Dogs are amazing, but they don’t live forever. One of the things that makes me feel sad when I’m watching TV shows that are more than about 10 years old is that any dogs in them are probably dead now. Like these ones, for instance.
Then: Dogtanian was the young and dashing Muskehound who was a hero to a whole generation of children, despite being the most annoying character in his own show by some considerable margin. He always seemed young and immature, so it’s strange to think that, being a dog, he’ll probably be dead by now. Oh and by the way, so are all the other dogs in it. Porthos, Athos, Aramis, Juliette, Monsieur de Treville, Cardinal Richelieu, Count Rochefort – the lot! Not Milady though – she was a cat.
Razzle from Jonny Briggs
Then: Children’s TV viewers in the 1980s would have been very familiar with Razzle, as this show seemed to be shown on a constant loop for years. Razzle must have had the patience of a saint because his owner, Jonny Briggs, was an absolutely insufferable pain in the arse. Death’s sweet release was no doubt a blessing for the long-suffering mutt when it finally came.
Wee Jock from Hamish Macbeth
Then: Hamish Macbeth was a policeman in the fictional Scottish town of Lochdubh, and his faithful hound was called Wee Jock. We know at least one Wee Jock is dead, because he was killed in the fifth episode of the first series. But the show was last on in 1997 so, let’s face it, Wee Jock’s replacement – also called Wee Jock – is probably dead too.
Muttley from Wacky Races
Then: Muttley was the snickering sidekick of Dick Dastardly in Wacky Races. He is best remembered for his distinctive chuckle – but he won’t be laughing now, what with being dead and all.
Roly from EastEnders
Then: When Julia Smith, the first producer of EastEnders, was getting the show up and running, one of her most important tasks was to cast a dog to play Den and Angie’s pooch, Roly. A poodle was duly found, which Julia eventually adopted. Roly appeared in the show for another eight years, and sadly went to the great Queen Vic in the sky in 1995.
Belle from Belle and Sebastian
Then: Belle was a Pyrenean mountain dog who befriended a young boy called Sebastian. The two of them went on the run from the police, after Belle was accused of crimes the nature of which we can’t quite remember, 30 years on. They were accompanied by another dog – a puppy called Poochie. Belle, sadly, will almost certainly have carked it long ago. As will Poochie.
Now: Dead and dead.
The Littlest Hobo
Then: This plucky German Shepherd spent most of the 1980s going from town to town in America, helping people in trouble. The dog credited in the opening titles was London, but he shared the part with several lookalikes – many of whom were his offspring. All dead now, of course.
Then: Lethargic cartoon hound who couldn’t really be arsed with anything – including, in the end, being alive.
Then: This big fella – who was part-Golden Retriever, part St. Bernard – was a loyal companion to Dr Harry Weston, neighbour of The Golden Girls. He even popped next door to visit Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia from time to time, as contracts permitted. Most of the time he was played by a dog called Bear, although his brother Julio would occasionally fill in when Bear fancied a week off, or was dead.
Then: Scrappy is possibly the least popular dog in the entire history of fiction, not to mention the entire history of dogs. His perky demeanour and combative nature were no doubt intended to be endearing, but they had the opposite effect. The good news is, he too is probably dead now.