Mabel

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This is a special blog to remember the life of my darling Mabel (Romaneve Little Miss Muffett) who was taken from me far too early on October 27th 2016. She came to me from Tracy Henry, her breeder, who kindly allowed me to have her. Mabel never manged to master the art of the Pug double tail curl, though she never stopped trying. I’m still too sad to write much about Mabel, so I’m going to commemorate her life in pictures….j209

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The Last Legmabel-biker-pug

 

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2015: A very dramatic year!

Taking stock of 2015, and we have been involved in many very exciting dramas ( of the scripted kind, of course).
We finished shooting Topsy and Tim with Mossup starring and some outstanding supporting canines. We brought Golden Retriever out to play on this, as they had requested an old dog. This was great fun, as Flag is now fourteen, and his first major role was on a previous Darrall MacQueen production UGetMe, more than twelve years ago, several of the crew were still working with DM and were delighted to see him again.
Flag Ugetme.
Scramble and Bob, plus Rocco Rabbit wrapped on Floogals, again this has been almost two years in the making, and we will miss the lovely crew ( though not the trip via the Black wall Tunnel to Beckenham!)
Rocco Rabbit
Deerhound Theia appeared in Witch Hunter.
Alan worked with Polly cat on an interesting production; Londongrad a Russian language comedy series, shot in London with an all Russian crew.cat polly
The Crown for Netflix is bound to be huge when it is released later this year, and we have been fortunate to be asked to provide the animals for this. Colin Pug has become something of a legend amongst the cast and crew, with Ellie, Mabel and Mille Pugs providing his support team. We were fortunate to find Sarah Hanson and her highly trained Springer Spaniels for thegame shooting scenes, and Sarah and Mark Dogget were sporting enough to go into period costume and appear on camera. Maria Carter’s legendary Corgis have , of course been heavily featured, as have Sweep as Winston Churchill’s poodle; Rufus, and Dexter as the vermin catcher’s terrier. Mark Amey worked with us on the rat scenes with his lovely brown rats. A memorable moment on this when Oscar winning director Stephen Daldry described our dogs as brilliant!
hanson springer 4
On the comedy side of things, we have provided the animals for The Keith Lemon Sketch Show, including a German Shepherd Dog in a handag!
gsd in handbag
Endeavour ( the young Inspector Morse) used several of our dogs and cats, as did Open All Hours.group soah
The Doctors have employed Bob and Polly Cats and Dickensians will feature Chewy the Pomeranian puppy, and Bullseye the English Bull Terrier once again. This is an amazing set to work on as a complete street with shops, houses and a pub have all been built in an ordinary looking warehouse on a modern industrial estate….magical! http://tellychat.co.uk/where-was-dickensian-filmed-locations-bbc-set/
Chewy Pom bullseye soton
Another , rather earlier historical drama we have worked on this year was Julian Fellowe’s adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s novel Doctor Thorne, involving yet more Pug acting from Mabel.
Mabel stand2
Filming these period works have involved us travelling to some incredible locations such as West Wycombe Park, Englefield House, Loseley Park, Wrotham Park and Halton House. Good fun when the first assistant director tells you to stand in front of the £80,000,000 painting…..

We were recommended to Syd Gentle productions who were looking for a dog to play Roger in their new adaptation of My Family And Other Animals, and after taking a van full of dogs to their office for a casting (one very wet day) Mossup was given the part. This has been a very busy year for Miss Mossup as she also starred as Baxter in the highly acclaimed Blue Cross commercial.

Most of The Durrels was shot on location in Corfu over an eight week period, with Anthony Bloom and his amazing Pelicans and Gull .It sounds fun, but that was a long time for Alan to be away from home. Thank goodness that the wonderful Thomson Clan were able and willing to help out at base camp!mossup corfu sunset

Nessie and Lisa concluded their long run at the Savoy Theatre, and it was great to see the incredibly talented Imelda Staunton pick up the UK Theatre Award for best performance in a musical.nessie gypsy
We have been kept busy providing animals for television commercials, including Iams, Bosch, Tracca, Nike, The Blue Cross, Bayer, Renault…..this was a really good fun shoot with Mabel, Ruby and Jamie. Dot had to be restrained from kidnapping the extremely hunky and very Irish Rugby players! Amazing what goes on in a Renault sales room , just off the A40…..

