Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Pudsey takes red carpet by storm

Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey attend the premiere of Pudsey The Dog: The Movie
Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey attend the premiere of Pudsey The Dog: The Movie

Britain's Got Talent winner Pudsey the dog took a 'bow wow' on the red carpet at the premiere of his big screen debut.

The dancing dog - who won the nation's hearts when he and owner Ashleigh Butler won the ITV talent show in 2012 - arrived in London's Leicester Square with the 19-year-old and Britain's Got Talent judge David Walliams. He voices the pooch in Pudsey The Dog: The Movie.

The film sees Pudsey taking the lead in a battle to save his village from dog-hating landowner Mr Thorne, played by John Sessions.

David, 42, said: "When we audition people for Britain's Got Talent we see hundreds and hundreds of people, so your expectations are quite low.

"And then as they did their Flintstones routine we thought 'wow!' This is really, really memorable, the public are going to love it because it's going to appeal to everyone of all ages. And they just got better and better and better and now here's Pudsey with his very own film premiere!"

Despite playing the voice of Pudsey, David revealed the dog never remembers him, unless he hides a treat in his pocket.

Talking about finding Pudsey's personality, he said: "I used to do his voice round my house as a bit of a joke, but I didn't know how the script would turn out.

"And when I realised he's like a kid in this family, that was really the key to it, thinking he's like a kid who's never grown up."

Walliams, who has a dog of his own, admitted he prefers dogs to cats.

He said: "I think dogs make better pets. I had cats growing up and dogs are more pleased to see you and cats do this thing where you stroke them for a while and they're having a perfectly nice time and they suddenly go (growls). And dogs don't do that, so definitely I'm a dog person."

Ashleigh performed with Pudsey on the red carpet, and revealed her pet pooch had known something special was happening as they got ready for the premiere together.

She said: "Pudsey was very, very excited this morning. When he did both his routines he was showing off a little bit. When he saw the crowds he was like 'This is my day!'

"I've always said he loves crowds and people cheering and today proved that."

And she insisted she does not mind that it is not Ashleigh and Pudsey: The Movie.

Ashleigh said: "I think it was always going to be just Pudsey. I spoke to Nick (Moore) the director before the final script was done and we both agreed it would be better for me to be behind the camera, making sure Pudsey performed to the best of his ability.

"The most difficult part of filming was just getting him to act. You can't teach a dog to act, teach it to run off with another family and look like he's in love, and some of the looks he gives are just perfect."

Directed by Horrid Henry: The Movie's Nick Moore and written by Paul Rose, the film also stars Jessica Hynes, Olivia Colman, Peter Serafinowicz and Amanda Holden.

Jessica, who plays Pudsey's adopted mother in the film, attended the premiere with her partner and three children. She revealed they had taught their own dog some tricks, inspired by Pudsey.

The W1A star said: "She can jump through a hoop, if you bribe her with cheese. Yeah, she likes cheese."

And John revealed his villainous character was supposed to have a cat in the film, but her scenes were cut down after she attacked him on set.

The actor said: "We had a problem with the cat. She was a Siamese called Amber. She was good on the first day before filming and then she started jumping on my head and scratching me.

"You can see her on the poster, she's damn lucky to be on the poster considering she got sacked on the first day."

Luke Neal, Izzy Meikle-Smith and Luke Tittensor play Molly, George and Tommy, the family who adopt Pudsey.

Pudsey The Dog: The Movie opens in cinemas on Friday July 18.

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