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All Creatures Great and Small

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  • All Creatures Great and Small

    There has to be a thread for my favorite show- and my favorite character Siegfried! What shall we discuss? Characters? Actors? Show? Love All Memories Great and Small...

  • #2
    I love the show also. I have been to many of the locations on my boozy dales travels,but I guess know one on here thinks the same.

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    • #3
      I live close to the Dales, but I've never ventured much beyond the end of my road (lived here 16 years). My Dad, Larry Noble was in one episode. As I recall he was a cattle farmer and had to share the shed with a large cow and a vet/actor who wore a rather long rubber glove!! Yes, it was one of those episodes.

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      • #4
        One of the episodes, Attendant Problems, in which a lot of pregnant ewes on a snowy hillside collapse because of (I think) calcium deficiency was filmed in the village where my parents have a holiday cottage. The crew needed a lot of in-lamb ewes of the right breed, and heard of a local farmer who is famous in the area because she took over the running of the farm (aided by her eight children) after her husband was tragically killed in a tractor accident in the late 60s; Betsy had the right sort of ewes at the right stage of pregnancy to fit in with the filming schedule so the crew, with all their trucks, descended on this tiny village for a week or so. I can recognise the occasional glimpse of some of the houses, though not our cottage. Many times I've sledged and rolled Easter eggs down the hill that you see in the episode. The local paper ran a big feature about Betsy and the filming of the episode.

        Being very picky, and this is only something that a Yorkshireman would recognise, a lot of the supporting cast (farmers etc) have the wrong accent: they use a typical West Riding accent rather than the slightly more melodic Dales accent which has a hint of Geordie in it - think of Hannah Hauxwell.

        One thing that not a lot of people know: Alf Wight (the real James Herriot) lived and worked in Thirsk on the edge of the North York Moors, about an hour and half's drive from Wensleydale where most of the location filming was done. He only ventured as far west as Wensleydale occasionally - I think "Stewie Brannon" in the books was based in Leyburn and "James Herriot" worked there occasionally as a locum while "Stewie" was on holiday.

        The actual building in Thirsk that was used by the Skeldale House practice has now been turned into a museum devoted to James Herriot and the work of a country vet; the real practice moved out to an industrial estate on the south side of the town and Alf's son took over the practice. It was featured on the recent Channel 5 series "The Yorkshire Vet".

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        • #5
          James Herriot books were hugely popular of course in the 1970s and I remember being at home one afternoon (can’t recall if it was the 1970s or 1980s) watching an edition a quiz on tv, possibly ‘Tell The Truth’. The guest personality was the real Tristan and after being used to seeing the lythe Peter Davison doing his stuff, I was taken aback at seeing this smallish, rather rotund man. I know the books were set in the 1930s/40s but it took quite leap of faith to accept that this was indeed he.

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          • #6
            Required Sunday night viewing when I was growing up in the seventies.
            I've loved the vintage cars driven by Siegfried and James and constantly wondered how they managed to get up all those hills without breaking down more often!

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            • #7
              I loved the books and the show - I saw a Christmas episode fairly recently (the one in which Siegfried plays a practical joke on Tristan by planting a medical skeleton in a previously unused room) and it was magical.

              I liked all of the cast, although I thought Christopher Timothy, at times, portrayed Herriot as too prickly and I wonder what the show would've been like with a Scottish actor playing the part (being as how Herriot was Scottish!) and I preferred Carol Drinkwater as Helen - but that's me being picky!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Antonylds View Post
                I loved the books and the show - I saw a Christmas episode fairly recently (the one in which Siegfried plays a practical joke on Tristan by planting a medical skeleton in a previously unused room) and it was magical.

                I liked all of the cast, although I thought Christopher Timothy, at times, portrayed Herriot as too prickly and I wonder what the show would've been like with a Scottish actor playing the part (being as how Herriot was Scottish!) and I preferred Carol Drinkwater as Helen - but that's me being picky!
                Yes I thought Christopher Timothy was a bit abrasive and abrupt at times. They really should have chosen an actor with a soft Scottish accent. I too preferred Carol Drinkwater to Lynda Bellingham as Helen. I gather that Carol left after she and Christopher Timothy had an affair in real life (one or both of them was married to someone else at the time) and even as recently as the 1970s this was frowned upon and pressure was brought to bear...

                Being picky, I wonder if the age difference between Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy / Peter Davison was a bit too great.

                In case anyone doesn't know, this https://goo.gl/maps/ss85RqiqAmN2 is the building in Askrigg that they used for all the outside shots of Skeldale House. It's recently changed hands and is now a B&B - called Skeldale House (zoom in on the Google Maps photo). Apparently Alf Wight's (James Herriot's) son Jim was due to perform the opening ceremony but was unable to get there in time because of severe snow somewhere on the way.

                The water-splash that James and Siegfried drive through in the opening title sequence (certainly for the first few years) is this one https://goo.gl/maps/RTJRB9zkLto on the road between Arkengarthdale and Low Row and the hump-backed bridge in the titles is https://goo.gl/maps/nEJv9TiawoC2 in nearby Langthwaite.
                Last edited by martinu; 31st March 2017, 10:21 AM.

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                • #9
                  There's a new book about the television adaptation out...

                  http://www.miwkpublishing.com/store/...product_id=122

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by martinu View Post

                    Being picky, I wonder if the age difference between Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy / Peter Davison was a bit too great.
                    Maybe, but I find it difficult to visualise any other actors playing their roles - they were terrific. Christopher Timothy was fine, too. I don't want to sound over-critical about him, because it's possible his occasional abruptness stopped the show becoming too sentimental. The first few series, in particular, were a joy.

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                    • #11
                      Other actors? So how does it feel watching the movies?
                      Simon Ward, Brian Stirner and Anthony Hopkins, All Creatures Great and Small (1975)
                      John Alderton and Colin Blakely (no Tristan in this one), It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1976)
                      Note that Helen is played by Lisa Harrow, a New Zealander by birth, in both those films. So audiences watching Carol Drinkwater in 1978 might have found it difficult to get comfortable with some "new" actress taking over the role.

                      I remember seeing a double bill of these two films, back in the day when performances were continuous. I came in halfway through John Alderton with his arm up the rear entrance of a cow and saw it through to the end, followed by the Simon Ward version... then when Alderton came back and arrived at the practice to start all over again, I just had to wait until he got his arm inserted then quietly got up muttered "this is where I came in" and quietly left.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StoneAgeMan View Post
                        Other actors? So how does it feel watching the movies?
                        .
                        The movies were merely adequate - the luxury TV shows have is the time they give actors to develop their roles and Davison and Hardy (and Timothy) seized their opportunities.

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