The NTAAs – National Television Animal Awards

Hello people inside Karl’s computer … it’s Ziggy and Poppy here. This is a pet takeover! We’ve noticed an injustice so we’re here to right some wrongs!

A couple of days ago the Underhill’s were watching something on that big black screen in their front room that they’re periodically transfixed by. We don’t always join in with their viewing because we’ve often got better things to do (sleeping, eating, grooming, playing…) however, on this occasion, something on the device that they call a ‘TV’ made our ears prick up. The people on the TV were awarding other people on the TV for being on the TV, in something they were calling the NTAs. Seemed a bit strange at first, but that’s humans for you. Anyway, once we’d realised what was going on and we got the gist, we started to pay attention. We’ve often seen animals on the TV and we’ve all got our favourites, so we were waiting for the time when their awards would be presented … we were wondering, as we always do, whether it would be a cat or dog that would come out on top? We’re not sure what they’d have done with a statue, but maybe the TV people would make a more animal appropriate prize? Anyway, we watched, waited, and watched, and waited … but nothing happened! The show drew to a close, the Underhill’s turned off the magic screen, and off they trotted to bed!

Well, we’ve been quietly raging ever since! How come humans always get all the credit! We’ve definitely seen animals on the TV in shows that the Underhill’s watch and, in our opinion, many of them do a FAR better job than their human counterparts. Which is why we’ve commandeered Karl’s computer to try to restore some justice. We’ve come up with our own awards – we’re calling them the NTAAs (National Television Animal Awards) – to recognise some of the fantastic animal actors and presenters that entertain us regularly on the Underhills’ TV box machine. We can only assume that humans don’t understand the depth of their talent … or, more likely, they’re threatened by it!

So, we’ve created some special CATegories (Poppy says we’re not to read too much into that, because she’s convinced the dogs will come out on top, but we’ll see…) and we’re going to award those brilliantly talented and entertaining TV animals that the humans seem intent to forget.

Best Film Animal Actor – Bob the Cat

This one, sadly, is a posthumous award for a cat who passed away in 2020, but ‘Bob’ from the film ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ really deserves this award in what is a highly competitive category! Mainly, Bob has earned this award because he played himself in this depiction of the true story of his life and the man he saved, James. Bob met James in 2007 when he was homeless and living on the streets, addicted to drugs. Bob helped the talented musician to turn his life around and the film tells their incredible story. Despite film-makers casting several different cats to play Bob, the ginger tom did the vast majority himself … who needs acting school, eh!

Best Multi-animal Show – Blue Planet

This one’s well known, but once again it’s the humans that usually take credit … yes, Sir David Attenborough is a legend and we’re not disputing what he’s done within his incredible career for the environment and the animal kingdom but, come on, who’s the real star of his show?! Without the animals he’d just be wandering around the world! We don’t think they get the credit they deserve because, as we all know, they let him and his crew film them doing, well, everything!! We know animals aren’t particularly known for their modesty but if the whole world is watching their every move from catching prey to eating, sleeping and breeding then they surely deserve some thanks. Obviously, we can’t get an award to each and every animal star of this incredible and informative

show (and sadly we watched more than one experience a sticky demise) but they should certainly be credited for the hours of entertainment that they’ve provided to millions of viewers all over the world.

Documentary – Inside the Mind of a Cat

Now, this recent Netflix documentary is a bit disconcerting if we’re honest, but it certainly earns an award. We’re not sure why the cats in question let the humans have such an ‘access-all-areas’ insight into cats’ lives – let’s face it, what we actually get up to day-to-day is something we’ve managed to keep under wraps for years – but, the proverbial cat is well and truly out of the bag now! We can only imagine they must’ve been bribed with some pretty spectacular treats.

Factual Entertainment – For the Love of Dogs

This is one that the humans did actually get right – the late Paul O’Grady was a huge dog lover and this show was a corker but, while we all loved Paul, we’re not sure that he and the team were the real deserving winners at the NTAs. Obviously, it goes without saying, that the show wouldn’t have existed without the true stars – the dogs! So, where were their awards?!? Hmm, yet another example of humans taking all the credit for animals’ hard work! Well, as we said, we’re here to right those wrongs so, our award goes to all the dogs featured over the years in this series.

Best Serial Drama Performance – Cerberus, Coronation Street

While EastEnders was the big soap winner in the human equivalent to our awards, we’re giving this one to a canine Coronation Street actor. Cerberus, played by 9-year-old greyhound, Boss, suffered a tragic on-screen death recently due to kidney failure after eating a discarded Eccles cake. While this incredibly sad storyline brought a tear to all of our eyes, we were very impressed with the way Boss played his role so convincingly and we felt it was such an important storyline to highlight. Humans don’t always realise how dangerous some of their foods can be for their pets, so showing the devastating effects that eating sultanas or currants can have for a dog is vital.

Special Recognition – Blue Peter pets

Our very special award goes to all of the Blue Peter pets who, collectively over the years, have taught generations of children how to love, respect and care for animals. The show’s current pets, Shelley the tortoise and Henry the Beagle, are the latest in a long line of pets on the show, all of whom have been superstars and taken to their on-screen roles brilliantly (albeit with the occasional bit of mischief, but they’re just keeping things fun for the kids!). The first ever Blue Peter pets were a dog called Petra in 1962 and a cat called Jason in 1964, and the tradition of having animals on the show has continued ever since. An extra special mention goes to Meg the dog, who was owned by presenter Matt Baker. Meg left Blue Peter with Matt in 2006 but then went on to appear in other TV shows including Crufts and Countryfile, and even had a barking part on Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’. What a star!

So, there we have it. We could go on … there are plenty of talented animals who’ve entertained us on TV over the years and most of them deserve an award but unfortunately Karl’s going to be back soon and he really doesn’t like us using his computer so we’re going to have to stop there before we get carried away. We’re hoping that some famous TV executive reads Karl’s blogs and will pick up on our idea for next year. With any luck, we’ll be watching our newly invented NTAAs on TV and animals will finally get some of the credit. Ooh maybe, as the brains behind the awards, we’ll even get invited to the ceremony! We might even take Karl as our plus-one…