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Teachers' Herriot pipped by Jordan

Gervase Phinn, raconteur, bestselling author and former teacher, is touring provincial theatres with his one-man show, An evening with Gervase Phinn, which contains witty tales from his years as a teacher, adviser and schools inspector.

Phinn, who adapted vet James Herriot's winning formula in books such as The Other Side of the Dale and Head Over Heels in the Dales, says everything has been going spiffingly:

"I'm playing to full houses. On Thursday, I was in Wolverhampton and had more than 1,000 people turn up. I have 30 gigs around the country, and I have had a great response."

But it hasn't all been plain sailing. In one show, the entire front row got up and walked out five minutes after he came on stage.

"They were all college students, so I asked them, 'Did I say something wrong?' And they replied that they had bought tickets thinking they were going to see Ricky Gervais," says Phinn.

There was also crushing disappointment at a recent book signing in Birmingham. He arrived at the bookstore to find a massive crowd queuing by the door.

"I thought it was incredible but then I found out that they were all waiting for Jordan to turn up for a book signing a couple of hours after me," he says.

"I didn't even know who she was. Funnily enough, only eight OAPs turned up for mine."

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