Tim Walker: Humiliation of the green welly brigade

Tales From The Water Cooler: The video realises one of the worst fears of the bourgeois middle-class

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Jesus Christ! Fenton the runaway Labrador has attracted more than 1.5m views on YouTube. If you haven't seen it yet, the viral video in question – entitled "Jesus Christ in Richmond Park" – is of a man chasing his dog across said park, yelling its name ("Fenton!") and the aforementioned profanity ("Jesus Christ!"). Fenton, meanwhile, is chasing a vast herd of panicked deer.

The comic timing is perfect: an idyllic scene of a stag at rest is interrupted by a distant, indistinguishable shout. The camera pans gently to the right, and the frame is unexpectedly filled with a herd of stampeding deer. The man's cries grow louder, but only after the deer and the pursuant dog have receded into the distance does he finally wobble through the shot, helpless to restrain his wayward pet.

There's another level to the hilarity, however: this incident realises one of the worst fears of the bourgeois middle-class. Short of death, or possibly Ken Livingstone, nothing strikes terror deeper into the average Richmond-dweller's heart than the thought of their dog doing something mortifying.

Not only is the man taking Fenton for a walk in one of the Royal Parks, but Fenton is a black Labrador, and his owner is wearing what looks like a Barbour jacket.

After what or whom might Fenton be named? A spot of Googling led me to Fenton Tower, a 16th century house in rural Scotland, fitted out for wealthy self-catering guests as a base for golfing, shooting and fishing trips.

Did Fenton's owner once stay there on, say, a deer-stalking expedition? And would the clip be so funny if it were of a man in a tracksuit, yelling the F-word and chasing a pit bull?