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Olive and Mabel look forward to 2021 in heartwarming NYE dog video from Andrew Cotter

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 02/01/2021 Harriet Brewis

Sports pundit Andrew Cotter delighted Twitter users on New Year’s Eve with a heartwarming message from his internationally beloved dogs.

Cotter, 47, who became an overnight celebrity for the spoof commentary videos of Olive and Mabel during lockdown, treated fans to an optimistic look ahead to 2021 with a little help from the two Labradors.

His latest video, posted just after 11pm on Thursday, shows the pups head-to-head in an intense Monopoly battle, before Olive – the elder of the pair – huffs with apparent boredom.

“Look I know you’re both fed up with this year, we all just have to entertain ourselves at the moment,” Cotter says in his voiceover.

Focusing in on Mabel, he continues: “Worst year you can remember? Well you can’t remember last week, so that’s not a stinging appraisal.”

Turning to Olive, he says: “And you’ve loved it, having everyone at home all the time.

“Well things are definitely going to get better, so, Mabel first of all, what are you looking forward to in 2021?”

The action then cuts to a montage – complete with an epic-style soundtrack – of the dogs splashing through the sea, racing down snowy mountain slopes, leaping through dusky summer fields and chasing a tennis ball along the beach.

“God it’s as if Black Beauty suffered enormous budget cuts,” Cotter says, adding: “But yes, all of us can’t wait to get back and explore the world.”

He then poses the same question to Olive, whose own imagined longings show her greedily chomping through a bowl of dog food. That’s it.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait, is that all you want?” her bemused owner asks. “What? It’s all about attainable goals this year? And you just want to get back to doing normal stuff?”

The video ends with the trio continuing their festive board game session, this time switching to chess, before Cotter tells Mabel: “All right, go on then, go and get the Twister mat.”

The video was viewed more than 250,000 times in less than 11 hours, with social media users thanking the 47-year-old for bringing his pets – and some much needed joy – into their lives over 2020.

One fan tweeted a snap of her own pet, writing: “Happy new year to you, Olive and Mabel! What a year it's been for them. Thank you so much for bringing us endless joy, warmth and positivity this year in the shape of these relentlessly lovable dog companions. Best wishes for 2021 from mine to yours.”

Another wrote:“Cotter, you, Mabel and Olive have been THE winners in 2020. Wishing you an equally prosperous new year which will be happier when we hear more of your day job commentaries. All the best.”

When the UK entered its first national shutdown in March, Cotter’s work as a television sports commentator ground to a halt and to pass the time he put his observation skills into practice.

Just over nine months later, his videos of Olive and Mabel have been seen by millions of people around the world and Cotter is a published author.

The book, Olive, Mabel And Me: Life And Adventures With My Canine Companions, was released in October.

Scottish-born Cotter said the inspiration for the videos was taken from the 1990s sketch show Big Train in which renowned sports commentator Barry Davies earnestly described the World Stare-Out Championship.

“I had no idea that it was going to go into like that. I was going to commentate on various mundane things of a sports broadcaster commentating on everyday life because I’ve got nothing else to commentate on,” he said during an event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival earlier in the year.

“I eventually decided to commentate on the dogs. I was fortunate that it was the dogs because then that took off with a lot of people and it resonated with them as dog owners.”

Cotter, who prior to the coronavirus pandemic was better known for his TV coverage of golf, rugby, tennis and athletics, said he was concerned that now he may be seen as a joke commentator, so switched from providing humorous voiceovers on the dogs to putting them in human situations.

“I was concerned after the second one, Game of Bones, because it was even bigger and you don’t want to be the joke commentator because you do have to go back to work,” he said.

“This year was supposed to be the summer of Wimbledon, the Open, the Olympics.

“If you’re commentating on the Olympic opening ceremony and all people are thinking is, ‘that’s the guy that does the dogs’ then you’ve lost a bit of credibility.

“You do think you don’t want to be the joke commentator and that’s kind of why I wanted to move on to do little sketches and put them into human situations rather than just do commentary on them.”

Cotter said after the success of the videos he was approached by a Hollwood “bigwig” who he would not name who was interested in “taking this forward”.

“He’s a big dog lover and he said he’d love to do a series. I’m not sure that will happen, I think we’ve passed that moment now,” the 47-year-old said.

“I will continue making, if I can think of the ideas, films. If they (the dogs) continue to live the bizarre lives they do, I will continue to film. They make me laugh as much as anything else.

“Everything is so serious, so grim and so down at the moment and if you have 90 seconds of laughing with dogs, that the most important thing.”

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