Phoebe the Dalmatian appeared in an Aldi TVC, shot in Manchester, she also had a couple of days for Boden, and is now enjoying her well earned retirement. She has been a fabulous dog for A1 Animals over the years, never putting a spotted paw wrong.phoebe boden 3
Highland Spring, The Wool Council, Hillary’s Carpets, Scottish Power and Budgens have also employed our animals.
Stills have included Volvo for the lovely photographer Nick Meek, Foster for Ron Bembridge, Hovis and Talyn for the Next catalogue, Scramble for Natwest, Chummy for RBS and Jamie for Sainsbury’s Tu brand.
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We had an exciting Dachshund day out at Three Mills Studios filming idents for ITV….itv 2 daxies
….and also an action packed day with thirteen dogs and Alan Davis shooting for the RSPCA series The Dog Rescuers.drxmas201518
Lola gave an outstanding performance as Aubrey for the Xtra Factor.lola xtra factor
We said goodbye to a few very special members of the A1 team in 2015: Dax, Dot’s wonderful Weimeraner who was always such a pleasure to work with, he did some amazing stills photography during his long career.
Dax leaping
Seiko our very gentle German Shepherd, who was bred by the Guide Dog For The blind Association, puppy walked and adored by our dear friends Sheila and Michael, kept for breeding as she was such a special lady, but had to be spayed after only one litter, due to an infection. She was a true ambassador for her breed.Seiko
Nellie the Samoyed also left us this year, and will be sorely missed by Niki and her family, a truly beautiful spirit in a very beautiful fur coat.
Joining us this year were new recruits Hugo and Oscar (The Whppety Two), we are extremely grateful to Rachael and Mike for letting us have these delightful boys as part of our team, they are delightful little chaps.
Millie Puglet joined our family during 2015, what a littlwe star. She arrived on Sunday, and was at Elstree Studios the very next day playing one of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s much loved Pugs in The Crown. In the same week she had the lead role in a Curry’s commercial, thank you to Abi Tittle for choosing us out of many others, to take Millie home.millie pup

Chewey the Pomeranian arrived just in time to feature as Amelia Havisham’s new puppy, a gift from the dastardly Compeyson. Chewey has such a delightful personality, such a happy little person.
Tilly was rescued from a very hard life in Eastern Europe, she is a great film dog, who has already appeared in the Iams commercial, and also spent many weeks at pinewood Studios, and on location in Wales shooting with a stellar cast including the lovely Bill Nighy and directed by Lone Scherfig.

A1 Animals

A1 Animals

Based on Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel, Their Finest Hour and a Half follows a British movie crew trying to make a patriotic film to boost morale after the Blitz during World War II, only for a battle of the sexes to ensue. What a change from street dog to movie star….
New felines Maxie, Minnie and Lomond,minnie iams

Minnie MC stand (1) all from the stunning Rydalmaine family of Maine Coons also joined us (thank you to Judy Stratton for trusting us with your beautiful kittens ) and new white boy SJ and Tabby Mackay also joined our team.SJ sit 2 (1)

Another fantastic year!

2014 was possibly A1 Animal’s most successful year ever, we have worked on six films, seven novelty television programmes, eight major television dramas, thirty odd commercials (some odder than others!) a handful of pop promos, attended some forty stills shoots, and also provided animals for several live performances.
Films:

Hamish our talented Bull Mastiff started the year travelling to the Mediterranean, where he boarded a cruise ship to film a Bollywood Blockbuster “Dil Dhadakne Do” he spent a month cruising the Med, stopping off to film in various exotic locatiions, he was a huge hit with crew, cast and passengers alike.

dil dhadakne do

Other films that we have been involve with include “Pursuit” (Hamish again…)
“Eleanor” with Mossup
“The Gates of Vanity” Dexter the gates of vanity, and another collaboration with our friends at February Films “Road Games” with Martha and Chummy, this also involved travelling abroad, this time to Picardie.
“Prick Thy Neighbour” featured one of our lovely black and white cats, Rob.
prick thy neighgbour

We worked on pop promos with “Drenge”, several dogs on this one…drenge 11
Lola appeared with singer Indiana…lola solo dancing
We also worked with Katy Perry and some lovely Greyhounds.

Live performances:

A1 Animals was delighted to be asked to provide Crab the dog for The Two Gentlemen of Verona, especially as it was ten years since Ria had performed in the same part for The Royal Shakespeare Company. Mossup was perfect for the part, and luckily she had live stage experience, having just completed a short run at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow in “Legally Blonde”.
Mossup became the first canine blogger for the RSC, and also one of the most popular!
http://www.rsc.org.uk/explore/blogs/whispers-from-the-wings/farewell-dog-knows-when-we-shall-meet-again/
mossup 2 gents bow
Mossup also attended a very lively question and answer session for the BBC at Media City, Salford. This was for fans of “Topsy and Tim”

Something a little different, we took several dog to promote the new range of Orlebar Brown menswear….
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We also provided dogs for an event at Selfridges.

Television programmes:

Celebrity Juice, Pride of Britain, Top Gear, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Cat Watch, Cats got Talent and the Disney Channel all featured some of our animals.caddy dancing disney

Above is Caddy strutting his stuff!

