Julian Norton talks The Yorkshire Vet and is impressed by children's farming enthusiasm at Countryside Live in Harrogate
The Boroughbridge-based vet and co-star of Channel 5 series The Yorkshire Vet was a guest star at the weekend-long Countryside Live event held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, where he was interviewed on stage in front of a live audience.
He posed for photographs with fans - even being asked to pose holding a baby for one photo - and signed copies of his latest book, 'On Call with a Yorkshire Vet', which features columns that he writes every weekend for The Yorkshire Post.
The organisers of Countryside Live, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, sets out to engage a family audience in all things food, farming and nature at its annual autumn event, and Mr Norton said he was encouraged by seeing children's enthusiasm for farming first-hand.
"What I really like about this event is there are so many kids around. I've seen the young handlers in the sheep section who have a real passion for farming and it's brilliant to see that," he said.
"I come across examples of this in my work as well. I've recently been in touch with lad who is 12 who has his own poultry enterprise and has an ambition to keep 100 birds in three sheds."
A countryside career can be a fulfilling one for young people, he said.
Reflecting on his own job as a rural North Yorkshire vet, Mr Norton said: “Working in the open air we are connected with the elements every day, it’s challenging but a brilliant privilege."
It has been a surreal week for the vet, who found himself sharing the same bill as former Prime Minister David Cameron as a speaker at Harrogate Literature Festival ahead of his appearance at the showground.
At Countryside Live, one visitor asked him whether he sometimes wished The Yorkshire Vet television cameras were not being trained on him while he was in the midst of his veterinary work.
"Most of the time it's fine," Mr Norton said.
The Yorkshire Vet is enjoying a ninth series and he added: "What I love about the show is sharing what we do as a job with 1.5 million people on a Tuesday night - it's a brilliant thing.
"Making a programme, or a story within a programme, without really trying to do it is brilliant but on the flipside of that there are often times when it's really hard.
"It was completely exhausting when we first started. It was like doing two jobs because you had to constantly think about what to say and do, and what not to say and do. Sometimes you wanted to treat a cow and just put the radio on in the background, but you have got to be seen to be so concentrated on what you are doing because there is a camera on you."
Asked if everything always went to plan for the cameras, he admitted that this was not always the case.
"There was one time I had treated a sheep which had sore eyes and had gone blind," the vet said.
"I thought I had mended the problem and we went back to film it and I did a piece to camera saying it was incredible how well it had responded to treatment. As we were doing that the camera panned across the field following the sheep as it ran straight into a tree."