Facts about James Herriot Yorkshire Author & Vet

Book Cover

Christopher Timothy was one of three actors to play Alf Wight the real James Herriot. This picture was taken in the garden of Alf’s Thirsk house and surgery that is now a gem of a museum and testament to Veterinary surgery and  James Herriot memorabilia.   Link to buy the DVD or books from Amazon.

  • James Herriot books were printed in over 20 languages and spawned feature films and the long running TV series set in the Yorkshire Dales. Filmed largely around Askrigg the real vets practice was in Thirsk but it was the Yorkshire farmers and families that provided the stories that made the series so popular. Alf’s real son Jim Wight has written an affectionate and illuminating biography of his father The Real James Herriot ‘A thoroughly entertaining book, well written by the man who knew “James Herriot” best, his son.It brings to life the man behind the stories and his son has described with love and affection the man who was his father.’ from a review by K E Beckett.
  • Askrigg in Wensleydale was the home of Skeldale House for the TV series, where vet James Herriot lived. The Kings Arms made many appearances as the Drover’s Arms as did the village’s tall houses and narrow, cobbled streets that are centred around the 13th centuary St Oswald’s Church. Askrigg was noted for hand knitting and clock making and there is an ancient bull-baiting ring still set in the village square next to the market cross and stone pump. Both Thirsk and Askrigg are well worth a trip or weekend away.

Mrs Pumphrey and Tricky Woo from The World of James Herriot.

Lotions and potions from the dispensary at The World of James Herriot in Thirsk.

More Facts about James Herriot

  • James Herriot is a pen name and he was really Alf Wright.
  • Yorkshire does nostalgia very well but nostalgia it ain’t what it used to be. However the books written by Alf Wright under the pen name of James Herriot have built a cottage industry in Thirsk.
  • For a day trip visit the World of James Herriot and take a trip around Herriot Country. Staffed by several garrulous local ladies my weekend visit was a bigger pleasure than I expected even though the market town was thronged due to the local Thirsk races.
  • The series of books about the life of a Yorkshire vet led to fame when the BBC created the popular series, “All Creatures Great & Small”, a programme which ran for a total of 13 years and gave Christopher Timmothy a leading role. Filmed in the dales the great scenery was seen by millions on TV in the 1970’s. Herriot describes his Yorkshire in these terms; ‘I looked across to where Darrowby huddled far below between its folding green fells in the best kind of sunshine – not heavy or cloying but clear and bright and clean as you find it in Yorkshire.’
  • Yorkshire is bigger than Herriot’s vet practice  and James Herriot’s Yorkshire details travels by photographs  and reminisces include Bedale,Coverdale, Buttertubs, Richmond, Sutton Bank, Kilburn, Harrogate, York,Scarborough and various abbeys and churches.
  • Two films and the popular television series ‘All Creatures Great And Small’ were based on his books.The first book -‘If only they could talk’- was published in 1970.
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