Stills:

We worked with some fantastic stills photographers this year, including David Stewart, Ron Bembridge, Gandee Vassan and Nicky Johnston. Our “fashion models” included Scramble and Polly for Boden, Theiai, Mossup and Nessie for Regatta and Dexter and Hovis for Next.

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Hovis on location in Norfolk.

Chummy, Foster and the much missed Norman took on a wind machine for Gandee Vassan!
chummy windy
foster windy

Ellie reprised her part as Isis in Downton Abbey (series 2 only) with Alan Carr, great fun with Nicky Johnston photographing.

Alan Carr Ellie
And a touch of photo shopping for an article in The Guardian magazine!

A fat cat and a skinny cat
The lovely and beautifully proportioned Thelma.
Mabel was chosen to grace the packaging for Smart Dog treatsMabel back view

Other projects we were involved with were for Hills Science Diet, Natwest, Country House magazine, Hall Mark birthday cards, the Oxford University Press and Passionate.

New boy Matty for Ever Clean cat litter packaging:

matty ever clean

We had an extremely busy day with photographer Jason Butcher working on yet another group shot for Metacam

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Commercials and virals:

We worked on many of these productions in the last year, amongst the more memorable moments Chummy got to pilot a Sinclair C5 for Expedia…

chummy expedia

Carrying on with different methods of transport, we did a couple of fun videos for Arriva, the first proving so popular that we returned to Tamworth to shoot a follow up.

arriva all dogs bus

arriva chummy hailing

Scramble was recalled to do another shoot for Skype, Kipp the poodle starred for Nisa, new boy Matty featured in an Ever Clean cat litter commercial and also one for Surf, Chummy appeared with a very tiny baby for Sudocrem, and also for Redrow builders, various of our cats shot a Cats Protection League advertisement, Polly Cat appeared for Morrisons.
We had an enjoyable couple of days at the Essex Arena shooting a viral for Mazda cars with Poppi, Hamish, Dylan and Foster, another “shaking wet dog” shot amongst many others!
foster shaking mazda
hamish mazda
dylan mazda

poppi mazda
Mabel donned her Superpug cape for Halifax
mabel halifax snip

Mabel also appeared with McKinley and Coco for a series of dog friendly recipes for Direct Line K9 Kitchen with TV vet Marc Abraham and chef James Martin. All three dogs thoroughly enjoyed tasting their offerings!
direc line dogs and men
Dexter shot the new “Audible” TV commercial, and also one for Dreams
dexter audible
Velux and Solar Panels showcased the talents of Ronnie and Polly cats and Caddy starred in the Christmas “Very” campaign.

caddy very

Coming soon is a new Petplan commercial featuring many of our cats and dogs also Rhodni the gorgeous puppy, and a scrumptious litter of Rydalmaine Mainecoon kittens.
Also expected any time, viral for a car manufacturer with Diego the fantastic Husky playing a leading role.

diego with inuits

Television dramas:

We worked on a couple of pilot shows earlier in the year, “Walter” a detective/comedy with Chummy, and Schrodingers cat in which Haggis won fulsome praise from the cast and crew, who were amazed at his performance.

haggis

Scramble and Bob have been working with aliens from outer space…The Floogals, this is an on going project which will carry on filming until the Summer, and is due to be screened next year. Although it is set in America, it is being filmed in Beckenham.

floogals 2
We had chickens and rabbits working with Matt LeBlanc on “Episodes”, Matty in “Doctors” and Bob in “Salad Days”.

Hamish and Haggis each had several days work on “Spotless” which shows the darker side of Brendan Coyle!

spotless 2

Our main drama for the Autumn was “Partners In Crime” with the delightful David Walliams and Jessica Raine, both wonderful with the animals. We provided several animals for this, but our star turn was Foster, portraying the Beresfords’ pet dog Tiffin. Director Edward Hall was particularly glowing in his praise for Foster.

partners in crime

All in all, it has been a great year, we have filmed in France, Italy, Spain and Liz was flown to Poland (Warsaw) to work with cats on a prestigious cat commercial. We’ve had some wonderful compliments for the performances of our animals and worked with some fantastic people. But there is always a down side to living with animals, and that is that most of them don’t live for long enough. We said goodbye to Ria, sadly taken at a very young age by bone cancer, and Zelda, a real grande dame of the feline world. Jo Ann’s Norman a wonderfully gentle giant of a cat is also sadly missed.

zelda x 5

Good night Zelda.

New additions have been Matty and his younger half brother MJ, Harry (all rising feline stars!) Theia a Scottish Deerhound, Ruby a miniature Dachshund, Maisie a fluffy crossbreed, and Sadie the energetic Chihuahua!

2015 is starting off with a trip up North to a popular soap opera, and another visit to The Floogals!

