If you love dogs, makeovers and York make sure you are in front of the telly tonight (Thursday).
Because York pet stylist supreme Ellie Linsell is starring at peak time.
Ellie is one of the contestants in reality game show Pooch Perfect (BBC One, 8pm), which sees professional dog groomers compete to be named best in class.
Ellie, who has run her Perfect Paws dog and cat grooming business in York for ten years, was approached to appear on the show by its producers after she took part in a grooming contest last January.
After successfully completing a few rounds of interviews she was chosen for the series. Filming took place – in Covid-secure conditions – at Media City in Salford last August.
“This was a completely new experience for me – grooming wise, being on television,” Ellie told YorkMix.
“It was hard, but I learned a lot. And I met a lot of lovely people on set.”
Make people smile
In the first Breed Makeover round, Ellie and her three rivals had to tame the locks of English cocker spaniels.
They didn’t know what breed it would be until the day. “I was over the moon when I found out what what we were doing, because I do so many of that particular breed of dog in the salon.
“It wasn’t the easiest challenge because there’s a lot of other things going on. But you know what, I’m glad I did it.
“And I just hope I make a lot of people smile and laugh at what I’ve done.”
Next up is the Dog Walk Challenge – a test of the groomers’ creativity, as well as technical ability. In this challenge they are given a theme in advance, and they also specify the breed of dog that they would like to groom.
For Ellie this meant borrowing people’s pets to practise on, after putting out an appeal on her Facebook business page.
Host Sheridan Smith was “amazing”, Ellie said – and she bonded with the judges too.
Of course all the contestants are grooming against the clock – and thanks to that time pressure, it’s Ellie you can hear saying she’s “proper panicking” in the trailer above.
“God knows what else I’ve said, because I was in such a fluster!”
She’ll be watching the show “at home with the boys and my husband because, obviously, with the whole lockdown, we can’t mix.
“I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited as well. So I just hope I make you all smile and that I’ve done York proud.”
An animal lover since she was little, Ellie, 36, decided to become a dog groomer after she got a Pomeranian.
After finding there was a long waiting list to get her pet groomed, and then not being satisfied with the finished work, she decided to take up the comb and clippers herself.
You have to learn not only grooming techniques but pet psychology too. Every breed is different. “Personally, I do find the West Highland terrier is quite a difficult breed – they tend to be quite snappy, especially when you’re doing anything around their feet, clipping nails.”
But it’s very rewarding, even with dogs which are nervous about the experience. “By the end of the groom, they’re not that shivering dog that didn’t want to come in.
“They’re really happy because they’re feeling fresh, they’re feeling vibrant, they’re just feeling incredible after the experience.”
She also grooms cats at her salon in Badger Hill. She finds this very relaxing – apart from with the ones that fight back! “We have got a few banned cats.”
After the strangeness of 2020, when the salon has been closed at different times due to the pandemic, it’s good to start 2021 with something as uplifting as Pooch Perfect.
- Pooch Perfect, BBC1, 8pm, Thursday, 21 January