A DOG groomer was “humbled” to be chosen as a competitor on a popular pet makeover show.

Helen Kirby from Hove appeared in the third episode of BBC One's Pooch Perfect, which sees professional dog groomers from around the country compete for the title of the UK’s best, and celebrates the nation's love of dogs.

The 29-year-old, who started training other budding pooch-pamperers at the Bone Idol Academy in Hove when it opened last autumn, had applied to be on the programme while bored in lockdown.

The Argus: Helen Kirby Helen Kirby

Helen said: “During lockdown I didn’t feel very challenged so I applied for Pooch Perfect.

“I didn’t think I would even get through the first round but I ended up on the show and we filmed it in August.

READ MORE: Bone Idol Academy 'inundated' with applications amid pandemic

“I was so nervous to be competing as I was up against some really talented dog groomers and was humbled to even be in the same category.

“It was terrifying watching it back but also very funny.”

The Argus:

Helen was competing with four other dog groomers and was set two challenges - firstly to do the standard cut on a surprise breed, and then to do a more complex cut on a breed of her choice.

Despite being given a breed she doesn’t often groom in Brighton - a cocker spaniel - Helen came in second place on her first task.

She said: “The most popular breeds we see in Brighton are cockapoos or anything crossed with a poodle. Miniature schnauzers, French bulldogs and Boston terriers are also really popular.

“Cocker spaniels are more like country dogs and I don’t work with them a lot but I actually came second in that task.

“In the next challenge we had to scissor a spiral pattern into a dog’s coat and I chose a poodle.

The Argus: Helen tackling the second task with a poodleHelen tackling the second task with a poodle

“It was actually the first time I’d ever done a spiral on a real dog - and I did it on TV. It was really tough as it’s not the kind of thing people usually ask for - but I’d do it all over again."

Helen originally worked at the Bone Idol shop and grooming parlour in St James’s Street after ditching an office job to follow her passion.

She said: “I used to do office work and I was really bored - it was not the right kind of challenge.

“I thought dog grooming was more of a hobby than a job and never thought I would make a living from it, but I went to do a Level One dog-grooming course at Plumpton College and loved it.

“You have to be passionate about dogs of course - that’s the main reason people go into it, so they can work with dogs rather than people, and also have to have an element of creativity.”

The Argus: Helen's grooming work on cocker spaniel Teddy being judged in the showHelen's grooming work on cocker spaniel Teddy being judged in the show

Bone Idol founder Scott Learmouth said he and the team were “so proud” to sit down and watch Helen in the show.

He said: "What a complete star. She did us, the profession and the wonderful city of Brighton and Hove proud.

"The new Bone Idol Academy in Hove, run by Helen, is all about creating a professional and friendly teaching environment.

“It also enables us to make a positive impact on the dog grooming industry at large."

Helen appears in episode three of Pooch Perfect, which is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

For more information on Bone Idol Academy, visit www.boneidol.co.uk/academy.