Star Pets (CBBC, 1992-1993)
I know does it does seem to be rather embarrassing that the award-winning Peter Simon was one of my favourite hosts on CBBC, especially on Double Dare and Run The Risk, but he was, so when he hosted this show, I had to watch this one too. Star Pets was the quest to find the most talented animals in Britain. I suppose that this was like Opportunity Knocks for animals.
Peter also delighted us by performing the opening theme song, which as far as I know, wasn’t released as a single, and I suppose we should be grateful. In every edition, a few animals from across the country were featured. This meant that we were able to meet such delights as the cycling dog, the racing ferrets, and the piano playing guinea pig.
Peter would meet all of these pets and their owners, and he was always in awe of their skills. There was also The Pet Profile, where we were given some terrific facts about the animals that were featured. Everybody who took part would receive a special rosette. Back in the studio, Peter would introduce an animal-themed “home video howler”, probably left over from Caught In The Act.
After we had seen the three pets in action, the studio audience then had to deal with what was a humongous decision, as they could vote for their favourite. But the viewers we able to make their decision too, and were encouraged to dial a number. And this was definitely worth it, as this could be the most important 10p that they would ever spend.
The winner would be announced later in the day, and the highest-scoring animals would go into the grand final, which was shown live. And in the finest tradition, Peter would get out his nicest bowtie for this special occasion. I do remember that he got rather overexcited when he announced the winner, but unfortunately I don’t remember who it was or what they won, maybe a lifetime’s supply of dog biscuits.
Now as far as I remember, when Star Pets returned a year later for a second and final series, the studio and competitive elements were dropped, and this became simply a show were Peter travelled around and met various people and their talented pets. I was a little disappointed, as I preferred the format of the first series, but he was soon back to the more familiar chaos of his other game shows.