James Herriot, a pseudonym for James Alfred Wight, grew up in Glasgow and qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Glasgow Veterinary College. Shortly afterwards he took up a position as an assistant in a North Yorkshire practice where he remained, with the exception of his wartime service in the RAF, until his death in 1995. He wrote many books about Yorkshire country life, including some for children, but he is best known for his memoirs, which begin with If Only They Could Talk. The books were televised in the enormously popular series All Creatures Great and Small.
From darkly comic tales of the early days of bovine IVF, to the tragedy of family farms laid low by foot and mouth, to the privations and separations of wartime, Herriot’s idyll was hard-won. In a time when East End nurses are de rigueur, spare a thought for the Yorkshire country vet.
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