Simon Gregson on his love of dogs as ITV screens Britain's Favourite Dogs: Top 100 tonight at 7.30pm

You may know that Corrie star Simon Gregson is a dad of three young boys, but what you might not know is that he also has two little ladies, who are just as close to his heart.

Their names are Lucy and Cookie, and though they can be a bit loud and smelly sometimes, the family home just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Lucy is a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, while four-year-old Cookie is believed to be a Jack Russell Corgi mix.

This week, Simon Gregson and Cookie feature in ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Dogs: Top 100, a one-off special hosted by Ben Fogle and Sara Cox that reveals the nation’s favourite dog breeds, and features a host of famous faces sharing their ‘tails’ of living with man’s best friend.

They’re not the first dogs Simon has owned. Still occupying a huge place in his heart is his late mutt, Scamp.

“I was about 27 when I rescued him,” recalls Simon, 43, in an exclusive interview with TV Times. “He looked like a Staffy / Border Collie cross and he was very intelligent and loving, but hated other dogs after being badly attacked.

“We went everywhere together – work, nightclubs, pubs, parties and, once or twice, even the bath! He sadly died of cancer a few years ago and I’ll never forget him.”

Like Scamp, Cookie has gone to work with Simon. In fact, she has even made it onto the show, playing his character Steve McDonald’s pet, Rover.

“Cookie is not like any Jack Russell you’ll ever meet,” says Simon. “She’s very soft and gentle, and lets the kids do anything to her.

“She’s my shadow around the house, to the point that I’ve nearly broken my neck several times, tripping over her.

“Lucy, on the other hand, is true to form for a Yorkie. She’s loud, yappy and very protective. She also has smelly breath, and sleeps all day – unless a horse, person, bird, plane, car or fly comes within a hundred yards of the house, in which case she wants to kill!”

There are currently 217 recognised breeds of dog, plus thousands of combinations of cross breeds. The show will countdown the most popular, until finally revealing which breed is sitting pretty at the top.

But of course, when it comes to dogs, none is more special than our own.

“Lucy and Cookie give unconditional love,” says Simon. “Sleeping on the settee with them under each arm is a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon…and Monday to Saturday as well!”

Simon Gregson and Cookie feature in ITV show, Britain’s Favourite Dogs: Top 100 tonight at 7.30pm