A1 Animals is a real team effort, some of us go swanning off to mix on set with the great and good, and some are the back room boys and girls, who stay at home to do the everyday jobs that are all part of caring for our animals, so from ALL the team:Liz, Alan, Sue, Lisa, Jo Ann, Dot, Paul and Sheila, thank you to everyone who has worked with us in 2014, and bring on 2015!

alan and ria beach

Dedicated to the beautiful Ria, departed far too young.

Autumnal Ramblings….

In the past few weeks we have travelled as far North as Newcastle (the Upon Tyne one) and as far South as Cornwall, including one particularly interesting day when Chummy did a stills shoot near Truro which involved a 552 mile round trip. This is possibly the longest distance that I’ve travelled in a single day that didn’t involve wings!

This super dog has certainly earned his bones over the four years since we adopted him, and he has several more jobs booked (including a night shoot in Stevenage-should be a great way to spend a Saturday night!)

Our cats have been super busy……Bob continues to be a great favourite, he has become a fantasic performer, far removed from his early days when his legs wouldn’t always work he is now a consumate performer for sedentary and action shots….

The latest Metacam campaign was released recently which we shot at Wraysbury Water Park, a lovely shot of Ollie our rescued Border Collie (ex Wiccaweys Border Collie Rescue). It is always special to see these “re-cycled” animals reaching their full potential having been given up by their previous owners.

Many of our dogs are featured in this photograph but it also demonstrates what can be done with technical magic tricks!

Our recent “Direct Line” commercial also aired within the last few weeks:

This involved thirty plus of our small dogs, and the clients were delighted and insisted on having their photograph taken with the starring hounds, apparently they had much more trouble with the umbrellas that also featured!

Our lovely appeared in The Misfits as a “racist telepathic guide dog”…..Well, what else? This is a super fun show to work on, the cast and crew are lovely and as for Joe Gilgun, he is an absolute darling….we still have Hovis the puppy and Dot’s wonderful Guinea Pigs and rabbits to come.

Martha finished work on “Cocoons” a short film shot by students at the British Film and Theatre School, this was an interesting project which was badly affected by some terrible unseasonable weather, very much looking forward to seeing the finished result.

J20 cross dressing dogs and cats!

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Mabel our cross dressing Pug as she appears in the current J20 commercial…this was a fun shoot, filming took place over two split days in Hackney, we provided all the animals (with the exception of the carroty goldfish whiach was eaten by one of the cats!) Mabel also apperaed in the sunday Times “Style” magazine modelling a £199 pink collar, what a character she is!

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Another trip up north for “Chief Productions”, this time with Phoebe Dalmatian….Harrogate being the very pleasant location, but did the heavens open? They certainly did, amazing her spots weren’t washed away! And on the subject of getting wet, we had a quantity of dogs at Wraysbury dive park for another Metacam stills shoot….Image

Our work is certainly varied 🙂

Ollie also got wet in the name of art, this time for Boden. He is a super boy, another of our rescue dogs who has made good…

Tesco employed our Irish Setter team for another packaging session, and we had the pleasure of also working with some delightful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from the kennel of Veronica Hull.

On the television front, we have been working on Misfits, providing a guide dog (Ellie) and a puppy (Hovis) and Guinea Pig (Daisy) the latter two were destined to be eaten by a zombie! The cast and crew of this show were great..a really good fun team, all of whom were great with the animals, thanks especially to Joe, Ellie and Nathan.

Chummy has kept busy shooting a commercial for a new kind of dog brush which also featured Bob and Zelda (cats) again a super bunch of people.

Our friends Junyoung and Abner at February Films chose Ollie, Cairo and Daisy to appear in a shoot for a German Educational item, it is always a delight to work with their team, and we look forward to their next venture.

Oliver and Bullseye continue their tour, currently appearing in Norwich, this wonderful dog continues to make friends wherever he goes….

And finally…the newest canine member of our team, the previously mentioned Hovis….Image

Here she is, hopefully she will continue to be the delightful, happy little lady that she is at the moment and will be part of our family for many years to come, she was terrific on her first job, so we hope that it’s the first of amny to come!

 

Easter Lurcher!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUr7rnDuRm4&feature=share

Lovely mossup who filmed two versions of this, one for England and one in Eire for Irish viewers, she has had a busy month also appearing along with Caddy and Brillo in a shoot for one of our favourite photographers David Stewart….Brillo also featured in a shoot for Partizan for Carte Noir coffee. Nearly time for a new Border Terrier as he never stops working, and is creeping towards middle age (at least!).

Bullseye continues to pull in the crowds as Oliver now settles in to its Birmingham run, he is a real trooper…..

We have two new recruits on the dog side, a charming Beagle and a stunning Siberian Husky, looking forward to working with them as they are both really super dogs.

Ollie, Dexter and I had a run up the M6 to Media City and were very impressed in how a run down area can be regenerated, makes a pleasant change from turning south on the M1!