All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great And Small – beautiful locations in the Yorkshire Dales, interesting characters, a fantastic cast down to the smallest supporting role and a wonderful story. This is why with great pleasure many fans still remember the British television series from around 1980 based on the autobiographical stories of the veterinarian James Herriot.

The stories about the joint vet practice in Skeldale House in the fictitious village of Darrowby are way too nice. Unforgotten is the Pekinese Tricky Woo with his chauffeur and the English lady. The terrifying huge Irish Wolfshound Clancy and Mr. Biggins are another special team to remember.

The county of Yorkshire in England in the 1930s to 1950s: The young, motivated veterinarian James Herriot from Scotland signed for his first job to join his older colleague Siegfried Farnon in his practice in Darrowby. Siegfried, a bachelor of conviction, has a younger brother named Tristan, who has less his veterinary studies in mind than women and parties. Who knows how often he failed to pass his exam. Tristan often helps in the vet practice, sometimes as a victim of the sarcasm of his older brother, who is paying for his studies. The farmers and odd inhabitants of the area are initially extremely sceptical of the young James Herriot, but he proves himself and soon is allowed to look after collapsing cats and calving cows of the region, vaccinate sheeps. And he treats Gypsy Shire horses aswell as noble racehorses. Then James meets the farmer’s daughter Helen Alderson, which makes the number of his visits to the Alderson family increase remarkably. There is a series of dates which create weird situations. But finally, on the occasion of the wedding, Siegfried makes James his partner.

Sometimes serious tones are also struck in the TV series, as the everyday life of a veterinarian around 1940 is sometimes sad despite all the successes. World War II, the partly not yet so far advanced healing possibilities, animals which have to suffer by stinginess or carelessness of their people. Sometimes put a sick animal to sleep. With authentic costume design, set decoration and props as well as through the work of the authors, directors and actors, the producers have succeeded in creating a wonderful, humorously narrated social study of the everyday life of a country veterinarian in the first half of the 20th century.

The name of the author behind the pseudonym James Herriot is James Alfred Wight. He was born in England and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Wight went to Thirsk in northern Yorkshire after completing his studies in veterinary medicine and after gaining his first practical experience to join a vet practice. 25 years later he began to write down his memories of this time in short stories – the basis for the later television series All Creatures Great And Small. The real practice building was converted into a museum after his death in the 1990s and has since been reminiscent of the television series and the famous veterinarian and author. On the homepage of the museum there are information and stories provided about the life of James Herriot and the film locations. The title picture of this article shows Bolton Castle – where in the TV series James and Helen spent time for romantic walks. The exterior location for Skeldale House, in which the veterinarian’s practice was set, was a building in Askrigg, which was converted into a hotel some time ago. Guests can now stay in rooms named after the main characters and locations of All Creatures Great And Small. The studio set for the interior of the practice is shown in the Richmondshire Museum.

1. September 2019 Off