It’s a (gay) dog’s life for Mr Robinson

Coronation Street star Patricia Phoenix on her pets

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 11 November 1962

THIS is the story of Mr. Robinson, and the night he was snatched from the lip of the grave by Patricia Phoenix — Elsie Tanner of Coronation Street.

You won’t know Mr. Robinson. He was just another mongrel pup of obscure parentage, scrawny, sick and starving — the sort of stray you would find wandering around the centre of any big city in Britain.

The city in Mr. Robinson’s case is Manchester, where he was picked up and taken to a home for stray dogs. Life wasn’t too bad for him for a while. He had a place to sleep and some good, solid food.

But the dogs’ home can’t afford to feed stray dogs forever. And as no one had come along to claim him. Mr. Robinson faced execution.

That was when Patricia Phoenix came into the picture.

Pat Phoenix with two dogs
A smiling Pat Phoenix hugs her two pets – Mr. Robinson the mongrel, left, and Mr. Smith, the corgi

Pat had just lost one of her own two dogs, Scamp. He had been knocked down in the road outside her home — and her pedigree corgi, Mr. Smith, was pining for him.

“At first I thought of buying another pedigree dog like Mr. Smith,” said Pat. “and then I remembered how much fun we had had with Scamp.

“He was a mongrel I found outside the studios, being led away to a dogs’ home and eventual execution, too.

“So I decided to get in touch with the home again and find out if there were any other mongrels due to be destroyed.”

There were indeed. A number of dogs, including Mr Robinson, were destined to be killed the following day.

The home closed at five o’clock that evening, and Pat couldn’t get away from the studios in time to get there.

In view of the exceptional circumstances, however, the authorities agreed to waive their rules and let Pat visit the home in the evening to choose a dog.

And it didn’t take her long to select Mr. Robinson.


“I couldn’t leave him there to die,” said Pat, when I met her the other day, exercising an exuberant Mr Smith and a regenerated Mr. Robinson.

“It was the way he looked at me — like the saddest little dog in the world.”

Mr. Robinson, I’m told, is settling down very comfortably in Pat’s elegant Cheshire home. And life, it seems, isn’t always such a dog’s life, after all. Even for stray dogs.

“It was a pity we couldn’t save all the dogs that were due to be destroyed, though,” said Pat. “You’d think there would be enough people in a place as big as Manchester to find homes for a handful of strays, wouldn’t you?”

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