TV review: Vet School

03 July 2015

'It’s some achievement for a 25-minute programme to seem long, but this pretty much nailed it,' says our TV blogger.

Regular readers of this column may be surprised to learn that I actually have a degree. I attended (in the most occasional sense of the word) Edinburgh University, where I spent four years  moving with monotonous regularity from my bed to the sofa to the pub and back to bed again. My friends did the same. Such was the exhausting life of the arts or social science student.

But occasionally we would come across someone who was actually required to do some work for their degree. This strange and alien beast, normally studying something scientific, was a mystery to us all. What did they actually do all day?

One such figure was a friend of mine who was at studying to be a vet. So when I read that ITV had a new documentary series, following students who were studying Veterinary Science at Edinburgh University, I decided to investigate, to find out what his life had been like back then.

In hindsight, I should have just asked him. It’s some achievement for a 25-minute programme to seem long, but this pretty much nailed it. There is so little to report about this film, I’ve had to open with 200 words of absolute padding (did you notice?)

The most exciting moment, for me at least, came at the beginning, with the revelation that my friend had studied at an institution called The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, which is apparently shortened by everyone to “The Royal Dick.” A less mature TV blogger would make a joke here.

After that, there was a young West Highland Terrier with a heart murmur, known as a PDA, which they needed to sort PDQ (really, that’s the best I’ve got). A goat called Fanta kept having phantom (should that be Fantom?) pregnancies. And a wallaby had a runny nose.

All three had surgery. All three survived. Nobody was  bitten, attacked or weed on. Everyone behaved with professionalism and calmness. It made for excellent veterinary care, and excruciating television. Still, I suppose the words “ITV” and “documentary” should have been a giveaway, words that go together like “cheese” and “bicycle”.

My friend now runs his own veterinary practice down in Somerset. It’s good farming country. He spends most of his time with his arm… well… you must have seen All Creatures Great and Small, right? Put it this way – when we meet up, I give him a hug just so I don’t have to shake his hand.

And yes, I’m still padding.

Vet School, Monday, July 6, 8pm, ITV

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