This month we’ve caught up with Julian Norton, co-star of hit Channel 5 series The Yorkshire Vet, again. Julian gives us an insight into filming series 8 of the show, sharing his adventure with a poorly bull and telling us about his fantasies of going off-road in his trusty Subaru Outback.
The day begins with the unpredictability that is veterinary practice. “Change of plan, Laura,” I explain to my near constant companion over the last three years. Laura is my PD. Until I became involved in The Yorkshire Vet, Channel 5’s hit TV series, PD meant to me, as a mixed practice vet, “Pregnancy Diagnosis”. Nowadays, as an integral part of this television series, “PD” means Producer-Director and the main person responsible for pointing a camera at me for most of the day, or at least for parts of the day when I might be doing something interesting. Laura loves her job, though I sympathise with her remit in many ways – staring at me all day can’t be much fun.
We had been to see a bull with a prolapsed rectum as my first job of the morning. With the early morning chill causing my breath to look like that of a dragon, I had examined the poor animal. He needed an epidural, after which I managed to fix him up and send him on his way to recovery. I washed my wellies, and wished it was summer rather than a miserable November day, gloomy and cold. It was a damp, late-autumn-early-winter morning with fog lingering around the Vale of York. My plan A was to head back to the practice, based in Boroughbridge, to finish off the ops list and have a warm cup of something. Instead, my PD and I would be heading over to Nidderdale to see a llama with a sore eye. A receptionist from the practice called and, with my phone already linked up to Outback’s Apple CarPlay infotainment system, we were seamlessly connected.
“I’ll go there straight away,” I advised. I had afternoon surgery to do and it would be a long drive- at least forty-five minutes- over the undulating and twisting B roads of rural North Yorkshire. A warm drink would have to be put on hold and, if I didn’t get my skates on, so too, lunch. Wet and slippery as the roads would be – possibly even with frosty patches in the hollows of the route – I knew my Outback would be the perfect vehicle for the job. After all, Subarus are renowned for their exceptional handling and tenacious grip on the road. It’s the kind of journey my car takes in its stride. I always secretly hope that my patient, be it a cow, sheep, horse or llama, will be in the middle of a field. I love a bit of off-road driving, and everyone knows this is where a Subaru really comes into its own. Laura was hoping for this, too. It would add an extra element of interest to a possible TV story if the vet had to drive through a treacherous, muddy field – but I know there’s little chance of getting stuck in the mud.
“Would he make it to his patient or would he get stuck in the mud, James Herriot- style?” added the necessary jeopardy.
Unfortunately for Laura, myself, and the Outback, the llama was not stranded with its sore eye in a field. It was in a lovely, clean stable with plenty of straw. I pulled up next to the building and examined the llama. His eye was indeed painful and there was a large ulcer in the centre, probably caused by prodding itself by the same straw which was providing a comfortable and warm bed. It would take some persistent treatment to effect a cure, but it was not as challenging as Laura had hoped. The story probably wouldn’t make the cut, but at least the ride over was pleasant!
And… yes, I made it back in time for afternoon surgery. Just.