Over the past decade, we’ve seen celebrities singing for their suppers, chowing down on eyeballs for prizes, and even roughing it in the wild, all in the name of reality TV.
Now, eight celebrities will be upping sticks for ITV’s new sheepdog competition Flockstars, where they will hone their herding skills and compete in a series of tasks to be crowned the programme’s rural champion.
Gabby Logan hosts Flockstars (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
Hosted by Gabby Logan and shown over eight weeks, each celebrity has to win the trust and respect of the sheepdog they are partnered with, in order to complete the all-important time trials in the best time.
Here are the stars trading the red carpet for muddy fields and Wellington boots.
1. Lesley Joseph
Lesley Joseph and Gyp (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
The Birds Of A Feather star, better known for playing the animal-print-loving Dorien Green, has teamed up with Gyp, a four-year-old tricolour collie, who will do anything for a doggie treat.
“I think people assume I’m not at home in a pair of wellies because they get me muddled up with Dorien (her character in Birds Of A Feather) but I’m not like that at all!” she said.
2. Brendan Cole
Brendan Cole and Hoggy (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
More used to the Cha Cha Cha than the Baa Baa, professional ballroom dancer and Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole is partnered with two-year-old Hoggy, so named because she was born on Hogmanay.
“This is definitely easier than training someone to dance!” he said. “Hoggy’s a similar age to my daughter so I’ve currently got two two-and-a-half-year-olds in my life who are both quite demanding. Hoggy’s young and very happy. She’s beautiful, probably the prettiest dog here, which is nice. Working with a supermodel dog is a bonus.”
3. Amanda Lamb
Amanda Lamb and Midge (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
Property presenter Amanda Lamb has joined forces with three-year-old dog Midge.
“My experience of farming was literally zero, but it’s totally and utterly consumed me. I’ve loved every second,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to be any good at it to be honest, because there’s a lot of co-ordination and quick thinking needed, neither of which are things I excel at. But I stuck with it and I genuinely love it. When I’m not on the farm, I find myself thinking about the farm and the dogs and the sheep.”
4. Lee Pearson
Lee Pearson and Skye (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
The medal-winning Paralympic athlete, who has represented Team GB in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, will have to prove his ‘shear’ determination as he works with two-year-old canine Skye.
He reckons his crutches give him an advantage, saying: “I think the crutches actually helped: the sheep were thinking, ‘Yeah mate, we’ll follow you. You’ve got four legs so you might be a sheep.’ I went over the obstacles myself and they followed me, followed by the dog. It was like some sort of mad conga. It was a bit unorthodox, but there were no rules against it.”
5. Wendi Peters
Wendi Peters and Bill (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
As Coronation Street’s feisty matriarch Cilla Battersby-Brown, Wendi Peters shared many scenes with Great Dane Schmeichel, but how will she fare with nine-year-old sheepdog Bill?
“I’ve no connection to farm life myself at all. Which is partly why I thought this would be interesting. I’m perfectly at home in a pair of wellies. I was happy to get stuck in and learn all about it,” she said.
6. Richard Rawson
Richard Rawson and Jack (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
As N-Dubz’s Fazer, Richard Rawson has enjoyed eight Top 40 hits alongside bandmates Tulisa and Dappy Contostavlos. But will he find success with three-year-old tricolour collie Jack?
“Trying to shear a sheep was random for me. It’s not easy,” he said. “They are big, they’re muscly and they absolutely stink. I think that was the most surreal moment I’ve ever had in my life, holding that sheep and shearing it.”
7. Kelle Bryan
Kelle Bryan and Max (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
Kelle Bryan sold over 10 million records and had 15 Top 20 hits with R&B girl group Eternal, including the chart-topper Stay. But can she get her two-year-old dog Max to follow her commands?
“It was tough at first. I have a massive fear of sheep! I’ve never been keen on them,” she admitted. “I had to get in a pen with the sheep on the first day to get me over the fear. It was horrible. It was a big step for me. To be honest, I trot around in heels most of the time, so fields and wellies are really not my thing.”
8. Tony Blackburn
Tony Blackburn and Bess (Harry Page/Liberty Bell/ITV)
Radio DJ Tony Blackburn has joined forces with strong-willed six-year-old canine Bess, but will the duo be the ‘pick of the pops’ of the sheepdog trialling world?
“When I first saw Bess, I offered her a biscuit but she refused it. And the next day she was running around me, trying to tie me up with the lead. It took a couple of days for us to bond,” he said.
Flockstars begins on ITV at 8.30pm tonight (July 30).