Thursday 27th February 2020

So proud of my Dad ❤️.  See below for some very exciting news!


Joffe Books is delighted to announce it has acquired world English digital and POD rights to the complete Constableseries by best-selling author Nicholas Rhea from Giulia Bernabè at Peters Fraser + Dunlop. The first five books of the series will be released 14 March 2020.

The series’ 37 books feature the feel-good tales of life as a village policeman in 1960s North Yorkshire. The brilliantly entertaining and heartwarming books inspired the hit TV series Heartbeat, which aired from 1992 to 2010, becoming one of the top ten most watched shows of the 1990s.

Jasper Joffe said: “We’re immensely proud to sign these books and honoured by the trust the family have placed in us. We think they’re wonderful, heart-warming  and funny, and we want a whole new generation of readers to enjoy them,”

Rhoda Walker, widow of the late author, said: “Peter worked so hard all his life writing books, his first being published back in 1967, and he never stopped. His family was his motivation to build a body of work that he intended to be a lasting legacy for his children and grandchildren. This contract with Joffe will go a long way to making that wish come true. Peter would be absolute thrilled, as am I.”

Nicholas Rhea’s daughter Sarah commented: “When I heard about the offer, I cried solidly for about half an hour, especially when I read of Joffe’s commitment and true passion for the Constable series. Jasper Joffe’s enthusiasm for my dad’s work made me so proud and I just wish Dad was here to see it for himself.”

Giulia Bernabè of Peters Fraser + Dunlop said: “We couldn’t have wished for a more enthusiastic and supportive publisher than Joffe Books for Nicholas Rhea’s Constable novels. Fans of the Heartbeat series are in for a treat and new readers won’t be able to help falling in love with these charming and timeless stories of rural Yorkshire.”

Joffe Books has commissioned new covers for the entire series, with artwork by acclaimed North Yorkshire artist Colin Williamson.


Author Nicholas Rhea (the pseudonym of Peter Walker) drew on his own experiences as a local bobby for a small Yorkshire village in the 1960s to chronicle the career of Constable Nick, from his first arrival in Aidensfield in Constable on the Hill through his years on his rural beat, to his retirement in Constable over the Hill. In 2007, he was given the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Award (named after the CWA founder) for services to the association. By his death in 2017, he had written over 110 books, using as many as five pseudonyms, and had become one of the north’s most prolific writers.

”It’s original, it’s funny . . . one of life’s little pleasures.” – Yorkshire Post

“Stories of a constable on his village beat in North Yorkshire. All very gentle and far, far removed from the hurly burly of modern day city policing.” Daily Telegraph

“These books . . . do for the police service in North Yorkshire what James Herriot did for the vets there . . . very relaxing, very readable.” Manchester Evening News


Priding itself on a history of innovative publishing, Joffe Books had its most successful year ever in 2019. In addition to selling 2.2 million books, it doubled the number of books it published, tripled staff numbers and moved to a new office in Shoreditch. Authors including Joy Ellis and Faith Martin have become some of the most read in the UK, consistently topping the Amazon Kindle and Audible charts for weeks at a time with every new release. Big spending on advertising and superb attention to detail on the release of every single book (whether front or back list) has led to spectacular growth and a close relationship with its authors and readers.

Joffe Books has developed a steady reputation for bringing overlooked books back to life and delivering them to millions of readers – transforming the careers of those authors in the process. In 2019, Joffe Books acquired the Robert Hale backlist from Crowood Press and extended its core list of crime and mystery to include sagas, historical and romance. Joffe Books revived sales and re-issued titles, transforming the careers of the likes of David Hodges, Frances Lloyd, Roger Silverwood and Bill Kitson, whose  books had not achieved the attention they deserved. Within less than 6 months, and with just 15% of the list relaunched, the overall digital sales of ex-Hale titles have already increased tenfold since the acquisition.

Innovative marketing on social media (reaching 1 million people a week on Facebook alone) combined with heavy investment in editorial on new releases, and a strong relationship with authors and readers have combined to create one of the fastest-growing publishers in the UK. And the growth shows no signs of stopping.


WWW.JOFFEBOOKS.COM (Images credit:



Thursday 2nd August 2018

I’ve been invited by BBC Radio York presenter Anna Wallace to come to her show next Thursday 9th August to talk about Dad, Heartbeat and my columns. Tune in to FM 95.5 or 103.7 between 2pm and 3pm or listen via their website through this link:


Tuesday 3rd April 2018

Farewell Bill Maynard

So sad to hear of the passing of Bill Maynard on Friday, who so brilliantly embodied one of Heartbeat’s most loveable and memorable characters. Dad invented the character Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, the lovable rogue who kept the local so bobbies busy. Here I am on Sky news talking about it.



Wednesday 10th January 2018

RIP to my sister ❤️



It is with enormous sadness that we wish to announce the death of our beautiful and loving daughter and sister Tricia. What we originally thought was a nasty stomach bug sadly turned out to be a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Tricia was admitted to hospital on 30th November 2017 and died on Monday 8th January 2018. We are so grateful for the care she received during her brief illness at Bournemouth and St James’s (Leeds) hospitals, and during her last day at St Leonard’s Hospice, York, the same hospice where her father Peter also passed away in April. Tricia bore her illness with boundless positivity and determination, and faced every new challenge with unwavering fortitude. We are so grateful for all the messages of love and support sent to both Tricia and ourselves over the past few weeks. They meant so much and gave all of us, especially Tricia, enormous strength. Her face lit up with joy whenever Jacob, or her nephews and nieces appeared at her side. We’d like to express our particular thanks to Alison Wheatley, Rachel Close and Marysia Koc for their selfless and unending emotional and practical support during this whole period. They helped us endure the most difficult of days, and were with us as we said our final goodbyes to Tricia on Monday.

