Thursday 29 June 2017

Matt Baker's dog Meg 'lives on' thanks to The Archers

Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker with Meg as a puppy
Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker with Meg as a puppy

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker has said his famous dog Meg still has a place in his heart six years after her death, and that she lives on with a part in BBC Radio 4's The Archers.

Former Blue Peter star Baker was frequently joined on the children's show with his beloved border collie after he asked show bosses for a dog to help him acclimatise following his move from Durham to London.

The 39-year-old told the Radio Times: "When I started on Blue Peter in 1999, I'd never been to London. I didn't like it at all and after a couple of weeks I had to get out, to a place with trees.

"I moved to Buckinghamshire and a local lady let me run some sheep on a paddock she had. I'd trained sheepdogs since I was 14, and I asked work 'Can I have a dog? Can I? I want one. Please?'

"Meg came from a neighbour's farm in Durham, and she was the most full-on action dog Blue Peter ever had."

Baker said "losing her in 2011 was the worst".

He said that learning that she had succumbed to cancer was "awful" and he could not understand how he had failed to recognise her illness.

Baker said: "You have to learn to hold the memories close and not feel hard done by. I've known this loss many times, and it fills me up to think of it."

Of her continuing role in the entertainment industry, Baker said: "She lives on in The Archers, actually. She came with me when I was doing a piece about the show, and it turned out their bank of sound effects was lacking the bark of a working dog.

"So they recorded her, and now whenever you hear a dog bark on The Archers, that's Meg."

Baker, who is also known for fronting The One Show, said that he does not remember a time in his life without dogs.

He said: "I prefer to spend time with them than with people - it sounds weird, I know.

"My earliest memories are hanging around dogs' necks, and a life outdoors where we'd go off on our adventures. I didn't have to make time to take the dog for a walk, because there was no concept of being in.

"I was always out with my companion, feeling that friendship and fun."

:: This week's Radio Times is on sale today.

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