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Yorkshire takes centre stage in a new documentary series based on the original ‘All Creatures Great & Small’ veterinary practice in Thirsk.

The Skeldale Veterinary Centre, where James Herriot based his famous books, is the focus of The Yorkshire Vet, six-part series for Channel 5, running until the 20th of October. ( available on

The drama of the daily events at the practice on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales has been captured by Leeds-based TV company Daisybeck Studios, who gained exclusive access.

Julian Norton, who is the ‘Yorkshire Vet’, is one of the partners of the centre along with original Herriot trainee Peter Wright and they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty as they treat all creatures great and small.

The practice, steeped in history, is still run with a good old fashioned ethos combined with today’s veterinary practices, specialising in both small animals and farm stock, and they travel across the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

In keeping with the theme, ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ is narrated by actor Christopher Timothy, who played the role of James Herriot in the popular BBC TV show ‘All Creatures Great & Small’.

The show is a joint commission by Daisybeck and Group M entertainment and has the support of the Herriot Centre who feature in Episode 3

Series Producer, Lou Cowmeadow, for Daisybeck said: “The show brings to life the beauty of Yorkshire and its characters in all its glory, we were asked to make Yorkshire one of the stars of the show and that’s what we’ve done.”


The Yorkshire Reporter asked The Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton after the first showing, which was seen by 1.45 million viewers, a few questions about the show and he was only too pleased in his busy schedule to answer –

Tell us about the feedback you’ve had from people about the show.

So far the feedback has been enormously positive. Everyone seems to be excited about the next episode. Several people have said that this is the first time in ages that the whole family have been sitting down together at the same time, so it looks like the series has proved popular across all age groups.

What was the most challenging part of taking part in the Documentary Series?

I think the filming has been the most challenging part of making the series. Whilst it was great fun and the directors and camera crews were brilliant to work with, it did become a very draining process- a bit like doing 2 jobs at the same time! As you can see from the series, our work as vets is already pretty busy so to have the extra burden of filming was especially tough.  However, the recent flood of “media” attention has not been that straightforward either! Nobody here at Skeldale is used to being the centre of such attention!

Have you been asked for your autograph yet?

I haven’t been asked for my autograph, although the fish man at Thirsk market did ask for his photo to be taken with me the other day.

How similar to James Herriot’s practice is Skeldale, where you work and the setting for the series?

In many ways our practice is similar to the old “Herriot” practice- we still retain the traditional values that existed back in those days, and we still have clients who have similarities with the characters from the books- not least the Green family who have been in the first 2 episodes. Obviously things have moved on and our surgery is modern and progressive, but in a veterinary world which is seemingly dominated by corporate practices (which make up about 40 % of the current profession) and often very high prices being charged by some vets, we really feel our traditional roots have stood us in good stead.

James Herriot was the pen name for the real life vet Alf Wight. His son Jim retired from the practice a while back, has he given you his thoughts about the series?

I have spoken with Jim about the series, albeit briefly. I know he is very excited about the series and he has really enjoyed what he has seen so far.  Like us, he is delighted that it will have a positive impact on the local area. I spoke with a lady from the tourist information centre and already Thirsk is seeing an influx of visitors as a result.

I am sure the programme which shows Yorkshire’s beautiful scenery, along with wonderful, interesting characters and of course creatures great and small will continue to grow in popularity and hopefully a follow on series will be made. Well done Daisybeck Studios and can you please do some more Yorkshire based series for all us Yorkshire Folk !

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