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Ronnie’s Animal Crackers

Fri Sep 20, 7.30-8pm, BBC1

Episode one
Taking as read that ‘we Brits’ are all ‘barking mad’ for our ‘pedigree pals’, Ronnie Corbett takes us on an a generally insight-free tour into some of the odder reaches of pet-related marginalia for a gently subversive half-hour that allows its human subjects enough rope to make themselves look actually and properly ‘crackers’.

Is, for instance, a dog-sculpting show in which the uncomprehending contestants are styled into anything from a Salvador Dali painting to a dimensionally baffling Elmo/Big Bird ‘Sesame Street’ hybrid merely harmless village hall fun? Or the vile, gaudy expressions of their owners’ minds being buckled and warped by the meaningless provincial tedium of their everyday lives? Are they kooky creations or cries for help?

The jaunty music might hint at the former, but the tone of Ronnie’s voiceover suggests he’s not entirely won over by the extremes to which these pooches are put. Elsewhere, there’s a listless visit to a pony show, Ronnie and Mrs Ronnie buy a new mutt and – oh brother – a section on doga. Y’know – yoga, for dogs!