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  1. #1
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    Excuse me while I prattle a bit.



    I've said elsewhere that I'm a large fan of the ACGS series, and when it first was televised in the U.S. I was quite excited having read the books. Throughout the series there were character changes that came and went. The first notable for me was "Mrs. Hall", and chiefly, Carol Drinkwater's "Helen" role. I think I'm not alone when stating that many found Lynda Bellingham's character never possessed the warmth of Drinkwater's finding it a poor replacement.



    Fast forwarding approximately 30 years, I pleasantly sat down to watch the reruns on Public Television, and it sort of reawakened my interest in the series and the characters. The one thing that I had in my favor this time was a home computer, which wasn't available those years ago......and so I began digging to learn where everyone went, particularly the why of Carol Drinkwater's replacement.



    I first found out that Mary Hignett (Mrs. Hall) died in 1980 from complications due to double hip replacement surgery, which she had been advised not to do. They'd thought it best to do one at a time. Sadly, she elected to do both and it took her life.

    This year I tripped over an old interview with Carol Drinkwater in which she mentioned her affair with Christopher Timothy. She went on to say that the tabloids in Britain found out and made quite an uroar of it, which she found very distressing in light of the fact (according to her) that there had been one or two others that Timothy had been involved in either previously or afterward.



    With all that said, (and she never went further), is this the reason that she was replaced in the series?



    Reading on, I found it interesting that she has gone on to become a well respected author as well as a devotee to an olive farm. She seems incapable of distancing herself from the role of Helen, which she seems to attempt in the few interviews that I've been able to capture online. This seems to go rather hand-in-hand with another thread here on being typecast. I find it interesting that she attempts to gently push that aside, where it seems Chris Timothy is very comfortable in embracing it.



    Two other things interest me of late. One is that during the brief 2006 reunion of the ACGS character actors, Timothy, Drinkwater, & Hardy, for a Yorkshire tourism piece Summer 2006, Peter Davison was not present. Secondly, I've noticed that in any interview conducted in the UK, neither he or his interviewer have ever conducted a more in depth question/explanation of his role in the series or his opinion of the series itself.

  2. #2
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Was Carol Drinkwater "replaced", or did she leave of her own volition?



    Steve

  3. #3
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    Well you see, there lies the rub. After reading the interview it lead me to believe it could be the case, but I'm not sure. She talked about the affair, but then mentions in the next breath the stir that it caused in the press. I surmised it could have been the case, but unless someone steps forward to explain the "why" of her replacement, we may never know.



    Honestly, she was perfect in every way for this role, she exuded warmth, and really sold the character of Helen, to say nothing of the chemistry between she and her screen husband and other key members of the cast. I should think it was a directors dream to have that kind of chemistry on set.



    So, my answer is I don't know, but my suspicion is that unless she was worried about typecasting, or that ACGS might interfere with other projects, it could have been a contributing factor. It wouldn't make sense otherwise. The audience loved her (and still do).



    I'd be interested in other perspective.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    name='Dirigoboy']Well you see, there lies the rub. After reading the interview it lead me to believe it could be the case, but I'm not sure. ...

    Honestly, she was perfect in every way for this role, she exuded warmth, and really sold the character of Helen....I'd be interested in other perspective.
    Have you, or had anyone else, read Drinkwater's two books? I am wondering if she goes into the reasons for her leaving ACGAS in her own books?



    All the best,



    Barbara



    Dirk_Bogarde_Brigade - a Yahoo group

  5. #5
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    It very well could Barbara, but I haven't read them. There does seem to be a trilogy.

    In what appears to be the first book entitled, "The Olive Farm", it's a book described as....a Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France......" So perhaps it lies there.

    Continuing from her interview, one of the more disappointing facets of her life was her post ACGS career when she suffered multiple miscarriages----so I think in finding her sense of peace amongst the olive trees, the writing has been a sort of catharsis.



    This from The Independent

    http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/b...cle1874599.ece

  6. #6
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    After leaving 'All Creatures' Carol Drinkwater moved to Australia and lived and worked here for a number of years.

    I cannot imagine her leaving England just because of the Timothy affair - but hey, you never know.

    Carol was a fine actress and I think it is a real shame that we have not seen more of her on our screens.

    She was, without doubt, the best Mrs. Herriott in the series.



    Dave.

  7. #7
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    It was a shame Carol Drinkwater left the series. Lynda Bellingham cannot act in my view, she is always exactly the same in everything she ever played. Therefore, she was never Helen, it was a case of Bellingham joining the family, so to speak.



    Regarding Peter Davison, perhaps the most revealing comments he made on the series came in the special features on the DVD, I think the third series. He did a commentary with Robert Hardy. Also Carol Drinkwater. Hardy made an interesting point, about the later series. These were not based on the stories by the original writer. New writers came in, yet the cast had grown into their roles over years. Hardy said he had to put the new writers straight on occassions about Siegfried's character. Other words, the cast knew their roles better than the new writers!



