How did you join the veterinary profession?
I’ve always had a love of animals from a child which made the choice very easy.
Why did you decide to pursue your career in the UK and Europe?
My parents are English and although I was born in Australia I was lucky enough to have a British passport so it opened the door to working in Europe.
What do you love the most about being a vet?
The relationship between owner and animal is so special and I enjoy being a part of it. Working with animals is so diverse and rewarding, I really do get to do my dream job every day.
What part of your job is the most rewarding?
When you can diagnose and treat a beloved pet effectively in order to extend the time spent with its loving owner.
How did you get involved in the media side of things?
I did a little bit of telly in Australia before coming to the UK, and then happened to work in a practice in east London – literally a stone’s throw from the Big Brother house. It was the first series and all very exciting, and I became their chickens vet and was featured on the show as the only non-contestant to be on the programme and it all went from there.
Did you always want to be on the TV or public personality?
I’ve always loved writing and speaking along with science, so being a vet on TV offers the best of both worlds.
When did the opportunity to have your own show arise?
I was filming a documentary on Tasmanian Devils in Australia when I saw a programme that I thought I’d be able to present. I met the producers and we stayed in touch, then when an opportunity came up to make a show in the UK, they gave me a call and we made a pilot. It got picked up by Channel 4 and the rest is history.
What have you learned in your time doing the TV show?
That it is unbelievably hard work! Making our show means I not only need to do my job on camera, but also support my team and clients through the process and keep on the lookout for great cases that viewers would find interesting. It can be very challenging but ultimately rewarding when people watch and love Vet on the Hill.
What do you hope to teach the public through your public influence and work?
That animals matter and the effect that they have on people can be profound and wholeheartedly positive. Animal welfare is a topic I’m incredibly passionate about, and filming Vet on the Hill allows me to express my views and get the word out there.
As a whole, what effect do you think veterinary TV shows have on the profession and the way the public perceives it?
A very positive face to our profession. I’m very proud of my profession and what we achieve, so I hope that comes across and inspires others to work with animals and support animal welfare causes.
Which celebrity or well-known animals have you treated?
I worked with Paul O’Grady for three years on his teatime show and treated his dog Buster and even handed him Olga, the dog he named his production company after, which was a very special moment.
What is you day-to-day role when you are filming?
I’m still the head vet alongside being the host of a TV show and I support the producers with finding cases and veterinary support. It’s a lot of work!
How does it differ to your day when you are not on set?
It’s far harder, longer and more tiring, but it’s great to see the finished result. Doing my job at the moment without the cameras is a breeze and I’m loving it!
How does it all fit in with your family and home life?
It can be challenging, as I’m sure many struggle with a work/life balance. But my wife and kids are amazing and are the most important thing in my life, whilst also being very understanding!
Do you plan on releasing any more books?
Never say never, I always have ideas for more books – thinking of a first aid for dogs book.
What is next in store for you?
Lots of potential programme ideas and collaborators in the wings which is exciting, but after having our fourth baby just a few weeks ago life is pretty good, and full, as it is!
Vet on The Hill will be returning to More4 this autumn.