I remember my first crush well. It wasn’t a boy at school or the usual boy band crush. Oh no, my first crush was a countryside vet by the name of James Herriot. The first time I came across him was when I held the book in my hand and followed him through his life and career as a vet in practice with the Farnon brothers.
James treats every animal from the beloved small pets of the village people to the farm animals in and around the area. He deals with everything from animals giving birth to dogs with fleas and horses with sweet itch. (If you are dealing with an itchy animal take a look at https://www.stinky-stuff.co.uk/sweet-itch/)
It was then a treat when I watched to the television series which covered the first two books and had the equally handsome Christopher Timothy playing the role of James.
The strange thing was though I was confused. The books were set in the 1960s with James Herriot roaming the Yorkshire dales and getting into all sorts of scrapes involving the animals on the farm. Imagine my surprise when I found out the James Herriot wasn’t even a real person it was actually a man name Alf Wright and he had used the Herriot name to protect the innocent and not embarrass anyone. All of the characters were based on real people so that had to be very careful and not reveal the true names. Though the actors were told not to met the real life people some cheated and did.
The reason to set the show win the 1930’s was that it seemed to fit that Sunday night vibe better than the set in the 60’s. People are very keen on a bit of nostalgia as there were more so back in the 80’s and the show provide just about the right amount of whimsy and seriousness. Animals died but mainly survived. Cows refused to play along and whilst I like Mr Timothy the view of him, exploring shall say a cow’s rear end is enough to put you off. Full length gloved though I’m sure. But you have to wonder don’t you.
Rather than be set in the 60’s the show charted the coming of the second world war and how the small Yorkshire communities dealt with the news. Whilst it was not always mentioned secondly, it seemed that most people were determined to make sure life went on despite the worrying news from the continent. It is an emotional episode as they listen to Chamberlin admit there will be way with Germany, though at the time James is out delivering a calf and the farm owner is not interested in any war. James and Siegfried decide to go and fight whilst Tristan remains to run the practice alone as he is declared an essential worker. James and Siegfried discuss that they are fighting for the proud people of Yorkshire they have met and it is very sad James is taken to the station to go on to join up.