When Dr. Jan Pol’s veterinary practice became the subject of a NatGeo WILD reality show, there was no way the doctor, his family or staff could have foreseen the great success the program would enjoy. In fact, it is the network’s top-rated show and just started its sixteenth season.
There’s one aspect of all this fame and sudden attention that the doctor finds embarrassing. Find out what he shared and how he handles it.
How it all got started
The Incredible Dr. Pol began airing on NatGeo WILD in 2011. The show was his son, Charles’, idea. Charles had been with Nickelodeon, doing his best to sell concepts for reality shows. Finally, at one point, he was directed to find a character who was “larger than life,” as Charles put it. He thought of his father, pitched the idea, a trial episode was filmed, and the rest is, well, it’s starting its sixteenth season!
Charles explained to National Geographic in 2014 how a single episode is shot and produced. “It takes us roughly one week to film one episode of the show. So a 20-episode season will take us 20 weeks to shoot. We film almost everything that happens, which includes two to six farm calls each day and ten to twelve clinic cases. Dad starts at 8 a.m. sharp, and we usually film until 8 p.m. We pool all the footage together and the best ones make the cut.”
What embarrasses Dr. Pol
Once the show was launched with NatGeo WILD, the network called it, as we now know, The Incredible Dr. Pol. The title didn’t really sit well with Dr. Pol. He felt it sounded a bit over the top and told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2018 that, simply, he found it embarrassing.
“I’m not incredible,” he said. “I don’t know everything. If I don’t know it, I will try to look it up. Someone else has done it before. When you see me sewing up that boa constrictor, I didn’t know what anesthetic to use. I had to look it up.”
As modest as Dr. Pol is, it has to be said that it really is incredible for a man of his 77 years to be wrangling thousand-pound bulls and dealing on a daily basis with hefty cows and other farm animals, all with a ready smile on his face.
The show’s ratings aren’t embarrassing
As much as one can understand how the doctor feels, his fan base doesn’t agree with him and find him and his staff at Pol Veterinary Services quite incredible. The show has only gained ground in ratings and is now a popular fixture on the Disney Plus streaming service.
The humble veterinarian’s show is a consistent ratings success each season. Dr. Pol shared in the same interview that his community in his native Netherlands are proud of their hometown son.
“They don’t make their own stars,” he said. “If you want to be a star, you have to do it in a different language. I came to the States. Now, I’m on TV there. They’re proud of us.”