The Diary with Colin Drury: Vicar’s dog collared by celebrity status

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SHE’S spent the last eight weeks starring in one of the UK’s most watched prime time TV shows.

But it seems Walkley born-and-bred vicar Kate Bottley, who has been appearing in Channel 4’s Bafta-winning Gogglebox, is only the second most famous member of her household.

Her dog Buster has been officially recognised as the unexpected hit star of the Friday night programme, which attracts some 3.5 million viewers. And it’s all because of his rather, er, exhibitionist way of lying.

“I’ve just had Heat magazine on the phone,” the 39-year-old vicar of the churches of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill tells The Diary today. “They wanted to, um, interview him.

“I’ve done some unusual things as a vicar but I’ve never had to answer questions as a dog before. When I go out and people recognise me, all they want to do is talk about Buster.”

He’s even got his own Twitter page. It has more than 3,000 followers.

So, why such a hit with The Great British Public? Because of his backside, it appears.

Gogglebox, for the uninitiated, captures the reactions of ordinary people watching ordinary TV shows in their own homes. Every week, for the last two months, Kate and husband Graham have been filmed in their lounge while viewing a selection of programmes.

“Buster always watches with us but he lies in such a way that all you can see on Gogglebox is his back legs, bum and willy,” explains Kate. “Apparently that’s made him a star. He also jumped up at one point and kicked a cup of tea all over Graham. I think people found that adorable. Although maybe not Graham.

“It’s amazing. Here’s me working hard to promote the good the Church of England does and he causes a bit of havoc and becomes a national treasure.”

Now, after the series finished last week, Kate (and Buster) will find out if they are to have another 15 minutes of fame in the autumn. That’s when Gogglebox producers will tell them if they are wanted to reappear in the next series.

“If they ask us again I’ll have to speak to bishops and archdeacons and people like that to see if that’s something they’d be happy with,” says Kate, who was an RE teacher at Ecclesfield School and Yewlands Technology College before taking up her, er, dog collar. “The whole point of doing this was to show Christians as normal people with normal interests. The reaction I‘ve had suggests that’s worked but we would have to make sure everyone felt the same.”

And before that producers have promised to bring that Bafta round.

“We didn’t get to go to the ceremony when the show won,” she says. “But they’ve said they might bring the award round so we can see it. I think we might celebrate by having tea with it in the middle of the table. Obviously, we’d have the best china out that night.”