The series, which starred Christopher Timothy as a character based on the young Herriot – whose real name was Alf Wight – and Robert Hardy as the principal of the practice, was one of the biggest popular drama hits of the decade. Slotted between The Generation Game, the big film and Match of the Day, it formed an essential component of the corporation’s Saturday schedule. Sellars produced its entire 12-year, 90-episode run.
He spent his 32-year career at the BBC and worked on such serials, all popular in their day, as The Newcomers – a soap opera about a family who moved from London to a fictional town in the shires – and The Doctors. He also directed early episodes of Doctor Who, with its original star, William Hartnell, still in the title role.
He also worked on another BBC soap, Compact, a trifle created by the future originator of Crossroads on ITV and set in the offices of a glossy magazine. His work brought him a BAFTA nomination for best drama series in 1979, and a Primetime Emmy nomination in the US, in 1990.
But his shows were not all hits, and one in particular, Triangle, was derided for its cheap-looking sets. Supposedly a vehicle for the glamorous Kate O’Mara, it was set and filmed on board the decidedly inelegant Felixstowe to Gothenburg ferry on the North Sea, and was soon sunk by its poor ratings.