James Herriot: Have you watched the Channel 5 All Creatures Great & Small series? Or maybe you preferred the original version? You might like to visit some of the featured locations in real life...
James Herriot was the pen name for a real life vet called Alf Wight. When asked about the origin of the fictional town of Darrowby, he described it as a mixture of Thirsk (where you'll find the excellent The World Of James Herriot), Richmond, Leyburn and Middleham and 'a chunk of imagination'.
Channel 5's TV series was mainly filmed around Grassington which became the fictional market town of Darrowby. Many of the buildings around the square were transformed into different businesses.
The Devonshire Pub was used as the The Drovers Arms (the inside scenes are filmed the Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw). James Herriot's home and surgery at Skeldale House was created from a private house in Grassington. The Stripey Badger Bookshop became G F Endleby Grocers and the Stripey Badger Coffee Shop and Kitchen became a private house, and was used by the cast and crew during breaks. Helen Midgleys became Handleys Booksellers. Darrowby Cycles is normally Walkers Bakers and The Rustic Rabbit was transformed into Higgins Bakers.
You'll be able to spot some other notable locations in the current series. James gets off the bus at a crossroad which is Malham Lings and is seen in the water at Janet's Foss in Malham. Mrs. Pumphrey's house is the beautiful Broughton Hall and some of the driving shots were filmed on the Broughton Estate. You'll also spot the gorgeous little village of Kettlewell, Ripon race course and I think some race horses from the Middleham stables. In the first episode you may spot Yockenthwaite Farm (try their fantastic granola)and beautiful Littondale. The Darrowby Show took place partly in Grassington and partly on the green at Arncliffe.
Maybe you preferred the first TV series?
That was filmed in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale. Langthwaite was featured in the opening credits of the first Herriot series. The Red Lion pub was used for some scenes. Follow the road to Low Row and you'll come across the iconic water splash too, a shallow ford through which James Herriot drives.
The village of Low Row is home to the Punch Bowl Inn where actor Robert Hardy, (Siegfried Farnon) stayed.
Askrigg is a lovely little village on the edge of the moor. It was used as Darrowby, with one of the Georgian houses across from the market cross acting as Skeldale House. The Kings Arms was the fictional Drovers Arms - you can still see some photos inside the pub from when the series was filmed.
The interior of the Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw Force was used for some of the current TV series. The parish church at Hardraw was used as Darrowby Church. In real life, Alf Wight (James Herriot) took his wife to the Wheatsheaf Inn, Carperby for their honeymoon. They still have a framed copy of the letter Alf Wight wrote to his parents either during or after the honeymoon. He's said to have been inspired to propose to Joan Danbury (Helen Herriot in the books) at Bolton Castle. James Herriot's wedding was filmed at Holy Trinity Church in Wensley. The Bolton Arms at Redmire was used for some filming, with some of the crew staying at the nearby Jonas Centre.
Leyburn was used as Scarsburn, the fictional home of Granville Bennett and where Ewan Ross had his practice. The imposing Thornborough Hall was used to film scenes at the Ministry of Agriculture. You can see a recreation of James Herriot's surgery at the Richmondshire Museum in Richmond.
The James Herriot books are a lovely comforting winter read. Invest in a classic and support a local bookshop by buying them from The Stripey Badger Bookshop, Coffee Shop & Kitchen in Grassington, Limestone Books in Settle, The Little Ripon Bookshop in Ripon.
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