A fox red Labrador who has won the nation’s hearts as Linda Biscuits on Channel 4’s Late Night Lycett has an adorable and inspiring back story that viewers won’t know about.
Four-year-old Chilli the Labrador’s appearance as Linda Biscuits on the popular Friday night show has become a running joke for the series, and a petition was even started to bring her back, after the comedian host said she had been fired.
Now back by popular demand, the gorgeous pup is part of the comedy programme’s filming team, though she does like to only focus on sausages when she is behind the camera on set in Birmingham.
Speaking to Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2 Joe Lycett quipped: “She’s become this whole character in the show after what started as one joke.
“It’s like does Linda Biscuits now run this thing? Is she going to be hosting the whole show?”
But who is the real Linda Biscuits? Chilli the Labrador is owned by Rachel Bean, who is the nation’s top canine first aider.
Since Chilli was ten weeks-old the pair have travelled the country giving first aid demonstrations to pet professionals and individuals, and Chilli’s demonstrations have already helped to save hundreds of canine lives.
Rachel, from Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, who is a qualified veterinary nurse, canine behaviourist and wrote the iPET Network’s qualification in Canine First Aid, said: “Chilli absolutely loves playing Linda Biscuits on Late Night Lycett, and we think she is the star of the show.
“It’s hilarious how much of a running joke her appearance has become, and despite his protestations we think that Joe is secretly loving sharing the limelight with a dog.
“But her real job, helping me show pet professionals how to save dog’s lives, is her true calling, she is amazing at our sessions and is trained to act out worst case scenarios, so that I can demonstrate what to do in that particular crisis.
“Without Chilli the courses would not be as engaging or fun, and she is the perfect sidekick. She is loving her TV fame, but there is so much more to her than simply Linda Biscuits.”
Chilli is no stranger to showbiz appearances and has appeared already in TV shows including Dragon’s Den and Judge Rinder.
Rachel co-owns the Vet on Set business, which sends vets to TV and film sets, ensuring that animal welfare for creatures like Chilli is the heart of all filming in the UK.
Rachel added: “Everyone loves to see animals on the big and small screen, but no one wants to watch animal stars who have been mistreated. Vet on Set is all about working with the animal during filming to ensure that they are comfortable, happy and that their needs are met at all times.
“We have worked on everything from Sky’s Brassic to a bingo advert, and it’s amazing to feel like we make a difference. All of the directors that we work with want the best for the animals on set, and this is the way that they make sure they are well taken care of.”
So, what is next for Chilli? Rachel says that the canine star has not let her Linda Biscuits stardom go to her head too much. But her agent Animal Direction, which is based in Media City, Manchester is open to offers.
“We have had so many former students get in touch to say they recognised Chilli on Late Night Lycett, but she’s keeping a level head. She loves coming out with me, and as long as treats are involved, she’s happy to give it a go.” Added Rachel.
Rachel Bean is our resident canine first aider, for more about Rachel go to Rachel Bean