First came Lassie and Toto, then Beethoven and more recently Marley. But ladies and gentlemen, roll out the red carpet and dish up the doggie bowl. There’s a new canine movie star in town and his name is… Pudsey.
The 2012 winner of Britain’s Got Talent is now starring in his own feature film.
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie is his latest step on the way to world superstardom. Since his TV success, Pudsey has met everyone from the Queen to Kanye West and earned more than £1million with his trainer and best friend Ashleigh Butler, 19.
“He’s definitely become a bit of a diva,” Ashleigh told the Mirror. “He’s got a taste for the finer things in life. He’s on a raw meat diet which he loves, he has his hair cut every five weeks, he takes regular supplements and he never gets fazed meeting celebrities. He’s like, ‘Yeah, whatever’.”
As well as meeting all those celebs, Pudsey has also published his, er, autobiodography and flown to LA on Simon Cowell’s private jet. Was he impressed by the A-list experience?
“He slept for most of it,” says Ashleigh.
But Pudsey’s gone back to his roots for the film, playing a cheeky stray (voiced by David Walliams) who befriends three children and uncovers a plot by a nasty property developer to destroy their village.
Manager Jonathan Shalit says this is the must-see film of the year. “Pudsey is without doubt the most famous dog in history and the film is fantastic, 90 minutes of pure delight,” he says.
“Pudsey is huge. I mean, have you ever seen a film called Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt? No, because they’re only good enough to play other people. Whereas Pudsey is so special he plays himself.”
But this rise to fame has come at a price. The team is now highly security conscious in case Pudsey gets dog-napped.
“Touch wood there haven’t been any threats but security is definitely something we take seriously,” says Ashleigh.
It wasn’t always like this for Pudsey, who is a mix of border collie, Bichon Frisé and Chinese Crested Powderpuff.
Bred by Ashleigh’s mum Penny, he was one in a litter of six, but his excitable nature meant he and Ashleigh became buddies at home in Wellingborough, Northants.
She recalls: “I didn’t know he was actually mine until my birthday and there was an instant connection. He was always the one who played the most. He was also the greediest – the first one to the food bowl.
“Now he gets the best food – chicken carcasses, liver and a lot of fish. He eats better than I do! He loves it. His coat’s been in better condition since and he’s leaner.”
Perfect for all the red carpet appearances he’s going to have to make.
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie is in cinemas Monday, July 14 in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Friday, July 18 everywhere else.