Celebrity tortoise visits Halifax and is a hit with school pupils - Albert is a hit with celebs and students alike

Schoolchildren throughout Halifax recently gave a special welcome to a celebrity tortoise.
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Albert the tortoise is a real tortoise – and a big hit on social media. He’s also the inspiration for a series of picture books by former journalist turned tv writer and producer Ian Brown.

Ian's credits include The South Bank Show, big red book tribute show This Is Your Life and Top Gear. He's written or produced for the likes of Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Caine, Trevor McDonald, The Simpsons, Martin Kemp, Jamie Oliver, Bob Monkhouse, Ian Wright, Des O'Connor, John Barnes, Davina McCall and Ross Kemp.

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Ian, who is based in London, said: “It was great visiting Yorkshire once more. It was a regular location for This Is Your Life shows and I was lucky to work on many programmes with cast from Emmerdale, also with Calendar and Countdown legend Richard Whiteley and Barnsley cricket umpire Dickie Bird. Visiting the schools was wonderful and the reception for the books from the youngsters was brilliant. In fact, a return is already being planned.”

Ian Brown and Albert the tortoiseIan Brown and Albert the tortoise
Ian Brown and Albert the tortoise

Four primary schools in Calderdale – Ling Bob J, I and N School, All Saints CE Primary, Savile Park Primary and St Andrew’s CE Infant School invited Ian to read from his stories, to talk about his muse and being a writer. The events were organized by local bookshop The Thoughtful Spot in Skircoat Green.

Real Albert the tortoise is more than 80 years old and has been a pet in Ian’s family more than 50 years. Through social media Albert has gathered thousands of fans around the world and his appeal has grown since the release of the first book, Albert Upside Down, illustrated by Eoin Clarke.

Now there are four books in the series with Albert and the Wind, Albert Supersize and new book Albert in the Air.

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Picturebook Albert is not only a hit with young readers, he’s taking the celebrity world by storm too. His fans include son of Doncaster Jeremy Clarkson. Petrolhead, farmer and former tortoise owner Clarkson said, "I like this book. I like tortoises. What's not to like?"

Ian Brown at The Thoughtful Spot, Skircoat GreenIan Brown at The Thoughtful Spot, Skircoat Green
Ian Brown at The Thoughtful Spot, Skircoat Green

Others praising the adventures of illustrated Albert are funnymen Julian Clary and Paul Whitehouse, star of Youtube and Strictly Come Dancing Joe Sugg, former TOWIE star Lydia Bright, Game of Thrones and Vicar of Dibley actor Clive Mantle, Allo Allo actress Vicki Michelle and TV veterans John Craven and Michael Aspel.

It's been quite a journey for real Albert. He was rescued more than 50 years ago by Ian's wife Millie when she was a little girl.

Ian said: "Albert seems to be taking all this in his stride. He has become a bit of a diva but that might just be his age. We've all been amazed at how his popularity has grown. He has fans across the UK, USA, Japan and Australia. It took me thirty years to get a publishing deal, trying in between TV work, but Albert was the inspiration I needed. It's a delight to visit schools and share Albert’s world. Luckily they seem to like the stories and we hand out stickers and colour-in sheets too. Putting words into the mouth of picturebook Albert has been a joy.”

For more information on Albert and the books visit www.alberttortoise.com

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