Oh boy, can he talk

Bondi’s TV vet sure loves his pet sub­ject, writes Erica Thomp­son

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - -

CHRIS Brown’s TV de­but of­fered a new twist on the old adage ‘‘never work with chil­dren or an­i­mals’’— never work with a kid who likes to talk a lot about an­i­mals.

The Syd­ney vet, who grew up sur­rounded by all crea­tures great and small cour­tesy of his fa­ther, the lo­cal vet, first ap­peared on cam­era as a four-year-old on the chil­dren’s show Romper Room.

All was go­ing well un­til host Miss Kim made the mis­take of ask­ing if any­one had any pets, Brown re­calls with a laugh.

‘‘To this point I’d been fairly shy, this lit­tle blond-haired kid just sit­ting on the edge of the stage,’’ Brown says. ‘‘But ap­par­ently I leapt across the group and grabbed the mi­cro­phone out of Miss Kim’s hand and looked straight down the cam­era.

‘‘Then I pro­ceeded to tell the world about the col­lec­tion of an­i­mals that we had, which was quite ex­ten­sive, with dad be­ing a vet.

‘‘I ran through the cow named Butch and the eight chick­ens, nam­ing each in­di­vid­u­ally, and there’s the dog, the cat, the finches, the don­key and what the don­key did and the fact that the dog did a lot of things that Dad said I couldn’t talk about.

‘‘I guess that was my in­tro­duc­tion to tele­vi­sion and it could have all ended very badly if the pro­duc­ers hadn’t been so tol­er­ant of this kid telling an­i­mal sto­ries.’’

Flash for­ward a few decades and Brown is still telling an­i­mal sto­ries, but this time he has his own show, Bondi Vet.

It was filmed over a year in the iconic Syd­ney beach­side sub­urb. Brown says it’s the per­fect back­drop for some of Aus­tralia’s most quirky an­i­mal tales.

‘‘Every­one’s try­ing to stand out and that rubs off on their choice of pets, so peo­ple tend to have ridicu­lous pets around Bondi,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s not just dogs and cats. We’ve seen peo­ple with kan­ga­roos and some­one has a goat. I’ve been looking af­ter a sick pen­guin.

‘‘It’s al­most as if we’ve lifted up Bondi and given it a shake and out from be­tween the cracks have fallen things you wouldn’t ex­pect, do­ing things you wouldn’t ex­pect.’’

Even af­ter six years, Brown says he’s still amazed by some of the things pet own­ers ask for.

‘‘Cer­tainly, they want their pets to be healthy and that’s where we come in, but some of the ex­tra re­quests that we get for ‘en­hance­ments’ . . . it’s quite in­ter­est­ing.

‘‘There is one that we did about a month ago. I can’t say too much about him, but let’s say he’s looking a lot younger than he used to.’’

Though Brown hopes view­ers get a laugh out of many of the sto­ries, Bondi Vet has a se­ri­ous side.

‘‘Peo­ple should be pre­pared to be taken from the most amus­ing thing they’ve ever seen an an­i­mal do through to some of the most heart­break­ing things you’ve ever seen peo­ple do to an­i­mals,’’ he says.

‘‘But hope­fully there’s enough light and shade there that peo­ple will leave this show smil­ing.’’

Light and shade:

Chris Brown, with dogs Abbey and Ge­orgie on Bondi Beach in Syd­ney, says peo­ple ask for some weird things. Pic­ture: JEREMY PIPER

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.