We all love animals – don’t we?

Britain is home to more than 16 million pet dogs and cats*. But every year, some 250,000 domestic animals* find themselves abandoned to the care of rescue centres.

In 2016, animal charities reported sharp increases in cases of stray and unwanted pets coming through their doors, some dealing with record intakes. Now, more than ever, this displaced pet population needs help.

To highlight this plight, Channel 4 has commissioned Clear the Shelter, a unique five-day live event stripped across the week from Monday to Friday. Its aims: a call to action for the nation to provide forever homes for these displaced, deserving dogs and cats, rabbits and birds – and the chance of a happy ending for each and every one, and to dismantle the stigma associated with rescue animals and encourage would-be owners to consider them first over buying a young pet.

Based in the Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter, PROFESSOR NOEL FITZPATRICK and STEVE JONES hope to Clear the Shelter by helping to rehome all the centre’s animals by the end of the week. Across the country, many more rescue centres will also be taking part, and viewers looking to buy an animal will be encouraged to go to their local centre instead. KATE QUILTON will be the show’s resident reporter, taking us to the front line of the rehoming process and following adoptions as they happen in real time.

Throughout the series, viewers will be directed to a special website and dedicated network of experts ready to advise and help them begin the process of adopting an animal. As the process of adoption commences applicants will be subject to strict protocols (precisely in line with the featured shelters) to ensure the safety of animal adoptees.

Ed Coulthard, Executive Producer said: “Thousands of animals end up being abandoned every year – as the makers of Supervet, we’re thrilled that Channel 4 has given us the chance to raise public awareness of this.  There are so many great pets out there in shelters across the country looking for a loving home and Clear the Shelter aims to involve viewers in a national campaign. With Steve Jones and Professor Noel Fitzpatrick at the helm this is a live series that really hopes to make a difference.”

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick said: “Through raising awareness of the fun, love and hope that rehoming an animal can bring to families everywhere, I genuinely think that we speak a language of joy and compassion, and I think that this is a fantastic message to put out into the world right now.”

Steve Jones said: “I love animals, I love live TV and I love The Supervet.  This is going to be a great show with a great purpose. Can’t wait.”

Tim Hancock, Commissioning Editor at C4 said: “We’re so glad to be working with Blast on this audacious and vital project. As an event, it has the potential to shift Britain’s attitudes towards adopting rescue animals, and as a series, it will make for unmissable TV as the country comes together to clear the shelters.”

Clear the Shelter is a Blast! Films production. Series Producer is Andy Smith, Series Editor is Dermot Caulfield and the Executive Producer is Ed Coulthard. The series was commissioned for Channel 4 by Tim Hancock, Commissioning Editor for Features and Daytime, and Gill Wilson, Head of Features.

Contact: Julie Pickford, jpkfrd@aol.com

Broadcast date August TBC

Note to editors:

For over 20 years, Blast! Films has maintained a reputation as one of the most distinctive production companies in the UK. Its output covers a wide range, from ground-breaking feature films like Hunger and The Death of Klinghoffer, through to popular factual series like 999: What’s Your Emergency? (Channel 4), and Saving Lives at Sea (BBC ONE). More recently Blast has been responsible for Reported: Missing (BBC ONE), The Secret Life of the Zoo and nine seasons of The Supervet (both for Channel 4).


ADCH, 2017