Star-struck beasts put out to pasture

Kate Watson-Smyth on the Tamworth Two's bid to remain in the spotlight

WHEN Andy Warhol said everyone would have their 15 minutes of fame he was referring to humans. But it is not just people who make the news - our four-legged friends are often thrust into the media spotlight, only to vanish without trace days later.

The Tamworth Two wereflavour of the month when they escaped from an abattoir and the hunt for them dominated the headlines for a week. But what becomes of the pigs - and the ponies and pooches - once the flashbulbs stop popping?

The phenomenon began more than 30 years ago, with Pickles the mongrel, who found the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy under a hedge after it had been stolen in 1966. He was awarded a year's supply of food and went on to become a film star, appearing with June Whitfield in The Spy With A Cold Nose.

Others, of course, are simply never heard of again. Whatever became of the hamster that Freddie Starr was accused of eating? The story was hotly denied and the fate of young Supersonic has been lost in the mists of time.

But the Tamworth Two are unlikely to disappear. The most famous pigs in the world are recovering from their ordeal while their agent, Mark Borkowski, plans their future. He is convinced they will be major stars. "They are very big personalities and we have had so many offers for them," he said.

When they escaped, in January, the press was in hot pursuit. At the end of a tense week, they were tracked down and sent to an animal sanctuary to live, many thought, in contented obscurity for the rest of their days.

But their public awaits and shortly they will begin a hectic round of commitments. There are sponsorship deals, book-signings and Mr Borkowski is even planning a permanent site on the Internet.

But the pigs are not the only animals for whom fame can bring home the bacon. Maksat, a pure-bred Akhal-Teke stallion given to John Major by the President of Turkmenistan as a 50th birthday present, is being schooled in endurance riding at his new home in Wales.

He is on permanent lease to Lorna Winn, who competes at international levels in riding. "He is showing an amazing aptitude for endurance riding and he has an exceptional temperament. He could go far," she said.

Then there is Justin, a five-month-old Merens pony, presented to Tony Blair by the people of Arieges, in south-west France, when he holidayed there shortly after the election.

There was much debate about Justin's future. Was he too young to be separated from his mother? Would it be undiplomatic of the Blairs to leave their present behind? Should he be brought to live at Chequers? A spokesman for No 10 said yesterday that he was still living in Arieges and his future was a private matter for the Blair family.

Blackie the Donkey is perhaps the most heart-rending of the high-profile animals. The victim of abuse in Spain, he was rescued by the Daily Star, which paid pounds 280 to bring him to the UK in 1987. He died - of old age - in 1993 at a Donkey Sanctuary in Devon.

But it is Humphrey, the Downing Street Cat, whose star shone brightest. He arrived in the corridors of power as a stray in 1989 and became a familiar sight, until his abrupt retirement last year, amid rumours that Cherie Blair had little time for him. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said yesterday that he was alive and happy in his new home. "He has put on weight and is feeling much better," she said.

But some of the most popular stars simply disappear from the public eye for ever, sparking Elvis-style sightings across the globe. Picture a palm-fringed beach somewhere in South America: a stallion trots across the sand and riding on the back of the Derby-winning Shergar (for surely it is he) is the raven-haired figure of Lord Lucan.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas