Samuel West And Callum Woodhouse — The Fraternal Farnons — Call An Audible

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Related to: All Creatures Great and Small, Season 2

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The Brothers Farnon have a fraught relationship — but viewers can rest assured that the actors who play them don’t have those struggles. Samuel West and Callum Woodhouse return to the podcast to explain how they locate that family tension on screen.

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Jace Lacob: I’m Jace Lacob, and you’re listening to MASTERPIECE Studio.

The Farnons are an unlikely duo.  At first glance, they seem more like father and son than brother and brother.


Siegfried That bag won’t be much use to you empty.

Tristan Right.

Siegfried Make sure you take a decent rasp.

Tristan Will do.

Siegfried And a spare. Tristan? Did you hear me?

Jace Siegfried, the mercurial elder brother, holds Tristan — and everyone, really — to an impossibly high standard.


Mrs. Hall Is this a good idea?

Siegfried He’s a perfectly good driver.

Mrs. Hall But it’s a lot to take on. He’s not done a calving on his own before.

Siegfried Well, he’s got to do one some time. Sink or swim, Mrs Hall. That’s the nature of the beast.

Mrs. Hall Doesn’t mean you have to push him straight in at the deep end.

Siegfried I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Jace So the revelation that Siegfried has been keeping Tristan’s failed final exam results from him lands rather awkwardly.


Tristan You told me that I’d passed. You said – categorically –

Siegfried I know. I may have omitted one or two of the finer details –

Tristan So I didn’t pass?

Siegfried You narrowly missed the mark on one paper – Parasitology – but really, in the great scheme of things… It’s just a tiny white lie.

Jace Fortunately, the actors behind the warring brothers are good sports and remain in good spirits. Sam West and Callum Woodhouse return to the podcast — together — to explore fictional brotherhood and the birthday dinner from hell.

And this week we are joined by All Creatures Great and Small stars Sam West and Callum Woodhouse. Welcome.

Sam West Hello.

Callum Woodhouse Hello. How you doing?

Jace I’m doing well! Despite being brothers, there’s a large age discrepancy between Siegfried and Tristan, one that makes their dynamic far more fraught. Siegfried was pushed into the role of Tristan’s sort of surrogate father, and so they’re not contemporaries in a way. How do you feel that age difference plays into the tension between the two of them?

Sam I think it’s pretty interesting. I mean, it was something that came out of Cal being so impossibly young and me being so ancient. And when we met and thought we were quite good casting for brothers, but that there was, you know, 20-something years between us. And so we thought if Cal played a couple of years up and I played a couple of years down, we could make that 19 years difference, which is almost an entire generation, as you say, I’m sort of his surrogate father. And we thought there was probably another child in between who had died, and that Tristan might have been a bit more of an afterthought. And we sort of made it work that way. And in fact, all the things that we talked about have come into being in series two and that, you know, he now has a relationship with my father that I never really had. You know, it was really interesting. We kind of just spitballed it, and then it went into the series. It was lovely.

Jace I mean, you mentioned sort of the decision to sort of play up or down your ages in order to make that that difference work. I’m curious what your first impressions were of each other when you met for the first time before the start of series one?

Callum Well, I mean, obviously I’ve spoke about this like in other interviews, like, I was already like a fan of Sam’s work, so like meeting him was, you know, a thing like in itself, let alone sort of getting to be in scenes with him. So I think that sort of thing of like, looking up to someone in the sense of their work like that that definitely helped with Tristan. You know, he’s he’s he’s always wanting to please his brother. So not of, you know, you know, trying to look good in front of someone sort of had that and that like, you know, that helped with the acting of that.

Jace Well, I mean, along those lines, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I will put you on the spot, Callum. I mean what would you say is Sam’s best quality?

Callum For me, Sam’s best quality is that he can, he can talk about things, which I’m going to be, you know, totally honest, I personally have no interest in or have never had any interest, but he talks about them in a way which of the sort of ten minutes you’re like, ‘Right, and so what about this stamp? Where could you possibly get that one, then?’ And he draws you in and you get so excited and sort of into his world.

Sam Aww, that’s so sweet. After ten minutes I’m like, ‘Why don’t I shut up?’

Jace I mean, I’m going to put you then on on the spot then as well as Sam. I mean, what would you say is Callum’s best quality?

Callum Probably my good looks. But, whatever you think. Sam.

Sam So yeah. No. I mean, apart from those. I just think his energy and sunniness. I mean, he’s a very good fit for Tristan because, you know, hope springs eternal with him, and that’s an amazing energy to have. And I think we’re quite good casting in that respect because a lot of the time, the stuff that really annoys Siegfried about Tristan is just the difference in character and the fact that Siegfried has become a bit staid and a bit blocked and sees what he could have been in his younger brother, where had he not had such a toxic relationship with his father and had so many responsibilities so early on. And that’s sort of simultaneously very attractive and very annoying, like all good familial relationships.


Tristan Oh. I say – this is…

Siegfried Thought you’d like it.

Tristan Like it…? It’s magnificent. This means a lot, Siegfried. Thank you.

Siegfried Not at all. Not at all. Happy birthday.

Sam You know, I say that James is the son that Siegfried wishes he’d had, and Tristan is the son that Siegfried wishes he didn’t have. But I think in terms of, you know, Carl’s performance, it’s a beautiful fit of of wit and strength, and I think particularly in series two, when he’s given a bit more to do, and and proves, you know what a considerable actor and what a considerable character he is. Plus being, you know, delightful to work with.

Jace And apparently, you know, devastatingly handsome.

Sam And of course, devastatingly handsome, but we don’t talk about that.

Jace It is easy to forget sometimes that Tristan and therefore Callum doesn’t appear in the very first episode of All Creatures, as the character isn’t introduced until episode two. Sam, did it help to have that first episode to establish Siegfried before peeling away a layer of onion when Tristan has been introduced?

Sam It’s always good to get the first one under the belt, and I do forget that he’s not in the first episode. It’s nowhere near as good an episode as it should be as a result. But to be honest, I had my own problem with episode one, which was that I was directing a play at the time and I did my first three or four scenes on Sundays during previews, having been driven up from London to Yorkshire and with about four hours sleep. And obviously, Siegfried takes a good deal of playing energy and character and size, both physical and emotional. And I look at those scenes now and just want to do them again. So I sort of wish I’d hit the ground running as fast as Callum did, actually, and when he finally did appear in episode two. So, yeah, he came along and took the baton beautifully.

Jace Some of my favorite moments on All Creatures are the Skeldale House scenes between Siegfried and Tristan, which feel really genuinely lived in and familial. What is it like shooting those scenes on the Skeldale House set?

Callum I mean, that set is just for me, it’s the best set I’ve ever been on. It’s just sort of like perfectly detailed and my favorite room is the medicine sort of room, which Tristan actually gets to spend a lot of time in there, and maybe with mixing medicine is sort of donkey work. Maybe that’s why Siegfried always puts Tristan on to it. I really enjoy being in that room just because it’s I just think it’s such a cool room and that entire wall of like bottles and ointments and mixtures and things, they’re all they’re all sort of real replicas from the James Herriot Museum in Thirsk. So we’ve got a bit of the real history of Skeldale House sort of in that room as well. So that’s another reason I love that room. But yeah, like obviously being on a set like that, you just, it just transports you to, you know, home I like I have the exact same, like the design on the staircase is very similar to what I have at home at my parents’ house.

