Vet School, TV review: ITV is crackers to think these animals belong on primetime

The day-to-day activities of the vets are mundane, as this eight-part series is determined to document

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The Independent Culture

I'm not sure what ITV think they're up to scheduling their new series, Vet School, in a primetime 8pm slot. Clearly this ought to be buried somewhere in the daytime schedule, along with Animal Hospital and the rest of the programming for the elderly and/or convalescent.

Or maybe the story of Sula, the hunting dog who got into a minor traffic accident, is about as much drama as audiences can take on a Monday evening.

Sula was one of several patients at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies (also known as The Dick Vet) just outside Edinburgh. It's here that Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996, but the day-to-day activities of the vets are much more mundane, as this eight-part series is determined to document.

If only Izzy, a tortoiseshell cat, could talk she might have been able to tell an amusing anecdote about how her tail came to fall off for no apparent reason. Alas, senior surgeon Ana Marques is no Dr Doolittle and so had to subject Izzy to some exploratory surgery instead.

Meanwhile, in the hospital's "Exotic Department", vet Freddie wore appropriately wacky scrubs to treat an 11g turtle with an eye injury. I'm sure vets take tremendous pride in their work, but when five highly trained clinicians can spend several hours in surgery fussing over a reptile the size of a walnut, you do have to wonder at the decadent state of 21st-century Britain.

On Channel 4's primetime show The Supervet, "bionic vet" Noel Fitzpatrick is enough of a character to justify these occasional absurdities. In Vet School the best they can do is a voice-over, which delivers all its bad jokes so slowly an anaesthetised dog could understand.

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