Record ticket sales for TV vets’ debut at Countryside Live

The Yorkshire Vet's Peter Wright and Julian Norton, who star in Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live in Harrogate this weekend.
The Yorkshire Vet's Peter Wright and Julian Norton, who star in Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live in Harrogate this weekend.

Countryside Live is expected to welcome a record number of visitors for the 15th annual autumn show staged by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, thanks to the excitement generated by the event’s headline TV stars.

The renamed Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live takes place this weekend and the broad appeal of the popular Channel 5 show has helped spur the highest ever sales of advance tickets for the event.

Competitive sheep classes will feature at this weekend's show which will involve more than 2,000 animals in total.

Competitive sheep classes will feature at this weekend's show which will involve more than 2,000 animals in total.

Adverts for the new-look show have been screened every week over the last two months across six national TV channels, as well as during The Yokshire Vet, and with just days to go until the show opens, more than twice as many tickets have been sold than in previous years.

Visitors are travelling from as far afield as Brighton, Scotland and Wales for the two-day event which tells the story of the countryside by showcasing British food and drink, farming and equestrianism at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, told The Yorkshire Post: “We have seen a phenomenal boom in ticket sales since we announced our partnership with The Yorkshire Vet and Channel 5.

“Thousands of visitors are set to come to the showground - many for the first time ever - and we look forward to welcoming them to what promises to be a very exciting weekend.”

Thousands of visitors are set to come to the showground - many for the first time ever.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Vets, Peter and Country Week columnist Julian, whose work at James Herriot’s former practice Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk is currently being documented on screen for a fifth series of The Yorkshire Vet, will appear in the event’s main ring.

There will be three live Yorkshire Vet shows hosted by BBC Radio personality Georgey Spanswick each day at 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm. The pair will take part in question and answer sessions with visitors and will sign books for fans at scheduled times during the event.

The co-stars said they were overwhelmed by the response to their appearance in Harrogate from fans of the TV show.

Julian said: “If you’d have said a few years ago that we would be taking the centre stage in the Main Ring and headlining an event like this, we would never have believed you.”

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Peter added: “We can’t wait to meet the people who watch the show, thank you for your unstinting support. We wouldn’t be where we are now without you.”

Charles Mills, show director at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said he was keen for the Society to capitalise on the opportunity presented by any extra visitors to the show who had been attracted by the vets’ appearance.

Mr Mills, who farms near York, said: “Once we can attract members of the public to an event like this, they can hopefully learn something else about the countryside, from seeing things such as the cattle and the sheep. If we can do that then we will have achieved our goal.”

As well as an anticipated record attendance, there is an all-time high of more than 450 entries in the equine classes.

The judges will be casting their eyes over rabbits, cattle and poultry, among other exhibits.

The judges will be casting their eyes over rabbits, cattle and poultry, among other exhibits.

TWO-DAY COUNTRYSIDE SPOTLIGHT

From horses, pigs, poultry and sheep, to cattle, pigeons and rabbits, more than 2,000 animals will converge on the showground this weekend.

An expanded children’s section is promised too including Channel 5’s Milkshake! Live show and a pop up country pub featuring a quiz and live music.

Inside the Yorkshire Event Centre, a tasting hub and cookery theatre will showcase British food and drink alongside a shopping area and a Create and Explore zone offering free hands-on activities for children.

The National Championships for the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association will be held in the showground’s purpose-built forge and the Talented Showjumper contest for riders aged 10 and over opens with qualifying rounds on Saturday before Sunday’s final.

Tickets are available via www.countrysidelive.co.uk and can be bought on the gates. Parking is free. Dogs are not allowed.

Visit The Yorkshire Post website this weekend and see Monday’s edition of The Yorkshire Post for comprehensive coverage of the show.

Read Julian Norton’s latest Country Week columm here.