Sam And my parents had one of the William Morris wallpapers, in the main room, in the living room. I do think that Jackie’s this is Jackie Smith, our designer, that her choices are I mean, they’re very stylish, they’re very truthful, but then they’re mostly real. And it’s always been incredibly easy to believe in that place as a home as well as I know a great place to shoot the drama. It was designed by Jackie and with Brian Perceval, our lead director’s help, in order not to run out of angles, you know, halfway through the first morning and it’s got it’s got enough flexibility to work as a sort of home for fast in some of the episodes in series one and also enough distances to give drama and and a good look to the thing. But actually, above everything else, it feels true when you sit down and Mrs. Hall gives you your breakfast, you just, you get the sense of routine and reality. And when you go outside, you think, you know, I know where I’m going and you know where the garden is, you know where the pantry is, and it all just seems to work. It’s felt like that from the moment we stepped into it. It’s as I agree with Cal, it’s my favorite set I’ve ever worked on.

Callum One of the other things about having the set like that is that it’s like it’s all one set. It’s not like each room is like an individual thing. It’s all sort of connected. So it allows for things, like one of my particular favorite scenes from series two is when Siegfried’s having a go at Mrs Hall about something and follows her into the kitchen. And then she brings up the letter about Edinburgh, and then Siegfried backtracks and goes into the hall, and she follows him and it’s all one scene, and it starts in the hall, into the kitchen, then back out the other way. And yeah, I just, yeah, I just love this sort of like that scene just travels the entire house basically.


Mrs. Hall I had a very strange phone call this morning.

Siegfried  Given our clientele, I can’t imagine that’s a unique occurrence.

Mrs. Hall  It were the Dean of Edinburgh veterinary college.

Siegfried Ah.

Mrs. Hall  They wanted to know if Tristan would be returning for the autumn term. I told ‘em they must’ve made a mistake because Tristan passed his exams last Christmas.

Siegfried Now where was that erm… thing… I was after…

Mrs. Hall  Siegfried Donald Farnon!

Siegfried I’ve no doubt there’s a very simple logical explanation for all of this.

Mrs. Hall  You told him he passed his exams when he blooming well didn’t.

Siegfried One really mustn’t leap to outlandish conclusions…Alright – I did it.

Mrs. Hall You lied to him!

Siegfried It was for his own good. What were the blasted university calling for anyway?

Mrs. Hall  Well they didn’t.

Siegfried What?

Mrs. Hall  I knew you were up to something, I knew you wouldn’t tell me the truth –

Siegfried Mrs Hall… I am shocked – a woman of your integrity-

Mrs. Hall  Don’t even start-

Siegfried What is it the seventh commandment tells us?

Mrs. Hall  Thou shall not commit adultery.

Siegfried Well… the other one then.

Mrs. Hall What on earth were you thinking?

Siegfried That it might be nice if I wasn’t constantly hounding him about passing his damned exams. I thought we might be able to salvage something that approximates to a relationship.

Mrs. Hall  Oh. For goodness sake. You’re both as bad as each other.

Siegfried What’s that supposed to mean?

Sam It’s the closest we ever get to The West Wing.

Callum Yeah, yeah.

San But when Anna and I get scenes like that and we think, okay, we can learn this, how can we shoot it in one? And if Brian or whomever is directing has, as you know, talented Steadicam operator, then we know actually we can give it a go. And like, like Callum says, it’s a real pleasure to be able to walk from one space and one acoustic and one room to the next and not have to stop acting. It’s really good.

Jace So it’s the sort of All Creatures equivalent of a walk-and-talk.

Sam Exactly. And I mean, you know, I mean, people may not realize this, but of course, when you shoot things on multiple cameras, you have to not overlap because you can’t edit it. Whereas if you shoot on a single camera, you can talk simultaneously and interrupt each other and, you know, do anything you like. The only thing you can’t do is speed it up by cutting things out because you have got another shot to cut to. So if you if you’re working with actors who tend to talk and walk quite quickly like me and Anna do, then you should be all right.

Jace I mean, Jackie Smith has said that there are little mementos from Siegfried and Tristan’s past that are sort of scattered throughout the set. Have you added or snuck in any sort of personal mementos to the set?

