Shamik Das

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wallace and Gromit Christmas number ones, but is Grommie top dog nonpareil?

"And they called it puppy loooooo-ve, oh I guess they'll never knowwww..."

THAT'S grand, that is Gromit!

After fighting off the Strictly Christmas special, The Royle Family, the Queen's Christmas Message, Corrie and Eastenders - not to mention seeing off the challenge of the Doctor - Wallace and Gromit were crowned the undisputed kings of Christmas tele this year, and the most-viewed Christmas show for five years.

Nearly 15 million viewers tuned in to watch A Matter of Loaf and Death, in which Gromit saves his master from becoming the 13th victim of a deranged serial killer, with the help of his new bitch Fluffles, the cutsie-pie poodle who melts his heart.

Now, winning the Christmas number one is one thing, but to achieve true greatness you've gotta be able to pull it off over a long period of time - which Wally & Grommie have undoubtedly achieved - but bigger questions remain, namely those pertaining to who's the greatest cartoony pooch of all time.

It's a tough choice, and, yes, I am stretching the definition of "cartoon" somewhat by including Gromit in the first place, but - and I hate to break this to you - unlike Lassie (and Santa Claus), Gromit, like the cartoon dawgs, doesn't actually exist, though he'd make a hell of a pet here in the real world.

Tintin and Snowy  Scrappy Doo and his uncle Scooby  "Muuuuuuuttttttleeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!"

So, who makes the shortlist? First up we have Snowy, Tintin's faithful companion; I've lost count of the number of times the powder-snow pup has rescued the boy journalist, almost as many times as Gromit's rescued Wallace, though Snowy's appeared in far more adventures.

Secondly, it's those pesky lil' pups Scooby and Scrappy Doo. Who can forget those immortal catchphrases "Ta dadada ta daaa, puppy power!" and "Let me at 'em Uncle Scoob!!" Just think how many times the assorted collection of gold prospectors, oil barons and truck drivers would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those two.

Thirdly, and quite possible the greatest of them all, the cheeky sidekick to that wackiest of Wacky Racers Dick Dastardly, Muttley, or "Muuuuuuuttttttleeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!" as his partner-in-crime hollers out to him, to which the mischievous little pup almost always replies "Rrrrrasam, Rrrrrusum" followed by his trademark laugh, "a-heeee-heeee-heee-heee!"

Tough choice, huh? There are many more I could've mentioned, Droopy, Huckleberry Hound, Spike from the Tom and Jerry cartoons, Scratchy from Itchy and Scratchy, Mickey's orange pet Pluto, Snoopy... so many great dogs, but only one winner, and it'll take a greater man than me to decide which of our canine chums is king.


Wallace and Gromit
BBC iPlayer: A Matter of Loaf and Death


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