Celebrity Snoop Dogs review – canine Through The Keyhole is a dog's dinner

This insipid show, in which C-list celebrities strap bodycams to their pooches and send them sniffing round the house, has finally, gladly come to and end

At the beginning of lockdown, 43 years ago, it was announced that Channel 4 had come up with the countervailing-est ruse of countervailing ruses to ensure that its portion of the entertainment on which we have come to depend could continue to pour untrammelled into our homes through the small screen. Its plan? They would affix cameras to the backs of dogs owned by celebrities and send them off to wander round said celebrities’ homes. We would then try to guess, assuming we had not gouged our eyes out by this point, who owned the houses and, by extension, the dogs. Or vice versa.

The Ruse – which may yet be capitalised in a footnote to a particularly extensive history of the arts during corona times – was greeted with derision. But Channel 4 hung tough, and hung its cameras on various dogs owned by people who, by stretching the word to the very limits of its already considerable elasticity, could be described as celebrities – and then it unleashed the hounds. It chopped the results into four half-hour episodes, found someone to do the voiceover – Kevin McCloud – and gave the results a name: Celebrity Snoop Dogs. There was doubtless some kernel of optimism that the results would afford the channel a kind of cult, so-bad-it’s-good hit. Who could resist, I suspect the thought ran, a canine-inflected Through the Keyhole? Kernels of optimism, of course, may be the largest contributor to human misery the world has ever known.

Celebrity Snoop Dogs has now completed its run and – let us hope – been taken off to a farm upstate, where it will live out the rest of its days in peace. The final episode followed the traditional format. The concept – dogs, cameras, celebrity homes – is laboriously spelled out. The ergonomics of the camera harnesses are described in detail. The dogs – this time a labradoodle called Monkey and a pair of American spaniels called, oh God, who cares – roam around a Tudor pile in Wiltshire and modern shininess in Surrey. McCloud does an unexpectedly good job of narrating without descending too far into archness, despite being forced to call the dogs’ owners “their humans”. There are one-line descriptions of anything that could feasibly have caught the viewer’s eye. A definition of a love seat was this week’s highlight. Invented in the late-17th-century, appaz.

Reviewers have been urged to keep the reveal a secret, so I will draw a veil over quite who appears this time for the last 10 minutes to explain why they love their house, why they love their dog(s) and what particular concatenation of circumstances led them to agree to partake in Celebrity Snoop Dogs. (The suspicion looms large throughout that for a not-inconsiderable portion of them, accountants’ desperate urgings have played a role.)

The best bit of Celebrity Snoop Dogs was usually the Petplan insurance advert that preceded it, wherein a mother flanked by her two children and holding the family dog speaks effusively to camera about how the dog is “like my child. People laugh at me but he is like my third baby.” Her children sit beside her looking … well, like their mother has just told them the dog sits on a par with both of them. Expressions that cannot be rendered on the page, with only the paltry resource of the written word at my disposal. Best bit. By far.


Lucy Mangan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Secret World of Posh Pets review – will these pampered pooches make it to the altar?
From horse-drawn carriages to diamond-crusted dresses, millionaires Debbie and Bob are sending their lap dogs Honey and Joey down the aisle in style

Sam Wollaston

01, Jul, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
Our Shirley Valentine Summer review – Love Island for celebrity fiftysomethings
Eight women looking for love is all a bit genteel, except for the fabulous Nancy Dell’Olio who doles out drinks and tells it as it is

Rebecca Nicholson

19, Jul, 2018 @9:00 PM

Article image
Dogs: Their Secret Lives and Worst Place to Be a Pilot review – a foray into the dog flap, and a turbulent ride

John Crace: Channel 4 takes a lacklustre look at the predictable reasons why dogs get fat behind their owners' backs, only to land on track with a documentary on the most budget of budget airlines

John Crace

20, Aug, 2014 @5:00 AM

Article image
The men who live as dogs: 'We're just the same as any person on the high street'
Human pups like to live in packs, play with squeaky toys, eat from bowls and nuzzle their ‘handlers’. Ahead of a new documentary, Spot, Bootbrush and Kaz open up about their community

Nell Frizzell

25, May, 2016 @12:08 PM

Article image
Trust Me, I’m a Vet review – plenty of stats and science, but no shaggy dog stories
A pet programme full of facts and figures but lacking in personality. Plus: Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story

Sam Wollaston

04, May, 2017 @6:10 AM

Article image
Jade Goody: a scorned celebrity who held a mirror up to bitter Britain
She was mocked, shamed and then lionised after a very public death. Ten years on, the Big Brother star exists as a lesson in public prejudice – and the prison of the class system

Suzanne Moore

09, Aug, 2019 @1:57 PM

Article image
Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago review – stars put their best feet forward
A trek to the famous Spanish holy city is a classier celebrity challenge than being made to eat bushtucker, though it’s a stretch to suggest they’ll find the answers to life’s big questions en route

Sam Wollaston

16, Mar, 2018 @10:10 PM

Article image
Our Everest Challenge review – Ben Fogle, Victoria Pendleton and some vertiginous cliches
Only one of these two makes it past halfway in this gruelling spin on the celebrity challenge show. Plus, the Coco Chanel story is better than fiction

Jack Seale

30, Aug, 2018 @9:02 PM

Article image
Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain review – tears, tabloids and a modern fairytale
Goody’s transformation by the media from vilified hate figure on Big Brother to ‘authentic’ heroine brought her fame and wealth – and is a parable of our times

Lucy Mangan

07, Aug, 2019 @9:05 PM

Article image
The Bridge review – the TV version of a dire corporate away-day
It was supposed to be a show about teamwork and logistics in the face of adversity. Instead, this quest to win £100,000 consists mostly of participants bickering and moaning

Rebecca Nicholson

25, Oct, 2020 @10:00 PM