The Highland Vet, which offers a rare snapshot into life at two rural veterinary practices in the far north, is returning for a second series.
The documentary series showcases the day-to-day workings of vets, nurses and staff members from DS McGregor and Partners in Thurso and Wick as they work around the clock to help farm animals, domestic pets and wildlife.
The six-part Highland Vet series, filmed from winter through to spring, follows on from the success of series one, which debuted in June.
‘The series represented the county well from our perspective’
Practice director Guy Gordon spoke about the challenges of going about his life-saving work under the glare of the camera.
“It was initially a little bit worrying thinking are they going to get in the way, and wondering were they going to show us off in the correct light or misrepresent us,” Mr Gordon said.
“It was daunting and we felt very self-conscious but in the episodes you are about to see from this week onwards, we were all seasoned professionals by that point.
“We had got used to it and we were a little bit more relaxed in front of the camera.
“The series represented the county well from our perspective, it showed it off very nicely.
“It represented us as a veterinary profession but also our individual practice and what we do. It was really a snapshot into our daily, weekly and monthly routine.
“Working as a vet in the context that we do in a rural mixed practice is still a vocation as opposed to just a job.
“We have to provide this service of 24-hour cover constantly throughout the year for all species and it can be very, very hard graft. It can be cold, soggy and dirty but it’s very rewarding and that’s why we do it.”
Pushing the boundaries
Episode one features the lead orthopaedic vet conducting an important surgery on seven-year-old boxer dog Maddy to repair a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Speaking about the complex procedure, Mr Gordon said: “The case that I’m involved with is a cruciate rupture, that’s where a ligament pops in the knee joint of a dog and it requires quite advanced surgery. You have to cut the shin bone and re-screw it together at a different angle.
“It’s quite an involved and tricky bit of surgery that’s pushing the boundaries of what can be done in general rural practice.
“It is useful for us as a remote practice to be able to offer that kind of a service for people without the need to travel south for specialist care.”
Mr Gordon says none of this would be possible without the tight-knit workings of both practices.
He added: “We function very much as a team, we back each other up, we support each other and we are always there for each other in more ways than one.”
Going ‘above and beyond the call of duty’
Phyllis Logan, who won a Bafta for best newcomer when she broke into the scene in the 1980s and is now best known as part of the Downton Abbey cast, offered her praise as The Highland Vet returns to TV screens for a second series.
Speaking to the Press and Journal, the animal-loving actress said that it was inspiring to see the dedicated team of vets go “above and beyond the call of duty”.
Mrs Logan said: “It is just amazing to see their commitment and the passion they have for their work.
“You can see that they feel exceptionally lucky to be in a profession they love. They are totally invested in every single creature that comes in there.”
The 64-year-old actress had the help of her husband, Pirates of the Caribbean star Kevin McNally, to complete narration for the new series from home during lockdown.
She added: “When the job started I did two episodes in a studio of Soho, which is the normal procedure, and then of course lockdown happened so I had to narrate the rest of the episodes from my study at home.”
Mrs Logan says she plans, once lockdown ends, to visit the north vets.
The series returns to 5 Select channel at 9pm tonight.