Husband and wife duo, Camilla Sacre Dallerup and Kevin Sacre, are two of the UK's best known TV stars. Camilla is best known for her role as a starring dancer in BBC'S Strictly Come Dancing and Kevin is known for his character, Jake Dean, in Channel 4's Hollyoaks.
Meeting on the set of TV show 'The Underdog' in 2008, they talk to K9 Magazine about how that Summer changed their lives from then on and touring the country in the stage show, Calendar Girls - plus Camilla's plans for an autobiography cross self help book and their support of all things dog, including the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People's latest campaign!
Tell us about your dog - we'd like to know everything about him!
Kevin: Sven is now around 4 ½ years old, I met him when I took part in The Underdog Show. When I first started, I had to walk past four dogs and choose one. When I first saw him he was looking really sorry for himself, he's a white dog but has a pink underneath and his ears were down. The trainer who I was teamed with, Julie, walked with me and she said lets walk back so we went back to Sven and as I was standing there in front of him I wondered how many people had looked at him before, he was 1 ½ years old at the time, and walked away. Once I thought that I said 'ok, let's choose him'. When we took him outside he was like a pinball running around the garden, he was so full of energy, not like how he appeared in the kennel at all.
Julie told me the kennel he has is most likely the only home he's really known, he was found straying in Liverpool/Warrington and that's how he ended up with the Dogs Trust. I used to live around there so I think he was just walking around and looking for me.
When he first went back to the kennels, bearing in mind Julie had said it was like the only home he'd every known, we expected him to be happy to go back in but he wasn't, he was looking at me and didn't want to go back in. I think we were meant to be together.
The show ran for 8-10 weeks I think and so for every show all the dogs would travel up and would be crated, then travel back. Whenever Sven was there he just used to track me, he'd be watching me from a distance and I remember asking them if I could just take him home with me instead of him having to go back but I couldn't while she show was still running.
We eventually won the show, it was a pretty good Summer for me. I came out of it with Sven and met my future wife in Camilla!
When did your interest in pets/animals begin and how long have you been a pet owner?
Camilla: I had a German Shepherd for 13 years and always wanted another dog but I thought my lifestyle and working so much would make it difficult, I wondered how a dog would fit in but when I met Kevin on The Underdog Show and he rehomed Sven after that show, it was a case of I had no choice, Kevin and Sven were a package and it suddenly all fit. The things I'd worried about weren't an issue, we made it work and everything else fit in around.
Camilla, you're currently starring as Elaine in Calendar Girls touring theatres across the UK. It's another step in a really varied career, how are you enjoying the change from dancing and modelling to acting?
C: Touring is great and we've made it work for Sven, he comes everywhere with us and people love him. He's been a real hit with everyone he's met! Don't get me wrong, touring and finding accommodation has taken a lot of planning, there's more places which aren't pet friendly than you'd expect which was slightly frustrating, but it's worked out perfectly now. In fact I think we know the country by dog walks now!
I love the interaction you get with the audience on stage, I also do motivational speaking and I really love that. I always knew as a child I'd be on the stage and entertaining has been my life so far really.
Are you enjoying working with Kevin on stage?
C: We're very good at leaving the theatre and leaving work behind so that at home we're just hanging out and enjoying being together so we try and keep things separate. We've also had separate dressing rooms and little things like that so that when we're at work, people get to know us individually rather than us as husband and wife. Kevin has worked with some of our cast before aswell.
Outside of work, I also have my health and wellbeing column which I love and Kevin has his photography.
And Kevin, going back to theatre where you first started must be great. What is it about theatre that you love?
K: It's great, I love theatre. I think it's because of the instant gratification you get from the applause, whereas with TV and films, you don't have that. You don't know what people think straight away.
I think being on stage gives you such an adrenaline boost being infront of the audience and Calendar Girls is a great play. It's so cleverly written, everyone knows about the film, the theatre show is more snappy than the film, mainly because it has to be because of the passage of time but lots of people have said it's better because of that.
We're on tour with Calendar Girls from August-December and then January again for the final tour.
I like my characters, I have two in the show and it's nice to play something different to the psycho from Hollyoaks! I also love panto season which is coming up, I think it's so much fun and it's brilliant to introduce the younger generation to theatre. Don't get me wrong, panto is mind shattering and physically shattering but it's brilliant.
Does panto extend the Christmas fun for you?
K: It doesn't really, I think I loose a sense of Christmas. In TV for example, you start filming for Christmas so much earlier, maybe end of October time/early November and by the time Christmas is here you've maybe has seven or eight Christmas dinners already.
It's the same with panto really, you're in Christmas mode so much earlier that by the time Christmas is actually here you're knackered with only one day off.
But, that all said I embrace it for all of those reasons.
You do a lot of work with dog charities, such as Hearing Dogs for the Deaf People and Dogs Trust. Is that down to Sven primarily?
