In advance of his visit to Weymouth Pavilion on Thursday 9 November 2023 Beyond Supervet – Noel Fitzpatrick shares his thoughts on how animals allow us to be ourselves and therefore, to be the best we can be…
In a tone that brooks no contradiction, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – known to millions of TV viewers as The Supervet – asserts: “Animals make us better people in every conceivable way. I don’t think that we can always be our true selves with humans.”
He goes on to give us a telling example of this. “Imagine you’ve had a hard day at work where your boss has been awful to you all day. Then you come home from work, and the neighbour who keeps dumping his grass cuttings on your side of the fence has parked his car right in front of your door. You’re pretty narked off.”
Noel, who is the director and managing clinician at Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, carries on, “You don’t like your neighbour, whose name is Bob, anyway, and now he’s parked his car right in front of your door for the 14th time – you’ve been counting. The chances of you forgiving Bob at this moment are exactly zero.”
Then, he continues, “You open the door of your house and you see your new £100 Nike trainers, torn to pieces, that your new puppy has chewed up, and you forgive him in exactly one nanosecond when he bounds towards you and greets you. And that is what animals teach us about life. They teach us the power of forgiveness and love.”
Noel adds, “It’s a good example because we all know people we bear a grudge against, for whatever reason, because we’re human. But animals unlock unconditional love within us. Even though Freddy has just chewed up your new £100 trainers, you don’t care. But if a human did that, oh, my goodness, you’d be livid, maybe forever.
“So, it is interesting. Animals uncork an ability within us to be ourselves and an ability to look beyond the facade that we put up for society every single day. They allow us to be ourselves and therefore, to be the best we can be.”
This is exactly the sort of poignant and thought-provoking story that Noel will be sharing in his brilliant live stage show, “Beyond Supervet.” This autumn he will be taking the show on a 25-date tour around the country, starting on 29 September at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone and finishing at Guildford’s G Live on 2 December.
It is already proving hugely popular. So, to avoid disappointment, you’re advised to rush to the box office now, as tickets are selling like discounted dog biscuits at the pet store.
The first vet ever to tour the UK, Noel will be delivering a show full of passion, poignancy and peerless humour. This compelling evening will offer loads of fun, as well as profound insights into what one of the world’s most acclaimed and beloved orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeons has gleaned from the thousands of animals he has treated throughout his career.
Reaching beyond the marvellous world of The Supervet, which has been running for 18 seasons on Channel 4, Noel examines how caring for animals really can benefit us all and how modern medicine can have a massive effect on our lives.
Drawing on the vivid narrative of his many books, Noel will be engrossing audiences with stories, anecdotes, and a visionary look at the future, all recounted to a potent soundtrack which underscores the immense role music plays in his life. This characteristically dazzling show promises to be a truly exhilarating experience.
And it’s not just me who thinks so. The critics have been queuing up to laud Noel’s live performance. The Aberdeen Press and Journal said the show was, “Like a religious experience.”
Yorkshire Magazine, meanwhile, declared, “Super heroes are often only read about in comics or seen in movies, but this week I found myself in the presence of a real-life super hero. “
For its part, Entertainment Daily described Noel as, “Successful, highly-educated, sensitive, rugged good looks… and not only a lover of animals, but perhaps the greatest doctor any pet could hope to be treated by in the world.” A level of praise that not even James Herriot ever attained!
In typical fashion, Noel, who is relentlessly dedicated to his patients, is talking to me in full surgical scrubs between operations.
The vet, who exudes charisma on stage thanks to years as a professional actor in shows such as London’s Burning, Casualty, The Bill and Heartbeat (where he played – guess what? – a vet), reveals just how excited he is about hitting the road again. “I’m passionate about going on tour because there are so many things, hilariously funny and very sad and very real and very truthful, that I would like to share with everybody.”
In addition, Noel can’t wait to engage with his wonderfully devoted fan base. “The main reason to do this is the connection with the audience. You cannot get that connection sitting in your own writing a book, but you can really bring the book to life on stage.”
What will Noel be focusing on in “Beyond Supervet”, then? He will be majoring on the subject of his beloved late dog Keira.
Noel goes on to outline Keira’s importance to him over the 14 years they had together before she sadly passed away in 2021. “She has basically taught me everything I know. I would be an empty vessel if she hadn’t been there.
“She’s very much responsible for the building of my practice because she was by my side through all 14 years of that dream. She saw me in my truest raw sense. The show is centred around a dozen or so lessons that I’ve learned along the way from Keira and other animals.”
The vet proceeds to explain what exactly he has learned from Keira. “She has taught me humility, gratitude, and how to dream big. She very much inspired ‘How Animals Make Us the Best We Can Be’, which was about passion and thankfulness and openness and kindness and commitment and authenticity and creativity and, of course, love and hope.
In his live show Noel will be extolling the redemptive joy of his work, too. “I see love, hope and redemption every single day in my consulting room. For example, you’ve caught me now just after a very difficult conversation. This morning, I had to euthanise a dog that I couldn’t save because it just wasn’t ethically right to do so. His owners were weeping tears onto my shoulder.“One of them was a big burly bloke, who really only let their guard down with me, when they’ve turned into a blithering wreck in my arms, their partner will often say to me, ‘Oh, my God, Frank has never shown that kind of emotion in his entire life’.”
Noel smiles ruefully. “I don’t think it’s my cuddle that makes every grown man cry. It’s just that I’m supporting them while their best friend is in need – and that unlocks the raw childhood need to love and be loved that is in all of us. That’s a miraculous thing which hopefully I’ll bring to the stage.”
Above all, in “Beyond Supervet,” Noel is keen to accentuate the positive. “I also do talk about the tough times because I think it’s important that we reflect on the fact that everybody has challenges. We’re going through a world of war at the moment, but it’s vital to look at the joy and the goodness and the love in the world. Yes, I talk about the darkness a bit in the show, but as an example of how you can find light.”
What does Noel hope that audiences will take away from this splendid show, then? “I want people to go out feeling that they’ve gained an insight into something that they didn’t expect– a truly uplifting experience where they’ll feel enriched and entertained.
Noel concludes, “’Beyond Supervet’ is a smorgasbord of visual, auditory and stimulatory delights. By coming along and feeling that unconditional love wash over you, I guarantee you will walk out feeling a million percent better than when you walked in.”
If that doesn’t make you want to buy a ticket for “Beyond Supervet”, nothing will.