Tricia’s proudest achievement was the publication of her incredibly moving novel, Benedict’s Brother, and the progress she and her team had made to turn it into in a major film. We fully expect that the dream will not die with her, and it will one day become a reality.

Thank you to all of you who wanted to visit Tricia in hospital, and we are sorry that many of you did not have a chance to see her one last time. Unfortunately, her decline was so rapid, that it was simply not possible. However, Tricia would be absolutely delighted if you would help us celebrate her life in the near future. Although Tricia has asked for a private cremation, she has also requested that we celebrate her life by scattering her ashes at Sutton Bank near Ampleforth and in Boscombe near Bournemouth. You will all be very welcome to wish her a final farewell.

Once again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all the love, kindness, prayers, and thoughts you have all sent us.

Rhoda, Janet, Andrew and Sarah xxxx

Sunday 3rd December 2017

I had the honour to be asked to present the Darlington and Stockton Times Readers’ Choice Award at the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards on Dec 1st. So many wonderful Yorkshire food producers and purveyors were celebrated. Made me proud to be a Yorkshirewoman! Well done to Stamps Coffee Shop in Great Ayton and all the other winners (Captions with each pic if you want to know more!)

All the winners and sponsors at the Flavours of Herriot Awards
The winners and sponsors
Me on stage presenting the award to Stamps Coffee Shop
With Jane and Simone from Stamps Coffee Shop
BBC Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini presented the awards
This lady, Irene Myers, invite me. She organises the awards and does the PR for the main sponsors, the James Herriot Museum.
This happy chap is known as Gingerotti, or The Yorkshire Tenor, and sang a fabulous version of Nessun Dorma
Local producers provided the food, including these wonderful cheeses from Shepherd’s Purse

Sunday 3rd December 2017






An eventful walk in the Dales reveals some interesting history in my latest column, Grassington Ramble Takes the Lead

Friday 24th November 2017

Read about the unforgettable moment that inspired me to follow in Dad’s footsteps in my latest column An Unforgettable Moment of Inspiration

Dad’s study, and the now silent keyboard, where I first had the idea to taken on his columns

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

This weekend in The Times Magazine we found out that Turner Prize-winning artists Gilbert and George relax by watching Heartbeat. Who knew? If it’s good enough for them…






Friday 17th November 2017

Ever been splatted by a rotten potato? My latest column, One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes…Splat! is out now.

Friday 10th November 2017


I have a new monthly column starting this month in Go Local magazine. First one, a tribute to my dad, Mr Heartbeat  ❤️

Also, do you remember those two little squeaking pigs? My latest column, Punky and Perky, is out now.






Friday 3rd November 2017

My latest column, Conkering a Crisis, is out now.







Friday 3rd November 2017

My columns are published every Wednesday in the Gazette & Herald paper, and every Friday in the Darlington & Stockton Times. They appear online and on this blog soon afterwards. Just search for Sarah Walker or Countryman’s Daughter on the websites’ search box or click on the links above.

Saturday 7th October 2017

My latest column, Taking Stock of Misedemeanors, is available online now at the Gazette and Herald and Darlington and Stockton Times websites.


Thurs 28th September 2017


A few people have asked me how far in to BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live is my bit. I’m at 03:16, 36:45 & 49:18, which is easy to find if you listen via the BBC iPlayer Radio app or online. Click here to listen.

Fri 22nd Sept 2017


My latest column, Harvesting the goodwill of the village, is now online at the Gzette and Herald and the Darlington and Stockton Times newspaper websites.


Sun 17th Sept 2017


Thanks to my good friend Caroline, who having read my ‘Cereal, Squabbles and Soggy Picnics’ column, bought me this Kellogg’s Variety Pack for my birthday. Not quite the same without the All-Bran though! 😂

Sun 17th Sept 2017







My latest column ‘Them convulsions are such a bind’ is now online at the Gazette and Herald and the Darlington and Stockton Times websites.

Mon 11th Sept 2017


Delighted to have been invited to the opening of the new Orangery at the Fairfax Arms in Gilling East today where I met Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Sir Gary Verity (charming man), plus a blast from my past, Sue Nelson of Yorkshire Food Finders, who used to be my boss at the York Press and who I last saw in 1991! The Orangery is a sympathetic extension, to the original building, constructed using the finest materials from local suppliers and extends the dining facilities and outside terraced area – well worth a visit! A big congratulations to Anna Lupton (Carr House Farm Bed & Breakfast) who helped organise the event, and to Rob and Ed Fawcett who hosted it. Another tool to attract visitors to our lovely part of the world.

Visit the Fairfax Arms website here.

Visit Yorkshire Food Finders here.

Visit Carr House Farm B&B here.

Visit Welcome to Yorkshire here.

With Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Sir Gary Verity
With my old York Press boss and Yorkshire Food Finder’s Sue Nelson
Fairfax Arms owner Rob Fawcett
Carr House Bed & Breakfast owner Anna Lupton
The Fairfax Arms


Sun 10th Sept 2017








My latest column, Dad’s swift action stopped a catastrophe, is live on the Darlington and Stockton Times website now. Read it here

It is also on the Malton Gazette and Herald website here

Sat 2nd Sept 2017








Was so excited to be invited to speak on one of my favourite programmes, BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live with the adorable Rev Richard Coles (soon to appear in Strictly Come Dancing 2017. He’s my vote to win!). Click here to listen

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