Mutts and millions: how Kay Mellor rethought The Syndicate after getting a shih tzu

Mutts and millions: how Kay Mellor rethought The Syndicate after getting a shih tzuMarch 30, 2021

The drama series about lottery winners is back. And this time, thanks to a very talented shih tzu called Happy, it’s exploited kennel-workers who have hit the jackpot. The veteran TV writer reveals all

There’s a dog in the new series of The Syndicate that’s small, white and fluffy. Caninewise, that’s not my cup of tea at all. Yet I was struck by its tremendous acting. This dog is a genuine talent, packing a huge range of emotions into its tiny face, while displaying considerable comic timing. As I watched the drama, written by Kay Mellor, I wondered how you would train an animal to be so skilful. Well, it turns out it’s Happy, Mellor’s own pet dog.

Happy, a shih tzu, is one of the reasons why Mellor rethought season four of the BBC show. As its name suggests, The Syndicate is about people who win the lottery, with a different group followed in each series. The first was set in a Leeds supermarket, the second in a Bradford hospital, the third in an ailing stately home near Scarborough. And now, thanks in part to Happy, the latest series returns to Leeds, to follow a bunch of kennel-workers.

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