As we chat in the run-up to the tour, the man universally known as “The Supervet” is overflowing with the kind of infectious passion that has made him so popular right across the nation.
He says: “I have to tell you that in all honesty, I am more excited about this than I’ve ever been about anything I’ve done!”
In An Evening with Noel Fitzpatrick, he will transfix audiences with his astounding stories, extraordinary bionic innovations and heartwarming ethos. He will give us an insight into his remarkable world with tales of the amazing animals which have shaped who he is today.
In his second live show after the sell-out tour of Welcome to My World, in 2018, Noel will discuss his rollercoaster ride to success, picking out the particularly challenging cases that have defined his career. He will also underscore how much we can learn from our animal friends and how they can make us better people.
Above all, he will emphasise why love is really the only thing that counts in life.
A man who simply oozes magnetism from every pore, Noel is a compelling live performer. He spellbinds audiences with marvellous storytelling and sheer charisma.
An Evening with Noel Fitzpatrick visits Birmingham Town Hall on November 29.
“The show is fundamentally about love. I think I know how to translate love for the first time because I’ve had ups and downs and ins and outs. I’ve been a vet for 32 years now, so I have prepared a long time for this tour.
“There are myriad methods of communicating love. As every pop singer and movie ever made will tell you, there are as many ways to interpret love as there are stars in the sky. But the interpretation of love that matters is the one that connects us to each other. It demonstrates why we are human at all. It is the very essence of our existence.”
Noel exhibits that love through healing very sick animals that others may have thought were beyond salvation. “Love is about that moral responsibility at the moment when a family literally crumbles in the consulting room. Their marital difficulties, their cancer, the death of their father, the tensions in their lives – all their rawness is exposed through the cat or the dog or the rabbit that is in front of me.
“That animal acts as a conduit past the blockages that exist in everyday life because in the presence of an animal crisis, all that is left at the door and what is revealed is the real currency of love. The challenge is, can you shed light on that darkness and bring hope and redemption, not just to the patient, but also to the entire family?”
Over 16 series of Channel 4’s The Supervet, Noel has appeared in all 115 episodes, and performed some of the most breathtaking operations on animals ever filmed. His almost superhuman ability to nurse apparently fatally ill animals back to full health inspires wonder and tremendous loyalty in his legions of fans. They call him everything from “a real-life super hero” and “incredibly uplifting” to “a wonderful man” and “truly a person who is making the world a better place, on so many levels”.
A major part of An Evening with Noel Fitzpatrick concentrates on how animals can teach us to improve as human beings. The vet, who is director and managing clinician at Fitzpatrick Referrals in Guildford, Surrey, explains: “With humans, it is nigh on impossible to let your shoulders down and truly be yourself. In your life, you might have two or three people you can do that with. If you’re lucky, you can truly show them who you really are, warts and all.
“But with an animal, you can do that morning, noon and night. They would prefer it if you smell, they would prefer it if you were not in your best clothes. They don’t care what you look like, they don’t care what your colour is, they don’t care what your religion is, they don’t care what your gender is, they don’t care what your nationality is. All they care about is, ‘are you capable of love?’”
Hitting his rhetorical stride, Noel adds: “That makes us better people. Animals are the heart stents that bypass the emboli that we have allowed to clot up our bloodstream and mess up our lives. Because every single day, we allow the thoughts and the badness of the malign one percent of the population to infiltrate our molecular structure and cause us terrible problems.
“But if we allow that heart stent of the love of a horse, or a goat, or a dog or a cat, or another human, then we could really free ourselves to be ourselves, to actually say, ‘you know what, Mary, this is me. I do get sad, I do go through periods where I’m really anxious and I feel inadequate’.
“If you can do that with a human, you are blessed. Very few people can. But animals allow us to do that every single day. And that makes us better people.”
Another principal focus of An Evening with Noel Fitzpatrick is the importance of honesty. The vet, who grew up surrounded by animals on a farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, declares: “I love live theatre because I love the connection with other people which is truthful and not a hypocritical facade. That facade is often what we need to portray in this world of Instagram and TikTok. Because we need a job, we need to put on some semblance of respectability. ‘For goodness’ sake, I’m a professor of surgery, respect me!’
“But I don’t have a single one of my degrees on my wall.
“I have got dozens of them, and they’re all in a box somewhere because they are simply a rite of passage in the same way that pain or accidents are. All I have on my wall is a sign that says: ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. In which case, always be Batman’.”
The vet goes on to consider what he hopes audiences will take away from An Evening with Noel Fitzpatrick.
“What I want most of all is to entertain people. I want them to come to the show and escape from their everyday worries. But also I want to give them something to take home. I want that woman who’s come from a very difficult situation to leave that room feeling that somebody cares, that it’s not all worthless, and that she is worthy.
“That’s so important because we’re taught by the world that we’re just cogs in a big machine, that we’re inadequate and that there’s nothing we can do. We’re in a world of war and pestilence and global warming. We all feel helpless. But one of the big themes of the show is that we’re not helpless because we’re all in a community of compassion.”
Noel adds: “In that safe space, I want you to understand that as an animal or a human being somebody has your hand or your paw, and you’re not alone. I would like people to take away a little molecule of that unconditional love inside them that they can hold on to in tough times and understand that when the s**t hits the fan of life, they are going to be OK.
“I see so many people go into the darkness of depression, sadness, anxiety, all kinds of things. I see young people taking their own lives, people lashing out against the world and being involved in wars. I see people who are disenchanted with politics, or corporatism, or mass media. In the current climate, it’s really hard to remain as your own molecular structure, of which there is only one in the world. As Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Be yourself because everyone else is already taken’. That’s the take-home message: love is inside you and you are worthwhile. Be yourself because you are enough.
“The reason I want to go out on tour is because it’s wonderful, but also I get some time off. It’s a holiday for me. I can’t believe some people go on tour and say ‘I’m at work now’.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful to them at all, but for me touring is genuinely a relief from the stress of everyday life. When I go back to the operating theatre this afternoon, I could be there for possibly 7 to 10 hours, depending on how long this operation takes. I’m going to be in theatre until midnight tonight, as I was last night.
“And so, for me, touring is a break. The delight of going on tour is being able to have some downtime in the back of the van to sleep and to think a bit. I love getting away from my normal environment and meeting people who share that sense of love. It’s a great blessing.”