Within minutes of the animals meeting Holly and Phillip on This Morning, tension developed - Julian Norton

Getting ready to meet Holly and Phil on the set of This Morning
Getting ready to meet Holly and Phil on the set of This Morning
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Last week was busier and more unusual than most.

The first part of my week was filled with the standard cats, dogs and even the odd ferret needing attention. There were farm visits to rush to and urgent operations.

But, on Thursday, my next book was published – A Yorkshire Vet: The Next Chapter.

I really should apologise for writing so many books, but I really like it.

The process of drawing stories from the back of my mind and putting them to paper (via a laptop) is both rewarding and cathartic and I seem to have developed something of an obsessive and compulsive passion for writing.

This is my fifth book in as many years. My publishers, the mighty Hodder and Stoughton, whose headquarters is possibly bigger and more impressive than any building I have ever been inside, had arranged some publicity for the book.

We struggled and hobbled to hoist them into place, but this was the easy bit, next we had to persuade the heifers into the small pen
He hasn’t even given the Swale ewes a second glance. I guess the making of babies just isn’t for him! - Jill Thorp

This necessitated another trip to London: I had an appointment with Phillip and Holly on This Morning, and they had requested alpacas!

It would be a far cry from my usual veterinary antics in Yorkshire.

The alpacas took some arranging.

Luckily, I have a few good friends in the camelid world with useful connections.

Before long and after only about 10 emails, I managed to find a well-behaved and local pair to go, with their owners, to Television Centre, Wood Lane, London.

I recognised the address, because it was the same one that I used to write to when I entered a Blue Peter competition, or to where I would send collected stamps for an appeal to save something or help someone. But that was when I was 10.

So, on Thursday morning, some alpacas and I arrived at the “talent” entrance of this famous place.

Spitfire was friendly and composed, but somewhat aloof. Pete and I, however, hit it off like a pair of kindred spirits. As the friendly alpaca and I chatted in advance of our debut on This Morning, I suspected there might be fireworks on set before too long.

The alpacas went first, for an introduction to the famous TV presenters and to benefit from a rehearsal. I didn’t get to rehearse and I’m not sure why.

Did they think I was a TV pro? But my lack of rehearsal did not matter, because it was not me that took centre stage.

My new bestie Pete the alpaca took that honour.

Within minutes of the animals meeting Holly and Phillip, tension developed.

Holly is notoriously nervous around animals (they had a pig on the previous day and he had also caused havoc) and she stayed at a safe distance.

Phillip, for his part, was not nervous but, despite his role as Dr Dolittle in the West End production, was evidently reasonably inept around animals.

He pulled on their lead ropes as Holly observed from afar.

Pete sensed the unease and spat directly into the multi-award-winning presenter’s face, causing much amusement to the production team. Holly collapsed on the floor in helpless giggles.

Luckily composure was soon regained by all. Phillip wiped the spit off his face and Pete calmed down.

Minutes later, I was called into action, holding onto the alpacas and acting as referee.

We talked, live on national telly, as naturally as if we were standing waiting for a bus or having a drink in the pub.

Me, a Yorkshire vet, holding and reassuring two alpacas, along with possibly the two most famous telly presenters of recent times.

I had to pinch myself because it was hard to believe.

But the glamorous world of green rooms and celebs would be short-lived. On Friday, I had farmers to see and dogs to fix and life would be normal again.