Woof! (CITV, 1989-1997)
This is a show that I didn’t watch a huge amount at the time, but because it was shown during just about the whole timeframe that I watched CITV when I was younger, and I’m sure that lots of other people will be familiar with this one, I might as well review it. Woof! was based on a series of books and it wasn’t a sitcom as such, it could be classed as more of a comedy-drama, and it originally centred around a boy called Eric.
Now Eric has something of an unusual problem. When he begins to scratch he magically turns into a dog who likes to bark a lot! Now that’s rather awkward, and it can happen at any time. None of his classmates including Roy and Rachel or schoolteachers can believe it really, and I’m fairly sure that his parents aren’t aware of this, so they often wonder where Eric has gone and why there is suddenly a dog in the house.
This did well enough to run for many series, but Eric was starting to get older and left the show, viewers wanted more though, so they continued by introducing another boy in the sixth series called Rex who also turns into a dog, you wouldn’t think that it would happen to so many people, but this meant that the show could carry on in the same style. And then he left to be replaced by yet another boy called Jim for the final series. There were three boys who had this condition? How strange.
There were 69 episodes of Woof! in nine series, and there was rather a lot of cast turnover, the only character who featured from start to finish was Mrs Jessop, one of the teachers, who was played by Liza Goddard (of Give Us A Clue fame). There were also plenty of guest stars, including Stephen Fry appearing in an episode as a cartoonist whose work is constantly interrupted by Rex’s antics.
It seems that a few episodes of Woof! were released on VHS, but none are available on DVD in this country, which seems to be a missed opportunity. The show was also featured as part of the successful Old Skool Weekend on the CITV Channel. I must admit that I always preferred the sitcoms on CITV like Mike And Angelo to Woof!, but then if I had to choose between this and the other children’s dog-related series The Littlest Hobo that was around at the time, I would always pick this one to watch.