Ben Fogle has threatened to sue the BBC and radio host Nihal Arthanayake for an ‘untrue and libellous’ statement
Ben Fogle has insisted he has ‘calmed down’ as he shrugged off an extraordinary spat over dangerous dogs with BBC Five Live’s Nihal Arthanayake.
In a tweet posted last night the presenter, who had threatened to sue the BBC for an ‘untrue and libellous statement’, said he is now focusing his efforts on ITV’s Britain’s Top 100 Dogs Live 2019, which is set to be aired tonight.
He said: ‘I’ve calmed down (I stroked Storm who Is now snuggled in my hotel room bed) Off to sleep for our big dogathon tomorrow. See you live at 19.30 on. And yes. Staffies will most defiantly be included.’
Fogle had become angered after learning that Arthanayake claimed that he had a grudge against Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Arthanayake alleged Fogle had once warned his own child against Staffies in front of the radio host’s family on a day out at Queen’s Park in North West London.
The tweet prompted others to share photos of their own dogs with Fogle, and earlier today Arthanayake also commented on the issue on air.
He said: ‘On yesterday’s show I said that the presenter Ben Fogle had made a comment a few years ago, in a London park, about staffies being dangerous dogs.
Fogle tweeted that he had ‘calmed’ down following the Twitter argument
‘Ben says, he has never been to the park in question, and that it must be a case of mistaken identity. He wants us to make clear that he loves staffies and that he and his family has spent a lot time with them.’
The row started after it emerged that BBC Radio Five Live host Nihal Arthanayake had told his listeners Mr Fogle harbours a grudge against Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Mr Arthanayake said: ‘There is a very well known TV presenter who was once quite rude about my staffie, in public.
‘My wife is in Queen’s Park, right? And she’s with our kids, and our staffie.
‘And this fella, has his kid, and goes up to his kid, and says: ‘Don’t go near that dog. They’re nasty dogs. Or, they’re dangerous dogs.’
Nihal Arthanayake (lefT) faces the prospect of a defamation lawsuit after an on-air comment sparked a bitter Twitter dispute between him and Ben Fogle (right)
‘My wife is there, with our kids, and with the dog. And he says it so loudly that she can hear him saying it.
‘And from that day on I’ve just been like ‘nah, that guy is a wrong’un’
‘I’m not going to tell you it was Ben Fogle.’
Mr Arthanayake’s co-host then broke the news that Mr Fogle was due to present the ITV run-down, to which he replied: ‘You’re kidding me. He was so rude.
‘My wife came back to me and said, ‘this guy!’. My wife was very upset.’
A spokeswoman for Mr Fogle told MailOnline yesterday that the TV presenter was ‘absolutely incensed at this uncorroborated, hurtful and false allegation’.
She added: ‘Apart from the fact that he has never been to Queen’s Park in his life, more importantly there is not a breed of dog on this earth that he does not love.
‘No-one who knows Ben would believe this absolute rubbish’.
On Twitter the TV star went further, promising legal action. In a Tweet he wrote: ‘I have just been sent a recording from @TherealNihal show on @bbc5live earlier in which a caller made an untrue and libellous accusation about a fictions encounter. I have never even visited Queens Park. I will be seeking legal action. I LOVE all dogs especially Staffies #woof’
Nihal Arthanayake’s Instagram feed is full of pictures of staffie Luna who is ‘constantly up for it’
Twitter users egged on the fight after hearing the show but Mr Fogle reacted strongly after MailOnline brought it to his attention
He added: ‘Dear @bc5live and @TherealNihal why did you broadcast an unsubstantiated, untrue story about me without even asking? I have never even been to Queens Park. I LOVE staffies and grew up surrounded by them in my fathers veterinary surgery. Not cool.’
In a later Tweet is warned the Corporation would be ‘hearing from his lawyers’.
After Mr Fogle hit back on Twitter the row deepened, with Mr Arthanayake accusing Mr Fogle of calling his wife a liar.
Mr Arthanayake added: ‘She swears it was you and in fact she came home and told me about it straight away. it was around nine years ago.
‘She was incensed at the time as she was with our two very small children. Why would she lie about it being you?’
He asked the host and the broadcaster why he had not been contacted for comment prior to broadcast
Mr Fogle is already gearing up for a lawsuit tonight – with proceeds headed for Staffie charities
The former Castaway star replied pointing out that timeframe would have meant one of his children was just two months old and the other not yet born, adding ‘Mistaken identity? I don’t know. But it WASN’T ME. I LOVE staffies mate.’
In a later tweet he added: ‘I’m saying it’s a case of mistaken identity. Not all posh sounding people are me.’
Tonight’s ITV show will run through the top dog breeds as voted for by the public.
In last year’s poll Labradors came top with a massive 41 per cent of the vote, followed by ‘mixed breed’ with 22 per cent. Border Collies came in third (18 per cent) and Jack Russels were in fourth with 13 per cent, followed by Staffies at six per cent.
This year’s poll, which will be broadcast live from 7.30pm on ITV, will run down the chart from 100 to 10 but the final top ten breeds will be decided in the live countdown with the voting open to everyone watching at home.
During the ill-tempered spat Nihal Arthanayake posted pictures of his beloved Staffordshire Bull Terrier Luna
Dog-lover Mr Fogle has promoted the forthcoming broadcast on his Twitter feed
The nation has already been voting and this initial poll has determined which breed of dog has made it into the top ten – but the final ranking will be decided by the viewers.
The ten breeds in the live final are: Springer Spaniel, Labrador, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, Cockapoo, Boxer, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Mixed Breed
To vote for your favourite breed of dog go to www.itv.com/vote.