Dawn Porter on fiancé Chris O'Dowd and their precious pooch Potato's wedding role

Pride of place at Dawn Porter's wedding to Bridesmaids actor Chris O'Dowd this August will be their precious dog Potato….as the ring bearer.

"The minute Chris proposed to me, we knew what Potato's job would be when we got married. We didn't even discuss it! It was a given. He will probably wear a bow tie with a little pouch for the ring," says the 33-year-old TV presenter and writer.



She first set eyes on Potato – "who also answers to Spuddy if its too embarrassing yelling out his name in the park" - as a rescue dog (a Jack Russell with "possibly a bit of whippet or dalmation in him") when she and Chris were living in Hollywood.

"There is a huge problem with stray dogs over there, so I wanted to help out the dog pounds by fostering dogs for a couple of weeks until they were adopted.

"But the moment Chris and I walked in and saw Potato, it was a total thunderbolt, We fell in love with him and knew that we could never give him back. So when we moved back to the UK, he flew with us. Potato has some serious airmiles."

It was also in Hollywood that Dawn (who is writing a novel Paper Aeroplanes, the first of two, which is loosely based on her own childhood in Guernsey) set eyes on the other love of her life, Irish actor Chris O’Dowd when she met him at her 30th birthday party.

Living in LA for a year, she had never seen him in the Channel Four comedy IT Crowd, and didn’t have a clue who he was.

"But he was the best birthday present I've ever had. It was instant. He walked up to me at my party, and I just said oh my God.

I remember his big smiling face, and his big long arms wrapping around me and introducing himself in a hot Irish accent, and then he was gone. And I spent the rest of the night thinking where did that man go?"


When he called to ask her out for dinner, she agreed.

"But then I called him back and said no I can't. I was on the tail end of seeing someone else . So I wasn't 100 percent available," says Dawn.

"A week later it had all gone wrong, so I called Chris back and said, really sorry but I appear to be single again, so if you still want to go out that would be really nice." Dawn says she knew she had met her Mr Right.

"I think that's what people mean when they talk about a chemical reaction from someone. I knew he was someone I was never breaking up with. I'd been single for all my twenties and never had that feeling before. I couldn't have given two hoots about relationships before that. My heart was never in it.

"I don't think Chris had that experience. He had just come out of a long term relationship, so he was more happy to date and not get serious. It took about six months to be official."

Now that Chris is busy filming movies all over the world, the couple have to deal with time apart.

"We do our best not to do more than three weeks at a time. Some people talk about their relationships getting into a routine. Chris and I have never had the chance to have a routine, so ours is exciting because of that. Missing each other, then seeing each other again. We certainly don’t get bored with each other."


Much as she enjoyed seeing him as the Irish policeman in the hit movie Bridesmaids, she much prefers him in his new role in The Sapphires which premiered at Cannes recently.

He has also been filming the semi-autobiographical Moone Boy for Sky 1, set in '80s Ireland and filmed in Dublin.

"It's weird when you are watching your boyfriend being all romantic in a movie and the girls are saying oh he's so perfect. Chris as the lovely sweet boyfriend in Bridesmaids is not what I am really interested in. I like it when he is a bit rough and sexy and drinking whisky because that's the guy I know."

In The Sapphires, set in 1968, he plays the manager of an all-girl Aboriginal band who travel to entertain the troops in Vietnam.

"In Sapphires he is still very sweet but I think he looks far more sexy with all his Hawaiian shirts and jeans and looks of a bit of a mess which is what I fell in love with."

On their wedding day Potato (his name hails from Dawn's love of the food) will join the couple in the celebrations.

"I am thinking of it in terms of a party rather than a wedding really. We are trying to keep it as informal and fun as possible. I can't stand the formalities of weddings," adds Dawn, who has been out and about with Potato in London recently to champion the cause of small dogs and their owners in the UK for the Paws in Places campaign run by Cesar.

As a nation of dog lovers, it appears that shops and cafes in Britain have the worst record when it comes to making pets and their owners feel welcome. So Dawn took Potato out shopping to see if doors were shut in her face.


"Where I live in Bermondsey, it's amazing. You can take your dog into cafes, shops and pubs. It's such a doggy area that they would be stupid not to.

"But when I come into Soho for meetings, I usually have to tie him up outside if I go into a café which is quite frightening because so many animals get stolen. It would be cool if you had more places you could go, and more cafes you could sit in."

When she tried to go clothes shopping with Potato in Topshop, she was told he could stay if she carried him. But when she took him into Marks & Spencer she was asked to leave.

Says Dawn: "I think it sometimes depends on the dog you have. Potato is a medium sized gentle looking dog. If I walked in with a big wet Labrador it might be a different story."

Meanwhile Potato is fully enjoying his starring role in the campaign: "He is a real diva, but he is being rewarded with cuddles, which he loves. I really want Chris to use him in one of his films."

Go to facebook.com/cesarpawsinplaces to join Cesar's Paws in Places discussion and to find dog-friendly places near you.