C: We worked with the Dogs Trust while filming The Underdog Show and we saw the great work they do which inspired us. As for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, actually, I got involved in a fundraising campaign for them when I set myself a challenge to learn to sing in a year and then take to the stage and sing. I thought it would be great for me because it would show me some of the hard work I used to put the celebrities through on Strictly Come Dancing by learning something new and I've been involved with them since then.
I was recently judging a competition for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and read stories about amazing lifesaving dogs and I sat in awe at these dogs and what they go through, dogs who detect seizures, one dog alerted the owner to their daughter choking and another dog who woke their owner up to take insulin for their diabetes – it's just amazing.
Do you have a motto that you live your life by? What would you say Sven's motto might be?
C: Mine would be 'don't quit'. There's a poem called 'Don't Quit' which I used to read all the time. It's basically reminding you that sometimes things are uphill, keep trying and working hard and eventually you will succeed. In my motivational speeches I say my overnight success came after 20 years of hard work and I think it's true.
K: Sven's would be 'if I can lick it, I will'. Mine would be always try and improve I think.
If you were to swap roles with Sven for a day, how do you think he'd cope being you and what would you most love about being him?
C: It would be brilliant! He's so spoilt, he lies on his back and gets lots of tickles, takes big walks and has a lovely life. I think I'd really enjoy being Sven, he's carefree. Everything's done for him and his life is without worry.
K: Sven's such a character, I think it would be great to be him. Everyone loves him. He's very intelligent, so I think he'd cope well as me on stage.
For this question, we ask our celebs to match up the following people’s personality to a breed of dog, for example, Winston Churchill = Bulldog or J.Lo = Afghan Hound, Frank Bruno = Boxer etc. If the following celebrities and dog lovers were breeds of dogs, based on their personalities alone, what type of breed do you think they'd be...
Tom Chambers (Camilla won Strictly Come Dancing partnered with Tom) – C: He'd be a Collie. Always running around and busy doing things.
Claudia Winkleman – C: She's be a Lurcher, she always wears really tall shoes!
Ian Waite – C: He's probably be a small dog, he loves small dogs in fact I think he'll end up owning one. I think he'd be a King Charles Spaniel.
Ricky Gervais – K: I think he'd be a Bulldog. If he could get away with it he'd sleep all of the time. But when he's busy, he's always doing something.
Ali Bastian - K: Ooh, she'd be a very graceful Afghan Hound. Immaculately presented, like she was ready for a show.
Which do you prefer and why?
Big dogs or little dogs – K: I like big dogs. Dogs that are manly that you can have a good play with. I did think initially that Sven was a bit small, but he's a power house.
C: I love them all, I'd love to own another German Shepherd and a Boxer maybe.
Pedigree dogs or x breeds – C: It's more about the personality for me, but I have to say there's something about cross-breeds that I really love, there's something distinctive about them. The dog I was partnered with in The Underdog Show was a German Shepherd cross Collie.
Days off or days at work – K: Days at work. Although saying that, our work is more like play than work. I think if you do something you love, it doesn't really feel like work.
Describe the last time you laughed outloud because of something you saw Sven do.
C: Oh it has to be the time when we were sitting around and Sven was there, the next minute he was in the wardrobe. It was so funny, he just disappeared and there he was in the wardrobe. He was like the wardrobe mistress.
If you had the choice to arrange a dinner party taking three people (choosing from any era, past or present), who would you choose?
K: Well, let me think. Firstly I'd choose Freud, because being psycho analysed is always good. Then Salvador Dali because I think he'd be fascinating to watch, let alone listen to, from what I've read. And thirdly Rupert Murdoch because I'd like to ask him lots of awkward questions.
Tell us something about you that no one else knows.
C: I'm a trained estate agent, I did an apprenticeship before I came to the UK.
What is your current favourite…?
TV show – C: The Good Wife, I love it.
K: I flick channels a lot so I could pick loads.
Film – C: It has to be 'Life Is Beautiful'.
K: I was going to say that!
Book – C: I love 'You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay, I take it with me when I travel.
K: My all time favourite book is 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel.
If you could sum it up, what do you think is the best thing about being a dog owner?
C: He's like our baby. We adore him and he always has such a happy face. I think it's the simple things in life like a tail wagging that make you smile. Our life is so much more outdoors with Sven. Home life is so much different to stage life, it's the complete opposite. Having a dog brings that and I think gives you a balance to life.
I also thing having a dog means you have more of an active outdoor life which is great for exercising, so it doesn't matter if it's raining, you have go to out for a walk so just pull on some wellies. Being indoors for so long aswell sometimes it's just refreshing to go for a run in the fresh air.
K: I think you get an honesty back from a dog that you don't get from humans and I think that makes you in turn become a better person.
Finish the following sentence, my dog is...
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but….If Sven had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask him and what do you think that he would say?
C: I'd ask him 'do you love me' and I think he'd say 'yes, I do'!
K: 'I'd ask him 'are you happy' and I hope he'd say 'yes, but not when you leave me alone at home for a couple of hours'.
Many Thanks Camilla & Kevin!
Camilla & Kevin Were Speaking With Kim O'Meara