All Creatures Great and Small (franchise)

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The All Creatures Great and Small franchise consists of a series of books written by James Wight under the pen name James Herriot based on his experiences as a veterinary surgeon.[1] The books have been adapted for film and television, including a 1975 film titled All Creatures Great and Small, followed by the 1976 It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet sequel, as well as on television a long-running BBC television programme of the same title, and a prequel series in 2011, Young James Herriot.

Books[edit]

The book series focuses on the adventures of veterinary surgeon James Herriot, and are set in the fictional town of Darrowby, based on a combination of Thirsk, Richmond, Leyburn and Middleham.[2]. In the books James Herriot works with fellow veterinary surgeons, Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, based on real-life counterparts, Donald Sinclair and his brother Brian Sinclair respectively. Wight also used the name Helen Alderson for his wife, Joan Danbury.

The UK series[edit]

  • If Only They Could Talk (1970) ISBN 0-330-23783-7
  • It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972) ISBN 0-330-23782-9
  • Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973) ISBN 978-0-7181-1115-1
  • Vet in Harness (1974) ISBN 0-330-24663-1
  • Vets Might Fly (1976) ISBN 0-330-25221-6
  • Vet in a Spin (1977) ISBN 0-330-25532-0
  • The Lord God Made Them All (1981) ISBN 0-7181-2026-4
  • Every Living Thing (1992) ISBN 0-7181-3637-3

The USA series[edit]

In America the books were collected as pairs into omnibus volumes, as the publisher felt they were too short to publish independently. The title chosen for the first book in the series All Creatures Great and Small (and subsequently one of the movies and television series) was taken from the hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful". According to Herriot's son, it was his sister who suggested the title, initially proposing Ill Creatures Great and Small.[3]

  • All Creatures Great and Small (1972) (incorporating If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet) ISBN 0-330-25049-3 (Also available in Russian)
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974) (incorporating Let Sleeping Vets Lie and Vet in Harness) ISBN 0-330-25580-0 (Also available in Russian)
  • All Things Wise and Wonderful (1977) (incorporating Vets Might Fly and Vet in a Spin) ISBN 0-7181-1685-2
  • James Herriot's Dog Stories: fly leaf lists publishing dates of 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1981 and 1986.
  • The Lord God Made Them All (Also available in Russian)
  • Every Living Thing

Media overview[edit]

Films Television series
All Creatures Great and Small It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet All Creatures Great and Small Young James Herriot
Year of Release 1975 1976 1978-1990 2011
Based on If Only They Could Talk (1970)
It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972)
Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973)
Vet in Harness (1974)
If Only They Could Talk (1970)
It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972)
The Herriot archive and the archives of the Glasgow Veterinary College.
Director Claude Whatham Eric Till Various Michael Keillor
Writer Hugh Whitemore Alan Plater Various Ann McManus
Eileen Gallagher
Cast and Characters
James Herriot Simon Ward John Alderton Christopher Timothy Iain De Caestecker
Siegfried Farnon Anthony Hopkins Colin Blakely Robert Hardy  
Tristan Farnon Brian Stirner   Peter Davison  
Helen Alderson Lisa Harrow Carol Drinkwater (Series 1-3)
Lynda Bellingham (Series 4-7)
 
Mrs Pumphrey Daphne Oxenford   Margaretta Scott  
Mallock John Rees   Frank Birch (Series 1-3)
Fred Feast (Series 4-7)
 
Hinchcliffe   Bill Maynard  
Calum Buchanan   John McGlynn  
Whirly Tyson   Amy Manson
Rob McAloon   Ben Lloyd-Hughes

Films[edit]

All Creatures Great and Small (1975)[edit]

All Creatures Great and Small is based on first two novels, If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972), and was given the same title as the 1972 US compilation volume of these two novels, was released in 1975. It was directed by Claude Whatham, and written by Hugh Whitemore, and starred Simon Ward as James Herriot and Anthony Hopkins as Siegfried Farnon.

It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1976)[edit]

It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet is based on the two following novels, Let Sleeping Vets Lie (1973) and Vet in Harness (1974), and was released in 1976. It was directed by Eric Till, written by Alan Plater, and starred John Alderton as James Herriot and Colin Blakely as Siegfried Farnon.

Television[edit]

All Creatures Great and Small (1978–1990)[edit]

All Creatures Great and Small is a BBC television series based initially on first two novels, If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972). As the novels are written in an episodic style, with each chapter generally containing a short story within the ongoing narrative of Herriot's life, this facilitated their adaptation for a television series by producer Bill Sellars. The series stars Christopher Timothy as James Herriot and Robert Hardy as Siegfried Farnon, and it had two runs: the original (1978 to 1980, based directly on Herriot's books) was for three series; the second (1988 to 1990, filmed with original scripts) for four. Series 4 saw the introduction of new vet, Calum Buchanan (John McGlynn), based on Herriot's real-life assistant Brian Nettleton. A total of ninety episodes were broadcast.

Young James Herriot (2011)[edit]

Young James Herriot is a three-part BBC television series based on the life of veterinary student James Herriot. It was based on notes in the Herriot archive and the archives of the Glasgow Veterinary College, including the diaries and case notes the author kept during his student years, and was produced with the cooperation of his family[4]. The series was directed by Michael Keillor and written by Ann McManus and Eileen Gallagher. It stars Iain De Caestecker as Herriot, with Amy Manson and Ben Lloyd-Hughes as fellow students Whirly Tyson and Rob McAloon.

2020 series[edit]

In 2019, Channel 5 announced it would be filming a new series in the Yorkshire Dales over the summer of 2019.[5]

The World of James Herriot[edit]

The World of James Herriot is a writer's home museum attraction in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, England.[6][7][8] The museum covers the life and books of the 20th century vet and author James Wight (pen-name James Herriot).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "James Herriot Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  2. ^ James Herriot's Yorkshire (1979), James Herriot, St. Martin's
  3. ^ Wight, Jim. 2000. The real James Herriot: A memoir of my father. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-42151-7
  4. ^ Wight, Jim (10 December 2011). "Udderly magical! A new drama documents James Herriot's unruly college days and his son says the legendary vet would approve". Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  5. ^ "All Creatures Great and Small returns to TV". BBC News. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  6. ^ The World of James Herriot, Culture 24, UK.
  7. ^ World of James Herriot, Information Britain, UK.
  8. ^ World of James Herriot Archived 2011-02-12 at the Wayback Machine, Yorkshire Attractions Archived 2011-09-06 at the Wayback Machine, UK.

External links[edit]