Biography.

The first time I saw the inside of a T.V. studio was when I was six years old and was chosen to appear on BBC T.V.’s ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ programme. I had been playing the piano for almost a year by then and I was desperate to meet, and duet with Jonathan Cohen, who played the gorgeous white piano on the children’s programme ‘Play Away’. My dream came true in February of 1979, and I was absolutely enthralled with performing and television. I cried non-stop for a month after it all ended, I had loved it that much.

Music was my main focus growing up, and I loved playing the piano so much that I would sit and play all day – I used to have to be dragged off the stool to eat and go to bed! I discovered shortly after starting lessons on my sixth birthday that I had ‘perfect pitch’ – the best kind, which means that I can tell you the name of any note played on any instrument, or the note a vacuum cleaner hums on, or the key that the telephone rings in, or …. along with being able to listen to any piece of music and have the note names reciting in my head as I listen, as well as knowing without having to think, what keys the music is passing through from start to finish. I am grateful that I have learnt how to control it, and now have the ‘key to the off switch,’ so I can, when I choose,  just listen to music without  having a constant running  commentary going on in my head!

I won a major music scholarship to study as a Junior Exhibitioner at The Royal Academy of Music in London, at the age of eight, then continuing my piano and violin studies at Trinity College of Music until I was fifteen. I was awarded another music scholarship to study for my A levels at Sevenoaks School, and then won a place at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, to read music when I was eighteen, and won the Instrumental Prize for performance during my first year.

During that time, I had managed to become the only person to have two Jim’ll Fix It badges to their name, as I wrote back to the show when I was 17, saying that I had improved my piano playing a great deal since the original show when I was six, and could we repeat it again …the producers obviously liked the idea, as I got to do it all over again, and loved it just as much! The final ever Jim’ll Fix It programme was a look back at 20 years of the show, and was broadcast in December 1994, just a few months after I graduated from Oxford.  I was the only ‘Fixee’ invited to perform on the show. I played Gershwin’s own arrangement of  ‘I Got Rhythm’, I’d been fascinated with the piece, since Jonathan Cohen had played a part of it during the original ‘Fix-it’ all those years ago.

Then along came Pepper and then Chandi, and Freestyle, and the rest is history. I had definitely found my passion, and after Id figured out how to actually train a dog and then invent moves and put them with carefully chosen music, I have loved every routine since! I always feel I’m competing against myself to come up with new and innovative ideas that really push the boundaries of what has gone before, and Chandi and I are responsible for inventing many of the moves that you will see performed by other people in competition, such as the many hind leg moves (Chandi actually thought up the beautiful back to back move), but some moves remain unique to us – our sequence of moves where Chandi is on her hind legs and follows me, then we turn so she is leading and then we are moving in opposite directions, is one example,  along with the One Tempi (skipping), and Chandi holding an object with her front paws, amongst others … We are always flattered when we see other people like our moves enough to attempt them with their own dog – Chandi, though,  is always the original and the best!

Through our  Freestyle performances, Chandi and I have been invited to appear on T.V. numerous times, and our appearances include, Blue Peter (twice), The Crufts programme,  When Will I be Famous, Richard and Judy, Britain’s Got Talent, BBC Breakfast, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, This Week, Daybreak (twice), The Hour (STV) and This Morning.

Having won all three Crufts Heelwork to Music and Freestyle competitions in 2009, we have chosen not to defend our titles since then, preferring to work on other  exciting projects, such as our DVD (click here). We both feel that we have nothing left to prove as we have won every major competition  in the country many times over – Chandi and I have four Crufts titles to our name; we won the  very first Freestyle competition to be held at Crufts and we were the first to win all three competitions in the same year. There is something very special about being the first to achieve such things!

Just because we have not competed at Crufts for the last couple of years does not mean that Chandi has retired – far from it!


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15 Responses to Biography.

  1. Patricia Muccigrosso says:

    You are music…it is in your soul and in the soul of the small puppy who found you all those years ago. I loved the video but love even more your compassion, your heart and your beauty. I hope the two of you have many more wonderful and musical years.