    I felt despite these problems, despite some overall diminshment, the series remained very entertaining, with perhaps more comedy emphasis than the first three pre war series.



    It may be contraversial thing to say, but Christopher Timothy I also feel is a one dimensional actor. To say he was put in the shade by Robert Hardy's towering performence as Siegfried is putting it mildly. The original stories were based on James Herriot's life as a vet. But to me, the TV series was made by Siegfried, and the at times hilarious psychological battle of wits between him and his philandering Brother Tristan.

  8. #8
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    I'd be most interested in Davisons commentary on the specials, he has seemed to me to be the most elusive since the series.



    You absolutely nailed the observation on Sigfried's character and the battle of wits between syblings. Reading this I could not agree more. I do find your call on Timothy as an actor quite interesting. ACGS is the only piece I've ever seen him in so I couldn't make a comparison, but intersting all the same.



    Robert Hardy IS a superior actor and his role as Sigfried was masterful. I had seen him in a Churchill role years ago which I enjoyed. Don't know if it was considered well done having never met the original (ha), but I'm sure Hardy was in the ballpark.



    I think overall, the thing I enjoyed much about the series were the character actors, outside of Skeldale House. I mean, Gobber Newhouse, who could have thought up the name or come up with the character?



    Dunno, I guess I feel it was a series ahead of it's time.

  9. #9
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    I also liked some of the farmers who were slow payers, most notably, the cantankerous Biggins! This character seemed to come into his own more so after the war. At times he was hilarious

  10. #10
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    I heartily agree. American television was/is void of this type of character development of this era, hence my love for series like these. It didn't get any better.

    Granville Bennet........all of them, just very rich in their roles.

  11. #11
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    I've found a forum for ACGAS. Recently started, so still under construction. Never saw a forum for this show before.

    'All Creatures Great and Small'-Forum - Index

  12. #12
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    Regarding Carol Drinkwater & Christopher Timothy's affair. Graham Lord wrote a book entitled "The Life of a Country Vet", all about Alf Wight (James Herriott)..In this book, he devotes a chapter on the "Affair".

    Apparently, Alf and his wife Joan (Helen in the series) were present for each taping of the show...they could see this affair enfolding and how it was affecting everyone in the series. The Wights didn't like what they were witnessing on a daily basis..they felt it gave them a bad name.

    They complained to the director and told them to replace Carol Drinkwater..as long as she was in the cast, it would be a distraction for Timothy. So she was replaced with Linda Bellingham and the 'love scenes' were drastically cut down between "Helen and James"...

    Linda seemed miscast but in the end, she worked out very well. The Wights were satisfied and the series saved from further scandal.



    I watched a reunion earlier this year where the cast was reunited..Drinkwater was there, along with Timothy, Hardy and Bellingham. Peter Davison was working on another project so he was absent. Drinkwater sat on one side of the room and Timothy on the other...he couldn't keep his eyes off of her.



    He apparently left his wife and [B]SIX[B] children before this affair began.



    I'm new to this forum..I live in Los Angeles, Calif. and I'm a Classic film buff...you can find me most days on Internet Movie Data base.com, Classic Film Board.

  13. #13
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    Carol Drinkwater has written at least two books that I know of: The Olive Farm and The Olive Season. I've got The Olive Season, which combines her dreamy tale of flourishing love and home with intermittent flashbacks about a painful childhood. She writes that "the world looked at and lived through my disturbed eyes was an angry, violent place where folk who lived together expressed themselves through physical and emotional brutality; where furniture was slung from room's end to room's end; where tables bearing hot food crashed to the ground like shot beasts spewing clots of baked beans, soggy toast, smashed plates; where I pressed my ear against closed doors and eavesdropped on the tinkly sound of my mother's solitary weeping, hovering, not knocking, impotent to offer succor."



    In other passages she writes about her difficulty in handling personal relationships until her husband Michel came along. I had read in the news that Christopher Timothy had left his wife and many children for her and was devastated when the relationship didn't last.



    I loved the ACGS series and also read every one of the books. I was working in a medical office at the time and found Herriot's wisdom in dealing with his patients' owners (I prefer the term guardians) to be applicable in relating to challenging patients in my own domain.

  14. #14
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    I have to admit to having inside information on the series at the time (before and after the affair) and from what I remember Carol was not popular on set, but I wasn't told why. Robert Hardy was a natural for Siegfried. He was very close to Siegfried in character, though more feisty and not popular with all directors of the series. His own dogs were used in the series.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: England mrs_emma_peel's Avatar
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    Stars of the world famous BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small were reunited in Thirsk in 2006 as filming got underway for a new programme focusing on the Yorkshire Dales.

