Wednesday 2 September 2020

James Herriot - All Creatures Great & Small and the Dales

 Are you watching the new All Creatures Great & Small t.v. series on Channel 5?

We have known for some time that a new series was being put together.  Last night (1st September) James Herriot fans throughout the country settled in the front of their television sets in eager anticipation.  I am pleased to report that the new series has been well received and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was hard not to make comparisons but film making has come along way since the late nineteen seventies, the cast is new and fresh and the film location is mainly Whafedale not Swaledale, Wensleydale  and Arkengarthdale.  

A relatively new actor, Nicholas Ralph, has landed the starring role of James Herriot and he plays the part of the newly qualified vet very well.  Just the right balance of being overawed by his forthright employer Siegfried, his eagerness to prove himself as a veterinary surgeon and his instant affection for Yorkshire and Yorkshire folk.

Samuel West who plays Siegfried has huge shoes to fill.  Robert Hardy was enormously popular when he played the part however Samuel West has done himself proud.  The first time you hear Sam West as Siegfried call 'Mrs Hall!' (his housekeeper) it could have been the late, great Robert Hardy himself.  And once or twice more during the programme the clear, distinctive tone rings out.  That little nod to his predecessor was a very nice touch and one that fans of the original All Creatures Great & Small series will appreciate.

Channel 5 All Creatures Great & Small - Tuesday evenings at 9 p.m.

And so the scene is set.  It is rumoured that a new series will be filmed this winter.  I would love to visit Grassington when filming resumes.  This new portrayal of James Herriot's working life is bound to attract hundreds of visitors to the dales.  They will come to see the new film locations but they will still want to see where it happened first.  Hillcrest Cottage is only a couple of miles from the famous watersplash that featured in the opening sequence of the BBC tv series.  From Pry House Farm you can walk to the location of the feature film 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet'.

Pry House Farm and the rugged, untamed landscape that surrounds it epitomises the rural lifestyle and  working environment and that James Herriot took to his heart.  He would have regularly treated animals on farms like ours and experienced farmhouse hospitality.  One of the greatest complements I have ever been paid was when during breakfast a guest exclaimed, 'Its just as if Siegfried Farnon might walk in at any minute'.  Try the Pry House Farm B&B experience - you'll be very welcome.

     For more information about the location of the new series, working farms and where to stay, the Herriot Trail and James Herriot the author visit