The period between Christmas and New Year has always been a strange one for TV schedules. The TV stations have not yet bothered to go back to the normal TV schedules, which makes sense since we’re only talking about a couple of days here. However, since many people have returned to work or have other things to do, it’s also not worth putting on any blockbuster films or Christmas specials during this time, so instead the TV schedules get filled with things you’ve probably seen many times before.
Digby The Biggest Dog In The World is a great example of the kind of filler material that the TV stations would show during this TV lapse period during the 1980’s. The film was made in 1973 so it was both old enough and of the right kind of quality to slot perfectly into the schedules. That’s not to say it’s a bad film, just that it’s not exactly a blockbuster. It stars both the late Spike Milligan and Jim Dale, who was in many of the later Carry On films.
The plot centres around the titular Digby, an Old English Sheepdog, who starts off the regular size for a dog, and his young owner Billy. Billy’s Mum Janine and her colleague Jeff both work as scientists at the nearby top secret military base. Funny isn’t it how these military bases are always top secret? Anyway, Janine and Jeff are working on the originally named Project X, which turns out to be a growth serum. No prizes for guessing what happens next…
…That’s right, Digby is accidentally fed the Project X formula, and begins to grow. Jeff ends up becoming keeper of the steadily growing dog, but Digby soon ends up being snatched to become an act at the circus that happens to be in town. Digby is still getting larger though and escapes into the country side, where he towers above trees and buildings.
Of course, the British military do take action the only way they know, by threatening to destroy the dog with the aid of guns and other military hardware.Â Thankfully, before this can happen young Billy is able to calm the distressed canine and delay the military just long enough that a shrinking formula can be devised to return Digby to his proper size.
It may be predictable in plot all the way through, but the film is packed with jokes and slapstick humour which will keep any kid amused, and there’s also a smattering of more adult comedy thrown in too for good measure.