Our Yorkshire Farm, The Yorkshire Vet and Educating Yorkshire - Here are some of the top documentaries to come out of Yorkshire

Yorkshire has become the breeding ground for many internationally-acclaimed documentaries.

From small independent productions to popular TV docu-series such as Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire, Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm and The Yorkshire Vet, documentaries have helped to shine a spotlight on the region.

Screen Yorkshire based in Leeds is the “engine that drives” the film and TV industries in the region, according to their website, as well as encouraging other projects to shoot here.

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And with Channel 4’s move to Leeds, means there has been more focus than ever before on Yorkshire productions.

Our Yorkshire Farm: Amanda and Clive Owen and familyOur Yorkshire Farm: Amanda and Clive Owen and family
Our Yorkshire Farm: Amanda and Clive Owen and family

Here are some of the best documentaries to come out of Yorkshire:

Our Yorkshire Farm

Our Yorkshire Farm has become Channel 5’s most-watched show, featuring Amanda aka The Yorkshire Shepherdess and Clive Owen.

The unconventional family first appeared on our screens when they featured in an ITV documentary called The Dales, which aired in 2011.

They then appeared on Channel 5 show New Lives in the Wild, before they were given their own show, which launched in 2018 - Our Yorkshire Farm.

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The couple have nine children between the ages of six and 21 who are all featured in their show which now has more than three million viewers watching every episode.

The Yorkshire Vet

Another show that has put Yorkshire into the spotlight is Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet.

It follows the drama and daily routine of a group of town and country vets as they tend to animals of all kinds at four different practices across the region.

A production by Leeds-based Daisybeck Studios and now in its 14th series, The Yorkshire Vet follows veterinarians Julian Norton and Peter Wright as they treat animals in North Yorkshire.

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Julian was born in Castleford and studied veterinary medicine at Cambridge University and has practised in Yorkshire for most of his veterinary career.

After filming with the show for three years, from 2015 to 2018, Julian left Skeldale Veterinary Centre, Thirsk, where he had worked as a junior partner.

He has since opened his own independent practice with his wife in March 2021, Thirsk Veterinary Centre, and writes a column for The Yorkshire Post’s Country Week.

Jane McDonald

Since appearing in the BBC TV Show The Cruise in 1998, cruise ship entertainer and now TV personality and singer, Yorkshire’s Jane McDonald has presented and featured in her own documentaries.

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One of the most recent docu-series has been My Yorkshire for Channel 5 in which Jane McDonald goes on a tour of the place she calls home. In it she explores Yokshire’s history, beauty and warmth of the county she's lived in all her life.

This followed on from other documentaries including Cruising with Jane McDonald, Holidaying with Jane McDonald, Jane and Friends and The Jane McDonald Story, all for Channel 5.

Born and raised in Wakefield, Jane McDonald now also appears on ITV’s Loose Women and a whole host of other shows.

Educating Yorkshire

Channel 4 show Educating Yorkshire followed staff and students through life at Dewsbury’s Thornhill Community Academy.

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The documentary series aired on Channel 4 in 2013 and turned outgoing headteacher Jonny Mitchell and several other teachers and pupils into household names.

The programme was watched by an audience of more than four million people and it won a series of television awards.

One of the production companies behind some notable documentaries and docu-series is True North productions who have made the likes of Teen Mom, Say Yes to the Dress and A New Life in the Sun, as well as the BBC One documentary Jon Venables: What Went Wrong? and the popular ITV series Real Life.

Peter Sutcliffe

Channel 5 documentary The Ripper Speaks: The Lost Tapes shedded new light on the serial killer.

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The documentary features recordings of conversations between Peter Sutcliffe and a woman who was trained by journalists.

Sutcliffe, who died at the age of 74 in November, can also be heard discussing brutal attacks which he was never prosecuted for and admitting that he planned to kill 24-year-old Olivia Reivers on the night he was caught by police.

Investigator Mark Williams-Thomas, who presents the Channel 5 documentary, said: “What we get here, for the very first time, is an insight into him being as truthful as he can be.

“The man was responsible for decades of fear for people of the North of England and now the tables have been turned on him and he’s being used by us, to try and find out what had gone on. I think it's an incredibly insightful moment.

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“She was very good and we worked really hard with her to make sure that when she asked questions he didn't feel like she was asking questions. It was just general chat, so he was very relaxed.

“I think for the first time, we've probably got as close as you can get with him. It’s the truth in terms of how he sees the truth.”

A BBC Four documentary in 2019 called The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story posed a timely question: Did 1970s attitudes to women influence the investigation with tragic consequences, derailing the police investigation and leaving the murderer free to kill again and again?

A Netflix series The Ripper followed the BBC’s own recent three-part documentary The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story.