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Pet Nation

Pet Nation with Liza Tarbuck, Joe Pasquale, Gillian Higgins and Freddie Fox

Liza Gills and FreddieOn Sunday 28th February the entire Horses Inside Out team set off for Television House, Wood Lane, London to take part in the new Prime Time TV programme Pet Nation. After first stretching his legs in the Blue Peter garden, Freddie was introduced to the glamorous world of Studio 8 and the dress rehearsal!

on the sofaThe first hurdle was making his way down a metre wide corridor lined with very chunky electric cables on one side and a battery of foot high footlights on the other all finished off with a thin wafting nylon curtain surrounding the set and more cables criss crossing the floor, thoughtfully arranged to give Freddie the opportunity to practise his raised polework!. The next challenge was keeping his footing on the highly unsuitable, very shiny gloss painted floor of the studio. At his point we realised we had a problem! After much debate between the enormous number of producers, floor managers, sound recordists editors, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, it was decided to postpone the rehearsal and we should start painting whilst the crew found rubber matting.

Outside StudioThat’s what we did – in the prop cupboard! At this point Freddie decided two things. One, he would like to go to the loo – but couldn’t under the circumstances and two, he couldn’t bear to be anywhere near his fellow stars , a pair of large, extremely vociferous parrots from Longleat! Both problems remained unsolved for the entire 9 hours we were there! After being treated to the delights of snacks from the BBC canteen [you may have heard about the canteen from Terry Wogan] and Freddie still crossing his legs we were anxious to meet Liza to discuss what Gillian was going to say and more importantly for Freddie to see the set. There would be a large studio audience for Freddie to contend with, outsize moving cameras, fluffy sound mikes, lights lights and more lights, a warm up comedian whipping the audience into a frenzy and 2 large very noisy parrots. Two shows were actually being filmed back to back and the whole thing was running late.

Time out in Blue Peter GardenGillian and David were whisked off to ‘make up’ – a very strange and new experience for anyone who knows David! Time marched on and still Freddie was in the props cupboard! Then ….Gillian was suddenly called to ‘sit on the sofa’ and be interviewed by Liza and David was left to negotiate the passage -  now adorned with black rubber, with Freddie – having had no rehearsal at all. What a pro! After a slight hesitation and looking rather alarmed at the wafting curtain and, with the encouragement of a carrot, he made his way slightly erratically it has to be said, down the passage. He burst forth onto the set. Once there came to an abrupt halt This was a good thing as he was required to stand proudly displaying his skeleton from the inside Out on a strategically placed piece of ‘specially procured green grass like carpet next to a fine specimen of a rugby player clad in only in swimming trunks with his skeleton also painted on from the inside out. Liza and Joe made their way towards Freddie who played his part like the true professional he is. He smiled at the camera – ears forward most of the time - and demonstrated his flexibility brilliantly – and so did the Rugby player! All went well! The audience oo’d and ah’d.  Liza was surprised at the position of the neck bones and Joe kept his distance! He might have been brave in the jungle but he certainly was not sure about Freddie! All in all it was a wonderful experience and certainly for the human members of the team a really enjoyable one and a real insight into the crazy world of television production. Watch out for Pet Nation. It‘s a ‘prime time’ family show on Friday Evenings in the Spring. We can’t wait to see.

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