One Man And His Dog winner crowned on Countryfile
Published 25/09/2016 | 20:06
Countryfile has crowned the 2016 winner of the annual One Man And His Dog competition.
Dick Roper and Tom Blease picked up the golden trophy in the sheepdog trials, securing the winning spot by just one point during Sunday night's competition.
The popular contest - now in its 40th year - sees top senior shepherds and herding dogs from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland competing against each other, all hoping to bring home the winning title alongside their designated professional sheep dog handlers.
Ireland has won for the last three years.
Winner Roper - who was supported by Blease, a 16-year-old handler from Cumbria - said it was "lovely to bring the One Man and His Dog trophy back to England".
"Being the 40th anniversary makes it very, very special," he said.
"And for me, working with such a nice young handler as Tom, was very special too.
"Many people in sheepdog trialling are farmer's sons, but Tom's literally done it all himself. I'm really pleased for Tom - and for myself of course - but especially for Tom.
"To bring it back as a team was nice."
The competition was Countryfile presenter Anita Rani's first experience of sheepdog trialling.
She said: "I was amazed by the level of skill shown and the relationship between shepherd and dog. I was particularly impressed by the skill of the young handlers.
"Another new and fantastic experience on Countryfile."
One Man and His Dog first aired on the BBC in 1976. It attracted more than eight million viewers at its peak in the 1980s.
The competition found a home on Countryfile in 2013, as an annual special.