Lovable English bull terrier from Buxton to make stage debut in Oliver!

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A lovable English bull terrier from Buxton is making its stage debut this week as Bullseye - from the classic musical Oliver!.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Romeo sports a brown patch around one eye similar to the original dog who played alongside Oliver Reed’s Bill Sykes in the 1968 film.

Romeo's owner Nick Watterson

Romeo's owner Nick Watterson

The colossal canine - who weighs over five stones and has a 36” chest - was chosen by show director Paul Kerryson for his ‘soft and placid nature’.

He will appear in two scenes of the show - each about ten minutes long - although his owner Nick Watterson admits his biggest fear is that ‘big baby’ Romeo will ‘cock his leg’ on-stage.

Nick, 57, said: “Paul just loved his size and his nature and just fell in love with him - he’s just a big baby who loves cuddles.

“One of the reasons I put him forward is myself and my partner Barbara have had rescue bull terriers before and we wanted to dispel myths about the breed being nasty.”

The breed has been known to attack smaller dogs however Nick says there is none more gentle with smaller pooches than ‘daft’ Romeo.

The beloved canine - whose father was voted ‘best bull terrier in the world’ in 2018 - will appear in all eight performances of the show at Buxton Opera House - with his first night on Friday.

Part-time fish delivery man Nick, who will also be appearing on-stage to keep Romeo calm, said: “I’m really chuffed because he will be ideal for the part due to his size - he really is a big boy.

“I think he’ll probably get quite jittery the first couple of performances because there will be so many people and he’ll want them all to stroke him.”