Pets: Simon Callow – he talks to the animals! (Well, dogs)
Velvet-voiced actor Simon Callow landed an unusual, if extremely seasonal, gig this week.
The Shakespearian player isn't treading the boards or appearing on the big screen, though, Instead, he has an important part to play on Bonfire night – that of the man who could keep dogs calm up and down the country. Dog-owner Callow has recorded an audiobook designed to counter the terrifying effects of a night (or series of nights) of fireworks on our four-legged friends. The story, Teddy and Stanley's Tall Tale, was the idea of More Than pet insurance, which approached dog behaviourist Karen Wild to consult on what sort of story would prove soothing to pooches. The idea is that people with dogs download the free audiobook and play it over the next few days to get their pets used to it and in a relaxed state, so that when the Roman candles and bangers come out on Monday evening, a quick session with Simon will sort them out.
Barking idea? Actually, I thought it was very relaxing. Callow was told which words to emphasise, and there are plenty of reiterations of dog-friendly words such as "GOOD dog", "SPECIAL dog", "FRIEND", "GARDEN" and "TEDDY BEAR". But then I'm prejudiced in favour of Mr C as his dulcet tones help me to relax at bedtime, as I listen most evenings to London: The Biography (by Peter Ackroyd – amazing for history geeks), which he narrates. And while I don't actually have a dog (if I did, it would be a miniature dachshund called, appropriately enough, Banger), I may just watch the Teddy and Stanley's Tall Tale YouTube video (below) a few more times. For the cute doggy audience, and Callow's canine-calming cadences. goo.gl/5YwXG
Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 4 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Costa Book Awards 2015: H is for Hawk named book of the year
New Ghostbusters movie lands all-female cast with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures