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All Creatures Great and Small (2020 TV series)

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All Creatures Great and Small
Title card
Created byBen Vanstone
Based onIf Only They Could Talk
by James Herriot
ComposerAlexandra Harwood
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes28 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerRichard Burrell
Running time50 minutes
Production companyPlayground Entertainment
Original release
NetworkChannel 5
Release1 September 2020 (2020-09-01) –

All Creatures Great and Small is a television series set in 1930s Northern England,[1] based upon a series of books about a Yorkshire veterinary surgeon written by Alf Wight under the pen name of James Herriot. The series was produced by Playground Entertainment for Channel 5.[2]

The series is a new adaptation of Wight's books, following the previous BBC series of 90 episodes that ran from 1978 to 1990 and a number of other films and television series based on Herriot's novels.[3] It was filmed in the Yorkshire Dales, and received funding from Screen Yorkshire.[4] 

The first series, which consists of six episodes and a special Christmas episode, was filmed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the James Herriot series.[5] The series premiered in the UK on Channel 5 on 1 September 2020.

Following a second series in late 2021, in January 2022 the programme was renewed for two further series, each comprising six episodes and a Christmas special.[6] Filming on the third series began in March 2022. The first episode aired in the UK on 15 September 2022 and in the US on 8 January 2023.[7] The fourth series began airing on 5 October 2023 in the UK and on 7 January 2024 in the US.[8]

On 23 February 2024, PBS announced that the series had been renewed for a fifth and sixth series, and that Callum Woodhouse would return as Tristan Farnon.[9]



The show revolves around a trio of vets working in the Yorkshire Dales in the late 1930s. Siegfried Farnon (described as an "eccentric") hires James Herriot for his veterinary practice at Skeldale House. In addition to Siegfried and James, there is Siegfried's younger brother, Tristan, and Mrs Hall, their housekeeper.[10]




  • Diana Rigg (series 1) and Patricia Hodge (series 2–present) as Mrs Pumphrey, the wealthy owner of the Pekingese Tricki Woo[11]
  • Matthew Lewis as Hugh Hulton, a wealthy landowner who competes with James for Helen's affections[13] (series 1-2)
  • Maimie McCoy as Dorothy, Mrs Hall's friend who has a brief romance with Siegfried (series 1)
  • Mollie Winnard as Maggie, barmaid at the Drovers Arms who has an off-and-on romance with Tristan before marrying another man
  • Tony Pitts as Richard Alderson, Helen's father
  • Imogen Clawson as Jenny Alderson, Helen's sister
  • Gabriel Quigley as Hannah Herriot, James's mother (series 1–3)
  • Drew Cain as James Herriot Snr, James's father (series 1–3)
  • Dorothy Atkinson as Diana Brompton, a flirtatious divorcée who has a casual romance with Siegfried (series 2)
  • Will Thorp as Gerald Hammond, a local man who becomes close to Mrs Hall (series 2–present)
  • Sophie Khan Levy as Florence Pandhi (series 3)



Cast and characters


Actor Nicholas Ralph did quite a lot of research on James Herriot ("Alf" Wight) who died in 1995. He also met the vet's son and daughter, Jim and Rosie. "They spoke a lot about Donald and Brian, the real Siegfried and Tristan. They said to me that I had the hardest job because Alf is a kind of observer to these bigger, larger-than-life personalities", he recalled.[14] The actor required training in veterinary procedures for authenticity.[15] "Straight off the bat with our on-set vet adviser Andy Barrett, we were up close and personal with horses, sheep, kind of going through the procedures and things that we would be doing. Learning how to approach the animal and everything like that. Using the stethoscope on the cow's heart, then lungs, then stomach" the actor recalled.[16]

Although James Herriot/Alf Wight had a "soft, lilting Scottish accent", according to Christopher Timothy who played Herriot in the original TV adaptation,[17] Timothy was instructed to keep his speech neutral for universality when the original BBC series was being filmed. That did not apply to Nicholas Ralph when filming this adaptation; the actor used his genuine Scottish accent.[18]

The New York Times indicated that Donald Sinclair actually had more rough edges than the Siegfried character in the books (and in the TV productions). "Sinclair's real-life behaviour was much more eccentric (he once discharged a shotgun during a dinner party to let his guests know it was time to leave)".[19]

Significant changes were made from the source material (from both the previous television series and the memoir), such as Siegfried Farnon being a heartbroken widower and a dramatically increased role for Mrs Hall, who has been reimagined as a young, live-in housekeeper and a "slightly warmer figure" than in the novels. The role of Helen was also greatly expanded.[20]

Working with animals


For his role as a vet, Ralph required training in veterinary procedures. For some scenes, however, the production used animal prosthetics, such as "the back end of the cow, fully functional and everything".[21] One episode portrayed the birth of a calf; that was filmed separately and "then spliced in seamlessly with footage of the main actors". Ralph admits that "for 90 percent of those scenes with the animals, the animals actually weren't there. It was just cleverly chosen and prosthetics and extremely well-trained, happy animals when we did see them".[22]

Some of Ralph's work involved interaction with live animals, such as a bull in one episode and a horse rearing and kicking in another.[22] "Straight off the bat with our on-set vet adviser Andy Barrett, we were up close and personal with horses, sheep, kind of going through the procedures and things that we would be doing", Ralph said. "Learning how to approach the animal and everything like that. Using the stethoscope on the cow's heart, then lungs, then stomach..."[16] "I have huge respect for ... Andy Barrett and the animal handlers who worked on the show", Ralph told an interviewer.[23]

In interviews after the filming of series three, Ralph said that the crew had experienced problems with getting cooperation from cats: one bolted off the set while he was trying to examine it. "They are impossible to train!", according to the actor. He was already confident and comfortable working with large animals but spoke of an incident when a cow went out of control after a scene was filmed: "The handlers were holding on to it and had to like roll out of the way as the cow basically galloped, so he had to hit the deck and rolled very professionally out of the way".[24] [25]

Filming locations


First series

The Square, Grassington

The first series was filmed largely in the Yorkshire Dales (often around Nidderdale); the village of Grassington in Upper Wharfedale was used for the fictional village of Darrowby.[26][27][28] The BBC series, which was broadcast between 1978 and 1990, had been filmed in the northern part of the Dales, (Wensleydale and Swaledale), with the village Askrigg used for the fictional Darrowby.

When discussing the new series, actor Rachel Shenton was enthusiastic about the locations: "We ... shot in and around the Dales", she said. "The Dales are miles and miles of beautiful, undulating countryside and it really is breathtaking."[29] Neither the BBC series or the new series was filmed in Thirsk (where the actual vet, Alf Wight, practised) since it had become too large for the small-town feel that the producers wanted. "The nice thing was that there weren't any modern houses in the town centre ... so we didn't have to change anything completely. What we did change were all the shop signs and the usual things like aerials, satellite dishes, alarm boxes and all of those things."[30]

Bolton Hall at Bolton Abbey Estates

In Grassington, the Devonshire Inn was rebranded as the Drovers Arms, while the pub interiors were shot at The Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw.[31] The village bakery, Walker's, was used for the Darrowby Cycles property; a private residence was used for the exterior of Skeldale House.[32][30] The Stripey Badger book store became the greengrocers G F Endleby, the shoe store Helen Midgley was used for Handleys Booksellers and the Rustic Rabbit gift store became Higgins Bakers.[33]

The home of Mrs Pumphrey, the owner of Tricki-Woo, was filmed at Broughton Hall in Broughton, Craven; the character was based on Marjorie Warner, a client of Alf Wight,[34] who lived at Thorpe House near Thirsk.[35] Many of the scenes for the series were filmed in a studio. Parts of the first episode (with the waterfall and pool) were filmed at Janet's Foss near Malham. Other locations included the Barden Bridge at the Bolton Abbey Estate and the Ripon Racecourse. The church featured in the Christmas special is St Wilfrid's at Burnsall, near Grassington, the crossroads are "on the roads above Pateley Bridge" in Nidderdale and the farm is in Airton.[36][37]

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway train at Oakworth Station

The steam train in the first series was filmed on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway line; Keighley Station stands in for a Glasgow station in the first episode, and Oakworth railway station appears in both the first and second episodes.[38]

The six episodes and the Christmas special were filmed from 2019 into early 2020.[39] Much of the outdoor work was completed "during winter and autumn, and it was freezing, with long, cold, dark days and rainy days", according to Ralph.[40]

In March 2021, filming had started for the second series, and included some new locations.[41]

Filming for the third series ran from March to July 2022.

Second series


Pre-production work had begun on the second set of episodes by early 2021. The production company made appeals for historic artefacts and props, as they prepared to film the next chapters of James Herriot's life. Due to lockdown restrictions, they were struggling to find everything from homeware to farming implements made before 1938. They planned to buy as many artefacts and props as they could because they expected to film multiple series.[42]

Executive producer Colin Callender said in early 2021 that filming had been postponed due to restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. "We are using this time to commission Ben Vanstone [the writer] and the writing team to work on season two ... we're able to use this lockdown period to work on the development and script development". In February 2021, Vanstone said that most scripts had been written; he expected filming to start in late March (if the restrictions allowed). The writer hinted that the relationship between James and Helen would be developed; "we want to explore why they're together and why they work with one another". In the relationship between Tristan and Siegfried, the latter will be "desperate to move forward in his relationship with his brother". Siegfried's relationship with Dorothy would continue, but "there are still plenty of opportunities for him to mess things up", Vanstone commented.[43][44]

In early 2021, Ralph told PBS that he expected to see all of the principal actors when filming started, saying "The cast will be back of course ... and I've heard a lot of the crew are coming back as well". West added that director Brian Percival would also be returning.[45]

Actor Diana Rigg died after the first series had been completed. Callender said that the producers were uncertain as to "what we will do with the character of Mrs Pumphrey"[46] (The Mrs Pumphrey character was based on a client of Wight's, Marjorie Warner, who owned a Pekingese named Bambi).[47] In April 2021, an announcement stated that Patricia Hodge had been cast in the role.[48] Other new cast members include Dorothy Atkinson as Diana Brompton, a possible love interest for Siegfried,[49] and James Fleet as Colonel Hubert Merrick, a farmer who appeared in the Herriot book.[50]

Filming began in March 2021 for the second series of six episodes and a Christmas special.[51] Scheduled locations included the Bradford area (initially in Little Germany, Bradford, standing in for Glasgow), Kettlewell and Grassington (for the fictional village of Darrowby)[51] as well as the Yorkshire Dales.[52][53][54]

Third series


In January 2022, the show was renewed for a further two series. Filming on Series three took place in locations including Arncliffe, North Yorkshire,[55] Grassington, Harrogate, Summerbridge, North Yorkshire and Pateley Bridge.[56]

This series is set in spring 1939[57] and includes some changes. Tristan is finally fully qualified, James starts a new phase of life after marrying Helen and becomes a partner in the business; the practice gets involved in the new bovine tuberculosis testing programme. By then, World War II is on the horizon and people are being encouraged to enlist. Veterinary surgeons work in a "protected profession", so are not required to serve, but in the final episode James decides to enlist.[25][58]

Fourth series


Set in 1940 during World War II, this series consists of six episodes plus a Christmas special. The Tristan Farnon character was not expected to appear because he is said to have enlisted in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. One source added this information: "It was also announced that Woodhouse will be starring in horror film One of Us, the timing of which conflicted with ACGAS".[59] Student vet Richard Carmody (James Anthony-Rose) joined the regular cast. [60]

Filming commenced on 3 March 2023 and reports in April indicated that the cast and crew had been seen in Grassington and in the North Yorkshire town of Thirsk.[61][62]

Advance information from the producers[63] included this commentary:

"Picking up in springtime of 1940 with change on the horizon for everyone in Skeldale House. James and Helen wonder when the right time might be to start a family, not knowing whether or not James will be called up to serve in the RAF. Tristan’s absence is felt by all, but no one more than Siegfried who attempts to hold the growing household, and himself, together as he braves this new world. Mrs Hall and Helen’s friendship blossoms as they look to the future and new trainee veterinary student Richard Carmody arrives, causing complications in the house."

Fifth series


Set to pick-up where it left off, during World War II., the series, which began filming in March 2024, is due to show more of James's time in the RAF as well as the trials and tribulations he and Helen will encounter bringing up their baby boy.[64]

Pictures have shown that, once again, principal photography has taken place on location in Grassington.[65]

The entire ensemble cast, including the newest regulars James Anthony-Rose and Callum Woodhouse who did not appear in the last series, as well as the show's stars Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton are due to reprise their roles.[66]

In keeping with the previous series, series five will consist of six episodes and a Christmas special.

Sixth series


Series six was announced concurrently with series five in February 2024.[67]

The sixth series will feature the entire cast reprising their roles for a further six episodes. The series will end with another Christmas special.[68]


SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAverage viewership
(in millions)
First airedLast aired
161 September 2020 (2020-09-01)6 October 2020 (2020-10-06)5.10
Special22 December 2020 (2020-12-22)4.99
2616 September 2021 (2021-09-16)21 October 2021 (2021-10-21)4.62
Special24 December 2021 (2021-12-24)4.75
3615 September 2022 (2022-09-15)20 October 2022 (2022-10-20)3.76
Special23 December 2022 (2022-12-23)3.86
465 October 2023 (2023-10-05)9 November 2023 (2023-11-09)3.73
Special21 December 20233.71

Series 1 (2020)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [70]
11"You've Got to Dream"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone1 September 2020 (2020-09-01)5.49[a]
Newly qualified veterinary surgeon James Herriot travels from his home in Glasgow to the Yorkshire village of Darrowby for a job interview at Siegfried Farnon's practice. Siegfried takes James to his first job treating an abscess in a gelding's hoof. James meets Helen Alderson while treating an injured calf and she urges him to stand up to Siegfried, who will respect him. The locals get James drunk and he mixes up a pair of cats while trying to feed them, resulting in Siegfried almost neutering the wrong one. James manages to prove himself after saving the lives of a cow and her calf, leading Siegfried to offer him a permanent job as his assistant.
22"Another Farnon?"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone8 September 2020 (2020-09-08)5.03[b]
James collects Siegfried's younger brother Tristan from the station and they accidentally crash Siegfried's car. Tristan announces he has graduated from Edinburgh veterinary college and joins the practice. James takes him on his rounds, and has trouble dealing with a cow suffering with milk fever. He fares better with Mrs Pumphrey and her Pekingese dog Tricki Woo, which leads her to invite him to a party, where he meets Helen's fiancé Hugh Hulton. While James and Siegfried are at Mrs Pumphrey's dance party, Mrs Hall plays a pencil-dice game of cricket with Tristan, and works out that Tristan has not been honest about his graduation. Technically, he did pass his last exam, but failed two others.
33"Andante"Metin HüseyinLisa Holdsworth15 September 2020 (2020-09-15)5.22[c]
Siegfried's application for the post of racecourse vet is jeopardised after Hugh—the owner of the surefire race winner and pride of the village Andante—disputes James's rationale for putting it down. Tristan revels in his new job collecting debts from clients, until he ends up frittering it all away in the pub—but then uses his insider knowledge to his advantage in betting on the second favourite to win it back. Mrs Hall tries to help Helen encourage her younger sister to realise that there is more to life than farming.
44"A Tricki Case"Andy HayFreddy Syborn22 September 2020 (2020-09-22)4.81[d]
Alongside developing his relationship with Helen, James is enlisted to help Mrs Pumphrey's dog Tricki back to a healthy weight. Tristan, however, takes up the responsibility, determined to earn his keep so that Siegfried will fund his forthcoming return to veterinary studies. In so doing, he is not helped by the dog's indulging in the expensive foodstuffs given to the practice by Mrs Pumphrey to tide the dog over while he is away from home. Mrs Hall is troubled by the lack of correspondence from her son, while the Farnons pass the buck to each other in examining a rather ferocious dog.
55"All's Fair"Metin HüseyinDebbie O'Malley29 September 2020 (2020-09-29)4.87[e]
On the day of the Darrowby Fair, James agrees to act as attending vet, judging the livestock and pet competitions, unaware that it is a taxing and unrewarding assignment. Siegfried, Tristan, and Mrs Hall all place bets on when James will resign in exasperation. James experiences pressure from nearly every competitor, and from Helen, anxious for a favourable assessment of her prize bull in hope of securing a profitable sale. Siegfried meets an attractive and unattached friend of Mrs Hall, Dorothy, but despite their mutual attraction, Siegfried still mourns for his deceased wife.
66"A Cure for All Ills"Andy HayJulian Jones and Ben Vanstone6 October 2020 (2020-10-06)5.17[f]
James feels guilt over the cow a farmer purchased based on his recommendation, which is now morbidly ill with an abscess which he feels powerless to cure. Tristan becomes a zealous advocate for a risky procedure for the cow, which Siegfried, as head of the practice, strictly forbids. Tristan manages an overwhelmed surgery as best he can, while Siegfried is taken ill with flu. At James's surprise birthday party, Maggie, the barmaid, breaks off her tenuous relationship with Tristan, citing his lack of seriousness. Encouraged by Helen, James performs surgery on the cow, assisted by Tristan, which Siegfried reluctantly agrees with after initially attempting to stop it. The operation is a success. Later, at the Drover's Arms, Siegfried promotes James to Senior Vet.
  1. ^ An additional 1.20m for the Sunday repeat contributed to a total of 6.69m.
  2. ^ An additional 1.07m for the Sunday repeat contributed to a total of 6.10m.
  3. ^ An additional 0.82m (excluding device viewership) for the Sunday repeat in seven-day viewership[71] contributed to a total of at least 6.03m.
  4. ^ An additional 1.36m for the Sunday repeat contributed to a total of 6.17m.
  5. ^ An additional 0.91m (excluding device viewership) for the Sunday repeat in seven-day viewership[71] contributed to a total of at least 5.78m.
  6. ^ An additional 1.23m for the Sunday repeat contributed to a total of 6.40m.

Christmas special (2020)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [72]
77"The Night Before Christmas"Andy HayBen Vanstone22 December 2020 (2020-12-22)4.99[a]
At Siegfried's Christmas Eve party for the villagers, Helen grows weary of people talking to her about her pending marriage, so she joins James on an emergency call to the Chapmans' remote farm, where a dog is having a difficult labour. The two bond over the frailty of one of the puppies before fog traps them at the farm overnight; they struggle to contain their attraction to each other, and Helen ponders whether marrying Hugh is what she really wants. Siegfried seeks lessons in courtship from Tristan in an effort to spend some meaningful time with Dorothy. Mrs Hall is tense with excitement over her estranged son's Christmas visit. Tristan helps Maggie's shy little brother with an ill donkey, and in return gets an early Christmas present under the mistletoe from his former girlfriend. On Christmas morning, Helen calls off her wedding to Hugh.[73]
  1. ^ An additional 1.33m watched the narrative repeat on Boxing Day (Saturday 26 December), contributing to a total of 6.32m.

Series 2 (2021)

No. in
Title [74]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [70]
81"Where the Heart Is"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone16 September 2021 (2021-09-16)4.33[a]
A brief return home to Glasgow sees James offered a permanent role at a local veterinary practice, and he has to choose between his mother's wishes for him to be closer to home and the place in Yorkshire he has come to love. His view of Yorkshire is later sullied after a clash with rural values when he resists the Aldersons' wishes to put down their dog, which has been terrorising local sheep. Siegfried struggles to keep concealing how Tristan did not do as well in his studies as he has led everyone to believe, especially when Tristan accidentally kills his first patient.
92"Semper Progrediens"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone23 September 2021 (2021-09-23)4.24[b]
The time of the Daffodil Ball has arrived, and each member of the practice is caught between their duties to their patients and their potential dates. Now in receipt of a formal offer from the Glasgow practice, James realises the only thing keeping him in Yorkshire is a possible future relationship with Helen, but goes too far in trying to respect her hesitancy at the dance. Tristan makes Siegfried realise he is getting too diffident, and Siegfried becomes determined to prove himself in front of his date Diana Brompton and a demanding client. Mrs Hall becomes enamoured with a new client.
103"We Can But Hope"Sasha RansomeChloë Mi Lin Ewart30 September 2021 (2021-09-30)4.95[c]
The fate of a struggling young widow causes difficulties for James and Helen's burgeoning romance. Meanwhile, Siegfried has another scheme, involving chickens, to whip Tristan into shape. A visit from Tricki Woo creates mayhem in Skeldale House.
114"Many Happy Returns"Sasha RansomeDebbie O'Malley7 October 2021 (2021-10-07)4.73[d]
Tristan is not best pleased with Siegfried's present to him on his birthday - he is going to be relied upon more to work in the practice.
125"The Last Man In"Andy HayDebbie O'Malley14 October 2021 (2021-10-14)4.69[e]
The town converges on Mrs Pumphrey's estate for the annual cricket match, and the stakes are set higher than anticipated when James discovers his team will be playing against that captained by Helen's former fiancé, Hugh.
136"Home Truths"Andy HayBen Vanstone21 October 2021 (2021-10-21)4.80[e]
James proposes to Helen, who accepts. He later asks permission from Helen's father, who gives James his wife's engagement ring to give to Helen. James's parents visit from Scotland, expecting him to be leaving for a job there. James apologises for not telling them sooner, but he wants to stay where he is, and announces that Helen is his fiancee. Tristan helps out a heartbroken woman, who lost her dog after it was hit by a car.
  1. ^ An additional 0.90m for the Saturday repeat contributed to a total of at least 5.23m.
  2. ^ An additional 0.87m for the Sunday repeat contributed to a total of at least 5.11m.
  3. ^ An additional 0.53m for the Sunday repeat in seven-day consolidation (excluding device viewership)[75] contributed to a total of at least 5.49m.
  4. ^ An additional 0.50m for the Sunday repeat in seven-day consolidation (excluding device viewership)[76] contributed to a total of at least 5.24m.
  5. ^ a b No narrative repeats were shown for these episodes.

Christmas special (2021)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [77]
14-"The Perfect Christmas"Andy HayBen Vanstone24 December 2021 (2021-12-24)4.75[a]
On Christmas Eve, James and Helen find themselves expected at two Christmas lunches the next day. Siegfried throws his annual Christmas Eve party for the villagers. Tricki Woo, Mrs Pumphrey's Pekingese dog, has fallen seriously ill with gastro-enteritis, with James, Tristan and Siegfried all trying to save him. James suggests giving the same anaesthetic shot to Tricki Woo that earlier saved Mr Kitson's apparently dying ewe, and this ultimately also works for Tricki Woo. Everyone changes their plans for Christmas lunch to make sure that Mrs Pumphrey is not spending her day alone. Tristan passes his final exam, so he can now be a fully-fledged vet. However, he also discovers that Maggie has become engaged to another man.
  1. ^ An additional 0.66m watched the narrative repeat on 30 December (excluding device viewership) in 7-day viewership, contributing to a total of at least 5.41m.[78]

Series 3 (2022)

No. in
Title [79]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
151"Second Time Lucky"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone15 September 2022 (2022-09-15)3.93
It is spring 1939. Tristan is now a qualified vet and can take on more work at the practice, although he is not always ready to do so. James and Helen start to realise that when married they will need to adjust to each other's priorities. At James's stag night he ends up drunk and sleeps in the barn at a farm, where next morning, his wedding day, he finds himself testing a whole herd of cows for TB. Tristan and Siegfried lose the wedding ring, but everyone manages to get to the wedding in time. James and Helen depart for their honeymoon, after Siegfried makes James a partner in the practice. The signs of war grow as recruiting for the armed forces starts locally.
162"Honeymoon's Over"Andy HayChloe Mi Lin Ewart22 September 2022 (2022-09-22)3.76
Helen and James begin married life in the bedsit in the Skeldale House attic, but although happy together they have to contend with Siegfried's reluctance to hand over any real responsibility to James despite the new partnership, or divide earnings fairly. Helen offers to help with the chaotic practice accounts when she is not working at the Alderson farm, but Siegfried undermines this. There are arguments over the practice becoming involved in TB testing. Tristan saves the life of a dog and finds himself in closer contact with its owner, Florence Pandhi, daughter of a rival vet. Siegfried and James together work out what is causing calves at a local farm to start dying, and are reconciled. Local men start to join the armed forces.
173"Surviving Siegfried"Brian PercivalBen Vanstone29 September 2022 (2022-09-29)3.70
James still feels exploited in the division of work as Tristan claims to be fully occupied with small animal work. Siegfried starts to spend a lot of time trying to save a racehorse which has become terrified of being ridden and may be put down. The problems he encounters bring back the traumas he went through as a horse vet in World War I. Helen and James become embroiled in disputes with farmers about TB testing. Tristan is made to tidy up the dispensary, but a salesman talks him into buying useless sedatives. Later, Tristan is attacked by a cat whose owner is reluctant to pay for it to be spayed. Siegfried struggles to cope with bad news, but persists with his efforts to save the racehorse.
184"What a Balls Up!"Andy HayChloe Mi Lin Ewart6 October 2022 (2022-10-06)3.80
As signs of possible war increase in Darrowby, Tristan buys a car, which is so noisy it frightens Tricki-Woo, who is staying at Skeldale House, and annoys Siegfried. Tristan claims it will help him deal with more farm work. James is in hot water with the Ministry over the TB testing scheme, and Helen starts to help put things in better order. Mrs Hall finds herself invited out, and Tristan also asks someone on a date. However, neither occasion goes as planned.
195"Edward"Andy HayKarim Khan13 October 2022 (2022-10-13)3.86
Mrs Hall goes out for the day to see someone important, and Tristan is put in charge of domestic duties at Skeldale House. He finds himself witnessing the way Siegfried deals with a schoolboy sent for a work experience day. At Keighley, Mrs Hall finds talking heavy-going initially, while Helen discovers at her family's farm that Jenny has left school because she prefers to work on the farm. At the end of the day, tensions rise in Skeldale House for a number of those living there.
206"For Whom the Bell Tolls"Stewart SvaasandJamie Crichton20 October 2022 (2022-10-20)3.71
It is September 1939 and the signs of war are all around Darrowby, including the first evacuated children. Helen and James face a moral dilemma over TB testing, which could have serious repercussions for their future. Meanwhile Tristan goes for lunch and ends up very drunk. When he has recovered, he makes a bold move. Mrs Pumphrey repurposes her home as a war garden and sanctuary. Siegfried and Tristan argue again, and Helen goes into bat to save James at the Ministry. War is declared, and the future of several of the characters hangs in the balance.

Christmas special (2022)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [77]
21-"Merry Bloody Christmas"Stewart SvaasandBen Vanstone23 December 2022 (2022-12-23)3.86
Darrowby tries to enjoy Christmas 1939 despite the start of the war. Tristan is bored by lack of small-animal work, but Siegfried finds himself conflicted between the health of a horse and the possibility of stopping Tristan being called up. Mrs Hall hears news from Gerald which upsets her. Tricki-Woo finds himself in the shadow of a kitten, and the Skeldale household is enlivened by the arrival of a young evacuee.

Series 4 (2023)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
221"Broodiness"Andy HayJamie Crichton5 October 2023 (2023-10-05)3.73
Spring 1940, and the veterinary practice is busy, whilst Tristan is now a vet in the Army. Siegfried makes a blunder when talking to a widowed farmer. Helen tries to help with administration, but makes an embarrassing mistake. James is attacked by a boy when he tries to see to an unwell dog. Mrs Hall decides that she needs to make changes in her personal life, but finds facing the past difficult. Helen starts to think about children. James has to admit that he had misjudged the owner of the unwell dog, and is able to provide a useful role for the boy in addition to giving the dog a better chance to get well.
232"Carpe Diem"Andy HayHelen Raynor12 October 2023 (2023-10-12)3.63
To bring order from the administrative chaos of the veterinary practice, Siegfried impulsively employs Miss Harbottle. Later he has to give a farmer bad news about a favourite cow. Mrs Hall has a trip to the cinema, whilst Helen and James meet a ferret in the pub. The changes introduced by Miss Harbottle begin to grate on both clients and the other inhabitants of Skeldale House. Siegfried has a bright idea to save the cow from going to Mallocks, and Miss Harbottle is offended by an attempt to go behind her back. James and Helen decide that now after all is the right time to have a child.
243"Right Hand Man"Stewart SvaasandMaxine Alderton19 October 2023 (2023-10-19)3.72
Veterinary student Richard Carmody is recruited to assist James, but causes tensions between James and Siegfried. His lack of practical experience also shows itself during visits to farms. Helen and James try to get time to themselves but this proves difficult. Mrs Pumphrey holds a tea party to encourage contact between the community and the Army training camp; an incident at the party helps Helen solve a mystery surrounding the behaviour of the dog which Mrs Pumphrey is looking after. Mrs Hall and Gerald have a heart to heart. All three vets find themselves attending a stricken horse.
254"By the Book"Stewart SvaasandMaxine Alderton26 October 2023 (2023-10-26)3.77
Richard Carmody finds his manner with clients being criticised, and he has to undergo training whilst his books are confiscated. Potential tragedy strikes a new farmer and his family but its impact is reduced when the community rallies round. As a result of this and Carmody's attention to research, Helen and James find themselves in a desperately tense situation for a while. Carmody improves his customer care approach when he tackles a lethargic animal and its owner, but suffers irritating consequences.
265"Papers"Jordan HoggJamie Crichton2 November 2023 (2023-11-02)3.78
Richard Carmody starts driving lessons, and they do not go well. He is in further trouble when Mrs Pumphrey refuses to accept that he can be a substitute for Tricki-Woo's 'Uncle Herriot', who has now been called up. Mrs Hall gets bad news. James and Helen's plans for a farewell picnic in the country are disrupted by an injured cat. However, Richard gets help with his driving from an unexpected source, and the picnic does get consumed, albeit not outdoors. Mrs Hall takes a momentous decision. As James departs, Richard is asked by Siegfried to extend his stay.
276"The Home Front"Stewart SvaasandJamie Crichton9 November 2023 (2023-11-09)3.77
Helen feels unsettled at Skeldale House in the absence of James and returns to live at the family farm so she can help her father and sister Jenny, but all does not go smoothly. Siegfried battles with a water leak, but Mrs Hall manages to tell him about her plans for the future. Richard Carmody finds himself at odds with Helen's father over a calf's symptoms. Helen returns to Skeldale after an argument with her father but then learns the reasons for his concern about her pregnancy. Mrs Hall and Gerald face up to their various difficulties.

Christmas special (2023)

No. in
Title [69]Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [77]
287"On a Wing and a Prayer"Jordan HoggBen Vanstone21 December 2023 (2023-12-21)3.71
As Christmas approaches, Carmody receives a painful bite in a sensitive area. Helen is preparing for the birth of her child but almost drives to see James, who is at an RAF base near the end of his basic training. As a vet, James is ordered to care for an injured hawk which is a mascot, but is so desperate to see Helen that he leaves without permission. However, his superior officer intercepts him before he reaches Darrowby, and he has to resume looking after the bird. Siegfried, Carmody and Mrs Pumphrey spend a lot of time preparing for the Christmas lunch in the Darrowby Arms, while Mrs Hall does most of the real work. Helen goes into labour and has to wait a long time for a midwife. After the injured bird flies again, James is given two days home leave and arrives to learn, to his relief, of the successful birth of his son, also named James.

Series 5 (TBA)


International broadcasts


In the United States, the series premiered on 10 January 2021 on PBS via Masterpiece (as part of this).[80]



The first episode was watched by 3.3 million viewers and earned an audience share of 20.4% in the UK, making All Creatures Great and Small Channel 5's highest rated show since February 2016,[81] which went on to become its most popular show ever.[82] In the United States, the first series averaged more than 10 million viewers over the course of its run.[83]

Metacritic assigned the show a score of 83 out of 100 based on six critics.[84] The Daily Telegraph's Michael Hogan gave the show four out of five, and commented "Revisiting the world of All Creatures Great and Small felt like meeting old friends. Any viewers missing the classic triumvirate of Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison were surely converted by this well-crafted opener, confidently directed by Downton Abbey alumnus Brian Percival".[85] Hogan went on to call the show "family-friendly comfort-viewing. A soothing balm in febrile times".[85]

As of March 2021, aggregator Rotten Tomatoes indicated that 96% of reviews had been positive.[86] Variety was one of the publications that praised the first series. Its chief TV critic Caroline Framke wrote that All Creatures Great and Small "finds key ways to distinguish itself from depictions past, especially as it makes the most of a handsome budget and embraces a welcome, earnest warmth in its storytelling"; she added that the update made "a beloved property worthwhile". [87] NBC News praised the series as "pastoral perfection", commenting that the show was "never meant to be pandemic escapism... but it's hard to think of a better moment for something as simple and charming".[88]

The Los Angeles Times's Mary McNamara disputed the apparent consensus of the show as being a necessary sanctuary in the pandemic and calling it "a disappointment" because it deviated too much from the source material.[89]

Caroline Hallemann of Town & Country called the first series, "comforting...warm [and] uplifting".[90] Norman Vanamee of Town & Country called the second series "the perfect getaway".[91]

See also



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