It was meeting a collie called Hey Hey, a direct descendant of the first dog to play Lassie, that gave author and film journalist Wendy Mitchell the idea for her new book, Citizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies. “I would melt into floods of tears when I saw a dog on screen,” she says, and so she created a book celebrating famous dog performances in Hollywood history, from Chaplin’s co-star Scraps in A Dog’s Life to the great Dane in Marmaduke. After spending a year watching dog films, Mitchell believes animals on screen should be recognised more, and calls on Bafta and the Oscars to have a best animal award category. She describes how dogs provoke emotions in humans, but their own feelings are “magic” when captured on film, citing the mutt in the 1974 classic Benji whose “big brown eyes” could show so much. “Even that old curmudgeon Alfred Hitchcock confessed he was a big Benji fan,” she says.