Lancashire lass’s TV show tells tail of canine luxury spa

Leon and Matt from the Doggy Hotel TV series on Watch.

Leon and Matt from the Doggy Hotel TV series on Watch.

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The first episode of a barking-mad TV show produced by Lancashire woman Julie Heathcote will be broadcast tomorrow.

The Dog Hotel, co-produced by Julie, who was brought up in Garstang, gives viewers the chance to watch the canine capers of Sussex’s best-kept pets.

The ten-part series on the Watch channel at 8pm tomorrow night follows married couple Matt and Leon Henderson-Rood, who have opened Brighton’s first boutique hotel for dogs.

But with no business experience between them and as barking mad as they come, the couple’s business venture makes for entertaining watching.

It is the first series produced by Julie and business partner Lisa Fairbank after they opened their Brighton-based TV company Factory Films in 2012. But for Julie, 46, the road to TV success has taken many different routes and it wasn’t until she took her first unpaid job that she got her big break.

The former Garstang High School student said: “I sent out hundreds and hundreds of CVs and eventually I got a volunteer job as a runner making coffee for people on a 
quiz show and really that’s where it all started.”

From there Julie worked as a freelance journalist for several organisations including Sky News and National Geographic, travelling the world with her WildWorld reports.

But despite her worldwide adventures she came back to her true dream and left her full time job to go into business with her friend Lisa. She said: “Lisa said to me ‘this is daft, we’ve been doing this a long time now, we have got our contacts, let’s try and set our own business up’ and I just thought now is as good a time as ever– why not.”

And the rest is history, after Julie and Lisa were introduced to Matt and Leon.

“When we met Matt and Leon we said they should have their own television show because they were just brilliant and it has taken 18 months from that point to make The Dog Hotel.

“It is just such a heartwarming family series with different levels of silliness throughout the show but between the lines there is such an authenticity about Leon and Matt and to see their passion for dogs is so engaging.

“When you watch it you end up with a smile on your face and maybe even a tear in your eye.”