    Christopher Timothy who played James Herriot, Carol Drinkwater who played Helen Herriot and Robert Hardy who played Siegfried Farnon visited the World of James Herriot visitor attraction.



    The Thirsk attraction is dedicated to the work of Alf Wight, a Dales Vet and author of the James Herriot series of books. Alf ran his practice from the very same premises in Kirkgate and the trio reminisced in front of the camera about the time they spent in the Dales.



    They were filming for the BBC television series - Countryfile Summer Diaries - a spin off from the popular weekly programme. The Calendar Girls of the Rylstone Womens Institute and Brian Blessed ... who took a trip on the picturesque Wensleydale Railway ... also featured in the programme.



    The programme, which was screened at the end of August 2006, reflected country life in Wensleydale and the Dales featuring the people and places who make up the county.





    Past and Present

    the original cast of All Creatures Great and Small Series 1-3 ... 1978-80 and the 2006 reunion …

    Christopher Timothy, Carol Drinkwater and Robert Hardy pictured outside The World of James Herriot.

    Adapted from Yorkshire Dales Country News 2006



    All Creatures Great and Small was one of my all-time favourite BBC drama series … particularly the first three series with Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, Peter Davison and Carol Drinkwater (easily the better Helen Herriot). Quite recently I saw the fascinating BBC4 documentary: The Cult of ... All Creatures Great and Small in which Christopher Timothy talked about his car accident (during the first series) and his off-screen romance with Carol Drinkwater.



    Carol Drinkwater is the younger sister of actress and photo-journalist Ros Drinkwater …

    Steve Temple in Paul Temple … Carol is the highly successful author of the Olive trilogy.

    Carol Drinkwater talked of her time on the first three series’; and Robert Hardy talked of the friction between himself and John McGlynn (Calum Buchanan) and with Lynda Bellingham (the second Helen Herriot).



    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the All Creatures Great and Small re-runs on Yesterday – I think the first three series were by far the best … my particular favourite was Series 2.

  16. #16
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    Carol Drinkwater was fantastic. The show just wasn't the same after she left.



    I had no idea about the affair between Timothy and Drinkwater, but the two clearly had great chemistry.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: United States RobertHardyfan's Avatar
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    Siegfried is my favorite for a million reasons. He is loving, giving, compassionate, funny, great with kids, has a sixth sense with animals, caring, larger than life, and full of life,and on and on.....
    The funniest part of Siegfried's character to me is that he is always trying to pretend that he is not a " pets" person, when he has an army of dogs, and is the biggest softy and most loving spirit I have ever seen. When an animal is in need, or needs a new home, who takes it in- Siegfried.
    Robert Hardy also seems to have a sixth sense with people, animals, and children, so he was a perfect Siegfried.
    Another thing I find funny about Siegfried- he says one thing- does another. You do what Siegfried tells you he wants, then he gets mad, and tells you you should have done something else. Watching him explode is hysterical!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: United States RobertHardyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Antony View Post
    It was a shame Carol Drinkwater left the series. Lynda Bellingham cannot act in my view, she is always exactly the same in everything she ever played. Therefore, she was never Helen, it was a case of Bellingham joining the family, so to speak.



    Regarding Peter Davison, perhaps the most revealing comments he made on the series came in the special features on the DVD, I think the third series. He did a commentary with Robert Hardy. Also Carol Drinkwater. Hardy made an interesting point, about the later series. These were not based on the stories by the original writer. New writers came in, yet the cast had grown into their roles over years. Hardy said he had to put the new writers straight on occassions about Siegfried's character. Other words, the cast knew their roles better than the new writers!



    I felt despite these problems, despite some overall diminshment, the series remained very entertaining, with perhaps more comedy emphasis than the first three pre war series.



    It may be contraversial thing to say, but Christopher Timothy I also feel is a one dimensional actor. To say he was put in the shade by Robert Hardy's towering performence as Siegfried is putting it mildly. The original stories were based on James Herriot's life as a vet. But to me, the TV series was made by Siegfried, and the at times hilarious psychological battle of wits between him and his philandering Brother Tristan.

    Oh, I so agree!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: United States RobertHardyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patacake View Post
    I have to admit to having inside information on the series at the time (before and after the affair) and from what I remember Carol was not popular on set, but I wasn't told why. Robert Hardy was a natural for Siegfried. He was very close to Siegfried in character, though more feisty and not popular with all directors of the series. His own dogs were used in the series.
    1st bold- I so agree!
    2nd bold- And he was so natural with all the animals was'nt he? Almost a sixth sense. A joy to watch.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Ireland Nimuae's Avatar
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    Robert Hardy and Carol Drinkwater - Brilliant !
    Peter Davison - Excellent.
    Christopher Timothy - Rubbish !

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