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Channel hop

Mark Peters

 

If I had a dollar for every time I have switched channels in the past few months and found the do-gooding Doctor Who flitting through time and space in his dimensionally transcendental phone box, then I'd have, err … quite a few dollars more than I do. Recently, there has been no escaping the immortal Time Lord, and while the merest glimpse of him now makes me want to shove his sonic screwdriver where the sun don't shine, this coming week is sure to make any devoted Whovian as happy as a pig in poop.

Beginning this evening with daily double bills from series seven (with Matt Smith as the Doc), along with its Christmas special on Tuesday (all on BBC Entertainment, 7:30pm), the shows are in honour of the Doctor's upcoming 50th anniversary.

To celebrate this momentous milestone there will also be a one-off documentary, Doctor Who Explained (Saturday, 9pm), and a worldwide simulcast of The Day of the Doctor, (next Sunday at 7:30pm), a special feature-length episode set in Elizabethan England that will include three doctors and has been described as "a love letter to the fans".

David Tennant returns, and alongside Smith and - in only his second turn as an incarnation of the Doctor - John Hurt, battles against the show's classic baddies, the Zygons and the Daleks.

Of course, Smith is soon to hand over the keys to the Tardis to Peter Capaldi, who I am sure will do a fantastic job, but just in case you were in any doubt, Tom Baker, with his ridiculously long scarf, thick-treacle voice and fondness for jelly babies, was - and always will be - the greatest ever Doctor Who.

In my past life as a professional dog trainer, I learned first hand over many years that the adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is simply not true. From eager-to-please pups to stubborn ol' mongrels, I have yet to meet a dog that does not like being rewarded for learning a new skill. In Animal Planet's new canine series SuperFetch (Wednesday, 9pm), pet trainer and YouTube sensation Zak George (above) takes things to the extreme as he shows dog owners how to teach their tail-wagging companions to do some unbelievably nifty tricks.

Unusually for dog shows on television these days, these are not troubled pets and they don't need to be "fixed". George - who along with his border collie, Venus, won five extreme trick trophies in their first year of competing - uses animals' energy and love of play as motivation for them to learn stuff, all the while enriching the bond between dog and human. Super-enthusiastic, he coaches dogs to mow the lawn, pull a pint and even ride a tandem bike.

It would be nice if he could teach my daft mutt Boosh to take a break from licking his bits and write this column for me next week. Failing that, changing the channel every time that pesky, body-swapping Time Lord's face pops up on TV would really make him man's best friend.

 

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