  2. Janet says:

    You seemed to have enjoyed life to the full,good on you.
    Love the photo,all three of you look great.xx

    It’s always lovely to see such a wonderful bond 🙂

  3. Dr. Terry Merrill says:

    I am the pastor of a church in Albany, Oregon. I just saw you and Chandi on a You Tube video (to music called ‘I Giorni’ by Ludovico Einaud). Is an “original” copy of this available for purchase – one that I can project onto a larger screen? It’s a tremendous and absolutely beautiful illustration of the kind of relationship God seeks with us.

  4. Monika Fritz says:

    Hello Tina,

    congratulation to your 3 victorys on cruft 2009 🙂

    We would like organize a workshop with you

    I write from Austria/Vienna. Please can you contact me

    Thank you very much

    Monika Fritz

  5. Monika Fritz says:

    Hello Tina,

    congratulation to your 3 victorys on cruft 2009 🙂

    We would like organize a workshop with you

    I write from Austria/Vienna. Please can you contact me

    Thank you very much

    Monika Fritz

  6. Yvonne Done says:

    Hi Tina,
    It was great to meet you after your HTM @ Crufts 2009, do you remember the couple that came up to congratulate you on your performance, and your choice of music! Dr. Terry Merrill is right that your dancing was a ‘beautiful illustration of the kind of relationship God seeks with us.’ It really meant a lot to both of us! And, we loved seeing such a great partnership in action!
    Our daughter is a dancer, so we loved your freestyle routine!
    I hope you are both well.
    Keep Dancin!
    Love Yvonne and Robert

  7. Digitalpiano says:

    great stuff. well done.

  8. Alice swift-simpkin says:

    Hi Tina,

    I work on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross the BBC One Friday night chat show. I wonder if I could give you a call to talk to you about the possibility of you and Chandi coming on the show?

    Please feel free to email me and I can call you back on this email address or my telephone number is (removed by TinaandChandi)

  9. KC Wilson says:

    Every time I watch the video of you and your dog doing dressage it makes me cry. I love that you two are so bonded and your dog seems to be loving every second of it. I can also appreciate how much time it took to teach all your routines but I think the dressage is the most beautiful because of the music and grace, no visible cues to Chandi.

  10. Guy Cremnitz says:

    Dear Tina,

    I just saw the performance of you and Chandi on “Britain’s Got Talent” and would like to express my congratulations and admiration for what you have done. Since we last met in Shrewsbury, you have come a long way; and have shown a great talent with dogs. Your performance was splendid; and I think you well deserve the success that will be yours.

    With all the best wishes,

    Guy Cremnitz

  11. jonas woodward says:

    hello,
    im 14 years old and im an incredible fan
    ive 100% followed you throughout britains got talent and have supported you all the way
    i would love to speak to you by email
    chandi is a very special dog
    it was destiny for you to find her
    from jonas x

  12. Claire says:

    Hi Tina,
    We are so lucky when special dogs join us. Pepper and Chandi were destined to be part of your life and I totally understand what they will always mean to you.
    I compile books for animal charities and would love to send you one as a thankyou for the hours of hard work you must have put in to create your ‘dances’ on BGT. Just wonderful.
    Please let me know where I can send it.
    May you have many beautiful years together with Chandi.
    Love Claire x

  13. Holly says:

    Hi Tina, I’m twelve years old and I really wanted you to win Britains Got Talent! I burst into tears when you were beaten by Spelbound. I love music too. I can play the recorder, I am practising for Grade 2 violin and I am learning keyboard.
    Love from Holly

  14. hannah says:

    Hey Tina!
    Omg, i just LOVED your dancing in britain’s got talent. Im 13 in january and when imma older, im gonna be just like you but train dogs in Greece!! Chandi is just gorgeous and i really wish you had one britains got talent. Spelbound was goooood…… but you were WAYY better. You are like a total role model for me!! I loved your biography by the way!! I haven’t got a dog but i’d love one! When imma older, i’ll live in greece with collies and a greyhound. Some reason collie’s of all types have touched my heart!! And greyhounds are soooo cute for some reason!! Anyway, you are my biggest role model. Im not sure i’ll get to Oxford or even a university especially as the price is sooo high but im defo gunna be like you!! 🙂 You’re amazing!! Give Chandi lots and lots of hugs and kisses for me!! 😀 lots of love, hannah xxxx

  15. kristiann1 says:

    You’re Very Talented Tina! I Just Love your Dog, she is a Super-Star! I watched your You-Tube Videos and Fell in Love with them!

    Love, Kristi

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