The Stripey Badger: Yorkshire Dales bookshop owner and All Creatures Great and Small superfan creates room filled with the Channel 5 series memorabilia and photos of Grassington shop featured on the show

Owner of The Stripey Badger, a bookshop featured in Channel 5 series All Creatures Great and Small, has built a room decked with memorabilia and photos of the show.

Linda Furniss, 69, from the Yorkshire Dales, had always wanted to work in a bookshop since she was 15 years old. Reading was a large part of her childhood, though she spent her career as a bank manager and working in marketing and tourism and the opportunity to work in a bookshop never came up.

She lived in Cumbria for 15 years before moving back to the Yorkshire Dales when she decided to pursue her dream job. In 2018, after months of struggling to find vacancies in bookshops, a building went up for sale in Grassington with an attached cafe.

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By this time, her son, James, finished his university degree and the two of them decided to buy the premises and open their own bookshop. She admitted that she wasn’t sure how a bookshop would succeed in the small village of Grassington.

Owner, Linda, outside of The Stripey Badger during ACGAS filming. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)Owner, Linda, outside of The Stripey Badger during ACGAS filming. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)
Owner, Linda, outside of The Stripey Badger during ACGAS filming. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)

With the help of her son and sister, who baked her now infamous scones at the cafe, they started working on The Stripey Badger and were blown away by the shop’s popularity. Their business was one of 15 other bookshops that opened that year.

“I didn’t think it would be a success but I knew my customers were going to be local residents but also visitors [travelling] to the village so I knew I’d have two bites of the cherry,” Ms Furniss told The Yorkshire Post.

“I know it was a scary thing to do but I had worked in PR and marketing so I hoped I could pull it off and push it through.

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“The first initial thought from the village was that a bookshop is not going to do well in Grassington, but then of course they came in, curious, and then [decided] it was a great [idea].

Internal shot of The Stripey Badger. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)Internal shot of The Stripey Badger. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)
Internal shot of The Stripey Badger. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)

“Of course with a cafe attached, Saturday mornings are just wonderful because people come in for a cup of coffee, get a book, have a chat, it’s just a lovely place for people to come. A cafe and a bookshop work really well together, they complement each other. When the cafe is closed we have author events in there so we make use of that cafe space as well.”

Two years later, Channel 5 started filming the remake of All Creatures Great and Small.

In spring of 2020, Ms Furniss noticed Channel 5 producers and directors wandering around the village taking photos, looking around various establishments.

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They moved from The Devonshire Inn, across to Skeldale House and passed by The Stripey Badger, where they walked in and presented the owners with a mock-up of the shop turned into a grocers for the show.

ACGAS room created within the bookshop. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)ACGAS room created within the bookshop. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)
ACGAS room created within the bookshop. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)

The quick development of filming sparked excitement around the village as the people of Grassington grew attached to the show.

“The process took us all by surprise because we heard these rumours and we thought, ‘oh not a remake of All Creatures, for goodness sake’ and we had no idea who was going to be in it then,” she said.

“Watching the process when they first came to the changes [they made to turn into] the grocers; the attention to detail was just fantastic.

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“The first bit of filming took some getting used to both for them and for us. Working together, it took a while to get a relationship working so we knew what was happening, they knew to tell us what to do.

Close up of memorabilia on the wall of the ACGAS room. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)Close up of memorabilia on the wall of the ACGAS room. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)
Close up of memorabilia on the wall of the ACGAS room. (Pic credit: Linda Furniss)

“It took the first season to get together, but they are very slick at changing everything now, very very slick and we know what to expect.”

Ms Furniss is a superfan of the show herself; she has watched every single episode of the Channel 5 show.

Throughout the years of filming, she has taken photos herself and has built a small space at the back of her shop with memorabilia. She admits that customers love it.

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“Even though sometimes there are some scenes I’ve watched being filmed, when I watch them on telly they make me cry. You get quite involved with it,” Ms Furniss said.

“At the back of my shop I’ve got an All Creatures Great and Small room that I’ve built with photographs that I’ve taken; I’m looking now and sitting at a picture of Mrs Hall, she posed for me while I took the picture.

“It is lovely, all the memories of the different scenes I’ve taken over the years. It’s a tiny room outside of the toilet, which wasn’t being used for anything, so I’ve just decked it out with memorabilia, photographs I’ve taken and people have been coming in to see the pictures and they really like it.

“The whole show has attracted visitors from around the world. We’re actually stunned by how many people from America, Holland, Germany are coming to Grassington.

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“When they come to Britain, they would normally come to say York, Scotland, London, but now they’re also including an extra trip to Grassington as well.

“We’re actually astounded by the number of visitors. It’s just fabulous. Grassington is lovely, it’s got so many independent shops and businesses, it really is the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

“[Our visitors are] really enjoying themselves; when they come, they all want to know what the businesses are like during filming, each business that they change for filming has got a picture at the front of the shop, so [visitors] can see this is the business now compared to what it looks like during filming.

“People love it, absolutely love it. Whether it came out at the right time, it’s a lovely, gently-humoured, well-acted, really popular programme.

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“We all feel very much like a tourist information centre; so we know what they are going to ask, we know how we are going to help them.

“Engaging in so many conversations with people from all over the world is really quite fascinating. In terms of the shop itself, obviously I stock the James Herriot book, so it’s made a huge impact on our business without a shadow of a doubt.”

Ms Furniss admits that during Covid people had reignited their passion for reading books and that periods of lockdown had massively helped her business.

“Grassington is a small village; there were various periods of lockdown during Covid, so we built our website very quickly and started doing online orders.

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“We were really touched by the fact that our customers, 50 per cent of them are tourists to the village, actually adopted us as their local bookshop and put their lockdown book orders through us.

“That really touched us and kept us going through lockdown. We also had a lockdown library in the village; we started that going which proved to be a success with people swapping books around, so that was really nice.

“We were all so busy before Covid weren’t we, we were just flying all over, there was no relaxation time, no time out and I think that Covid gave us time to do nothing or to just sit.

“I do think that book reading came back in Covid and has remained steadfastly and growing popular and I think that’s really helped us.

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“My love is history, my son’s love is science and sci-fi, so we also have quite a niche science and sci-fi section and a really well curated history section.

“Most independent bookshops will have their niche speciality area and you do need that, something different to bring people in.

“People rediscovered books, not Kindles or anything but actual books. Plus all the publishers now and independent bookshops, we get our own special editions of books which you can’t buy through any channel.

“What we do more now since Covid is host author events and what I’m finding is that people are absolutely loving it. Especially my ‘Cream Tea and Meet the Author’ events and my sister makes the scones and we all sit in the cafe, it’s lovely.

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