York & North Yorkshire

Russian museum's homage to James Herriot the Yorkshire vet

Christopher Timothy as James Herriot
Image caption The BBC TV series based on the James Herriot books featured Christopher Timothy as the vet

The work of the vet James Herriot, as featured in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small, is being celebrated in a new exhibition - in Russia.

The State Darwin Museum in Moscow is honouring the North Yorkshire vet and author whose real name was Alf Wight.

His books and the TV series about his veterinary work continue to be popular in Russia where he also has a fan club.

Staff at the World of James Herriot Museum in Thirsk have travelled to meet Russian museum officials and fans.

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The James Herriot books were loosely based on Mr Wight's own experiences as a young vet working in rural North Yorkshire.

His first book, If Only They Could Talk, was published in 1970 and despite a small initial print run of 3,000 went on to be published in 26 languages.

The long-running BBC series All Creatures Great and Small and several feature films followed.

But Mr Wight, who had first arrived in Thirsk in 1939, remained a vet and considered himself a part-time author. He died in 1995.

Image caption James Herriot's work has been translated into many languages
Image copyright The World of James Herriot
Image caption One of the Russian exhibits has a familiar backdrop
Image caption Rosie Page, the author's daughter, said news of the exhibition was "fantastic"

A real visit by Mr Wight to Russia accompanying a boatload of sheep in 1961 was fictionalised in one of his books.

Rosie Page, the author's daughter, said: "Dad knew how popular he was all over the world before he died but still these new things are happening. It's an amazing legacy he's left."

Ian Ashton of the Herriot museum said: "We are extremely honoured that this exhibition has been staged and delighted to have been invited to visit."

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