She was the four-legged sheep herding star of Blue Peter during Matt Baker’s time on the CBBC series but did you know Meg the collie lives on in radio drama The Archers?
“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,” Baker reveals in this week’s edition of Radio Times. “So they recorded her, and now whenever you hear a dog bark on The Archers, that’s Meg.”
Baker, who asked Blue Peter to allow him to have a dog when he moved to London in 1999, fondly recalls Meg’s Blue Peter days.
“It could be chaos in the studio, because when we were live on air she’d skulk away from me and run around, trying to herd all the camera operators and floor staff and guests – her instinct was to round everything up,” he says.
Between her first appearance when she was just nine weeks old in 2001 and her departure with Baker in 2006, Meg took part in sheep dog trials, passed a police sniffer dog challenge, and gave birth to her first litter of puppies in May 2005. She gave birth to five pups, two of whom became farm dogs while one became a sheep dog.
The last two pups, Corrie and Ziggy, went through rigorous training to join a mountain search and rescue team and become a hearing dog, respectively.
Baker cites Meg’s passing in 2011 (at the age of 11) following a battle with cancer as “the worst”. The disease was found in her hip and Baker had no choice but to make a very difficult decision.
“We had to do what was best for her”, he explains. “It was awful, but we were with her, and she’s buried on the farm. We hold her dear.”
You can read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 7th February