gets up to several different antics in order to impress prospective adoptors in an animal shelter including ironing, cooking and driving children to school.[1] By the end of 2010, the advert had been viewed on YouTube more than a million times, and had over 11,600 followers on Facebook.[2] The advert was named "Advert of the Year" by ITV for 2010.[5]

In September 2010, the John Smith's Brewery advert "Dog Show" began to broadcast, starring Peter Kay and co-starring Sykes as the Jack Russell Terrier "Tonto".[2][3]

Films that Sykes has appeared in include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Other Boleyn Girl, Young Victoria, The Dutchess, Alexander, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Wolfman and Clash of Titans.[1]

Sykes' first TV series was a brief disobedient role in Return to Cranford (2009). He was then cast in Midsomer Murders after attracting the attention of series producer, Brian True-May, and appeared in the show regularly from March 2011[6] until 2016.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mouland, Bill (17 January 2010). "A dog with the bow wow factor: We collar Harvey - the star of TV's funniest commercial". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Sloan, Liam (1 February 2011). "How Sykes the Oxfordshire terrier became a TV star". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Peter's 'Kay-nine' capers are best in John Smith's show". John Smith's Brewery. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  4. ^ Sweeney, Mike (9 September 2010). "Dog has its day in Thinkbox campaign for power of TV advertising". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Ad of the Year 2010: the countdown". Thinkbox. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  6. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (13 March 2011). "Sykes the Jack Russell to become the first four-legged member of Midsomer Murders cast". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  7. ^ Burton, Matt (22 September 2016). "DCI Barnaby is getting a new companion in Midsomer Murders as Sykes the dog retires". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 April 2019.

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