Ben Fogle has threatened to sue the BBC and radio host Nihal Arthanayake for an ‘untrue and libellous’ statement
TV star Ben Fogle is engaged in an acrimonious Twitter spat and has threatened to sue the BBC and one of its radio presenters after a DJ called Mr Fogle a ‘wrong ‘un’ live on air over a row about dangerous dogs which Mr Fogle insists is a case of mistaken identity.
Dog-lover Ben Fogle, who made his name on BBC One’s Castaway and has recently hosted two shows about dog walking will present the countdown of the nation’s top 100 favourite dog breeds on ITV tomorrow night.
But BBC Radio Five Live host Nihal Arthanayake told his listeners Mr Fogle harbours a grudge against Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
On his lunchtime show Mr Arthanayake alleged Mr Fogle had once warned his own child against Staffies in front of the radio host’s family on a day out in London.
Mr Arthanayake said: ‘There is a very well known TV presenter who was once quite rude about my staffie, in public.
Nihal Arthanayake faces the prospect of a defamation lawsuit after an on-air comment sparked a bitter Twitter dispute
Twitter users egged on the fight after hearing the show but Mr Fogle reacted strongly after MailOnline brought it to his attention
‘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.”
‘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.’
After MailOnline contacted Mr Fogle’s representatives about this story he fired off an angry volley on Twitter – initially believing it was a caller who made the accusation
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
A spokeswoman for Mr Fogle told MailOnline 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’
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 accuding 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?’
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.’
Tomorrow night’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
Nihal Arthanayake’s Instagram feed is full of pictures of staffie Luna who is ‘constantly up for it’
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.