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Bouncer

If there ever was a Mount Rushmore of Pets from Television Programmes (and in my head there is) then surely one of the faces depicted on it would be this Labrador Retriever from the Australian soap opera Neighbours.

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Bouncer made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 4 February 1987 and he exited the series on 12 February 1993. During the course of an eventful six-year stint Bouncer lived at three different addresses, survived road accidents, got lost, was poisoned by some exotic mushrooms; and somehow saved Madge from a chip pan fire. The latter was one of those scenes you think you might have imagined, but no, Bouncer tenaciously calls the emergency services as an inferno engulfs the house. As if that wasn’t enough Bouncer was also responsible for Mrs Mangel’s amnesia when he accidentally knocked her off a ladder, before fathering two litters of puppies with random neighbourhood bitches.

One of Bouncer’s most famous storylines had him dreaming that he was getting married to Rosie, the Sheepdog, who lived next door. As mad as it sounds this scene was still a lot more credible than the average Soap Wedding.

Tragically Thirteen weeks after finishing his final scenes on Neighbours, Bouncer died. Following his death, Bouncer was sent more tributes from fans around the world than any of the human cast. One cannot help but marvel at a soap character that achieved more in his short life, than other lesser stars have in twenty years. When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer … Bouncer died when he was 7.

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Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

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