The world’s most famous dog show returns to television screens for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with wall-to-wall coverage on Channel 4 and More4.
Joining presenters Clare Balding and Radzi Chinyanganya will be Disability Advocate and 2021 Paralympics Lead presenter Sophie Morgan, who is a self-proclaimed dog-lover and considers them a huge part of her life and family. Veterinary expert Paul Manktelow will return along with famed dog trainer Ashleigh Butler, who will also be competing in Agility.
Having been postponed last year due to Covid-19, this year’s Crufts runs from 10th to 13th March and viewers will be able to follow the event across Channel 4 platforms, including on demand on All4.
Some 20,000 dogs will be at the NEC Birmingham as Crufts marks its 131st year. Organised and hosted by The Kennel Club, the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training, it is the largest show of its kind in the world and has been broadcast by Channel 4 and produced by Sunset+Vine since 2010.
Sophie Morgan said: “I absolutely love dogs. Having grown up with a house full of dogs and my mum being a dog trainer! My best friend was a yellow Labrador until I was about 13 years old. Even as we got older, when my mum stopped training, we had dogs in the house, (Westies and Labradors primarily) and still to this day we have dogs in the family.”
Antonia Howard-Taylor, Commissioning Executive, Channel 4, said: “With 33% of people in the UK owning a dog, we are proud to be broadcasting the return of a historic event that truly celebrates the nation’s love of dogs. It is also great to be able to welcome Sophie to the line-up this year. Alongside Clare and Radzi, Sophie is a perfect fit for Crufts, as someone who truly understands the incredible role dogs can play in our lives.”
This year’s coverage is set to include classic favourites such as live Flyball, Agility, Heelwork to Music and of course, the infamous Best in Show title for which 222 different breeds can compete. Viewers will also be able to enjoy expert canine advice and tips, hear fascinating doggy stories, discover new breeds, and get involved from home across all of Channel 4’s social channels.
In a first for Channel 4’s coverage of Crufts, this will include the addition of Whatsapp QR codes that will provide a new route for viewers to engage with the show. Viewers can also tune into a live webcam of 8-week-old puppies in honour of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s 90th Anniversary – aptly dubbed ‘Puppy Cam’.