The sad death of actress, singer and comedian Carol Lee Scott earlier this month, who was best known for her role as Grotbags the witch, opposite Rod Hull and his maniacal giant bird, made everyone in our house realise something.
Thanks to all the clips on the news and hours of archive footage on YouTube, the penny dropped that our adolescent saluki/whippet Walter is basically Emu.
Let’s look at the evidence. Massive beady eyes to spot its prey, a huge beaky nose that pokes its way into where it’s not wanted, lightning reactions, a psychopathic character who switches from docile to predator in a flash and is accompanied at all times by a hapless stooge who goes around apologising for its behaviour (that’s me). The two most famous clips of Emu disgracing himself are works of comedy genius which rank alongside Porridge, Father Ted, Rising Damp and any other wonderful sitcom you care to mention. The first is when Emu grabs a visibly seething Michael Parkinson by the throat on his chat show and then wrestles him to the ground. Parkinson’s barely suppressed fury makes it twice as funny.
And the second, when he attacks American TV royalty Johnny Carson on his own show after initially allowing him to tickle his chin is only bettered when, less than a minute later, he pounces on terrified guest Richard Pryor and gives him the same treatment. Yep, that’s King of Comedy Richard Pryor, who saw a lot of things in his life but up until that point had never been manhandled to the floor on live TV by a man with his right arm stuffed up a giant puppet.
Thankfully, our Walter has calmed down a lot over the past two months. As a puppy, people who own predatorial sighthounds such as him told us on walks that they are lunatics until the age of two (second birthday next month). After that, they’re pussy cats. It’s true. I haven’t been physically threatened by another dog owner because of Walter’s behaviour for two months now, which is a record. What’s “playing” to a sighthound (bitey face at a cruising speed of 30mph) is the Waterloo Cup to startled owners of terrified fluffy little dogs.