Peter Purves on clocking up 40 years at Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show

Peter Purves is thrilled to be marking his 40th anniversary as a presenter at Crufts as the annual dog show returns at the NEC in Birmingham.

Here, Peter Purves tells TV Times what makes Crufts so special…

TV Times This is your 40th year at Crufts, how does that feel?

Peter Purves: “It’s extraordinary. It doesn’t feel like 40 years at all, We always used to have the Best in Show in the studio when I did Blue Peter and I also had the first surrogate pet of the nation, Petra, who was my dog. So after I left Blue Peter, they knew I had an interest in dogs and asked me to introduce the agility competition at Crufts. I still look forward to it every year because I just love dogs and get great enjoyment from them.”

TVT What makes Crufts such a special show?

PP: “Although there are lots of massive dog shows, nothing touches Crufts. It’s the biggest dog show in the world and the first. There is such great showmanship and it moves with the times. The fact that there are 22,000 dogs entering the competition for Best in Show and within four days they whittle it down and produce one winner is brilliant. But I am only about 50/50 at guessing the winner!”

TVT What will you be doing at Crufts this year?

PP: “This year I will be commentating again on some of the group rounds. I really enjoy it and there are breeds this year I’ll be very interested to see because I know very little about them. This year is also the 40th year of Crufts doing agility as well and I love watching that, it’s great entertainment and I like watching the heelwork to music too, it’s fantastic.”

TVT What are your favourite memories of Crufts?

PP: “There was a Jack Russell, Olly, last year who was just hysterical doing the agility. Also, there was a wonderful time when a dog was doing really well in an agility competition and it stopped for a poo half way round. I was commentating and I said, ‘A dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do’!”

TVT Do you have dogs yourself?

PP: “Yes we have seven. We have just adopted my mother-in-law’s blind and deaf 12-year old cocker spaniel and we’ve got three standard wire dachshunds and a miniature wire dachshund and two Pekingese so it’s quite a collection. The Pekinese are really cute little dogs but they think they are giants. We used to keep Newfoundlands too and the Pekingese used the Newfies as pillows!”

TVT This year is also a huge year for Blue Peter, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in October. Will you be part of the celebrations?

PP: “Hopefully we will all get together to celebrate. It recently clocked up 5000 episodes too and I did 850 of them. I feel privileged to have taken part in such an iconic show. So many people say it has a special place in their heart and it is very nice when people remember me being in it. I sadly lost my great friend and co-presenter Johnny Noakes just under a year ago but I’m still in contact with Valerie Singleton on a fairly regular basis. It was a wonderful time.”

Crufts airs from next Wednesday (7th March) to Sunday on More 4 and C4

Main Pic: PA Wire/PA Images