Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Shear bliss for one Guy and his canine

Guy Martin, Barry Davies and sheep.

No, I haven’t made it up and as far as I can remember no powerful hallucinogenics have entered my system in the last few days, it really did happen as More 4 played host to the World Sheepdog Trials.

Or as presenter Ellie Harrison (the one who isn’t John Craven on Countryfile) told us — 240 dogs and handlers from 23 countries were battling it out for the gold shepherd’s whistle.

Guy, better known to us in this part of the world as that loony with the big sideburns who rides motorbikes very quickly, was riding pillion as roving reporter, while king of the microphone Barry was running his non-expert eye over things.

Apparently the producers had wanted John Motson but he turned up at rehearsals in a sheepskin coat and all hell broke loose.

Tragically, Sky reporter Pete Colley was also overlooked for the gig, but you knew it was going to be good as the German team walked through Penrith with a brass band playing ‘Who Do You Think You’re Kidding, Mr Hitler?’

Even Guy was speechless, although not for long, and there’s no truth that the German team hailed from Nuremburg.

There was four days of this sort of thing, basically One Man and his Dog with attitude, and all from a studio in a barn with hay bales for seats and surrounded by a tractor, sheep and muck.

Guy was getting a little confused, probably having to fight off the attentions of amorous sheep keen to meet the side of his face, saying that some dogs had to be slowed down because ‘there’ll be human rights onto this, and we don’t want that business, do we?’ No Guy, we don’t, or animal rights either.

“The dog can now chill out, go drink a cup of tea and put his slippers on,” he added as we began to witness the real effect of petrol fumes on road-racers.

Still, there was a happy ending, the gold whistle ending up in Ireland as James McGee from Ballybofey was crowned champion.

No doubt, there will be a feature on, wait for it, Ewe TV this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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