Sam I’ve taken one out, you know, I took one out because there’s a fox in the main room, which I liked. And there’s also a pheasant or they used to be a pheasant. And I said, ‘I don’t want to be specific about the fact that Siegfried shoots. He might do, and I don’t know whether he does, somehow having a fox, you can come down on either side of the fox. You know, you can be on the fox’s side or you can be part of the hunt that wants to tear the fox apart. But you can’t really come down on the side of the pheasant. You know, the pheasant is a game bird and it’s there to be shot. And something about having a game bird and also, you know, being a veterinarian who would look after a bird if it was brought in and needed to be saved just didn’t quite work.’ And I think that the designers agreed with me and it disappeared. But I mean, what’s fascinating for me is looking around and thinking I can invent a backstory for every single picture here. You know, I know the name of our dog and I know where that picture of Evelyn was taken. But the thing is, she decorated a lot of it, and she’s five years dead now, and it will need redecorating eventually. And that’s going to be a bit of a story when it happens, because so much of the look of the place is bound up in my memories of her.

Jace Season two begins with the return of James to the Dales after two weeks away for Easter. During that time and for the first few episodes of the series, Siegfried hasn’t told Tristan the truth about his exam results. Why does Siegfried continue to conceal this fact, and what is he hoping will happen if Tristan doesn’t learn that he failed?

Sam That’s a very good question. I mean, he lies with the best intentions. And then at the point where he should fess up, he realizes that he doesn’t really think he’s done anything wrong, which is typical Siegfried, and and also that if Tristan, in a narrow sense, can legally get away with practicing without having passed, which he can, that he’ll learn on the job rather like Siegfried did and and he thinks this might work while at the same time deep down knowing that ultimately it won’t, at least it won’t forever. But I think he’s a bit of a coward about telling the truth. I mean, who isn’t, some of the time? And in fact, the only time he eventually does tell the truth is when Tristan shows him how, by saying that he bought some eggs and put them in to the chickens’ coop. And so, you know, rather frustratingly, the younger brother shows him the way. I mean, I think I think it comes from a good place, not wanting to hurt him, seeing all the work he’d done and not wanting him to go back to college and do it all again. But like a lot of lies, you know, it has teeth and it comes back to bite his bottom.

Jace I mean, Tristan is in the dark about his exam results, thanks to Siegfried, Siegfried is acting maybe even more strangely or at least harshly then, than usual to Tristan. I mean, what does Tristan initially make of Siegfried’s behavior at the start of this series?


Callum Um I mean, I think he expects it doesn’t he? He expects to be sort of thrown into the work, he tries to put it off like like he did with the pig he sort of desperately wanted Siegfried to go in there. Well, I don’t know. I think he’s probably realized that his best was sort of through is just to actually do it rather than, you know, you could argue till the cows come home with Siegfried, but he’s going to make it do it, so just do it. I think he probably learns that from like, maybe the pig in episode two onwards.

Jace I mean, Tristan says, ‘I’m at my happiest when he doesn’t allow me to do anything.’ He does unfortunately fail pretty, pretty badly when he takes Mrs. Tompkin’s, budgie, Peter out of his cage and Peter dies instantly in his hand. How horrified is Tristan in that moment, and how is it to play this horror?

Callum Yeah, that was such a fun thing to film. Yeah, I was. That was that was, you know, a fake, a fake budgie that I was performing CPR on, I should mention. But yeah, it was very funny. You know, we had Brian coming in from the other room just like, like still laughing from the monitor, which is always, you know, makes you feel very, very good and feel like you’ve got it. And yeah, people, people liked it. But I think, you know, I think his solution to the problem, like, well, like again, it’s, you know, Siegfried lying about the exams. You know, Tristan is obviously dishonest, replaces the budgie with a completely different budgie, and it’s fine because she’s blind. But you know, he does, you know, it’s a good deed. You know, he keeps someone happy in their in their later years rather than being honest and taking that one sort of comfort away from them. Hmm.

Jace These seem to be patterns of behavior that neither man can break. Siegfried mistrusts Tristan and expects him to fail. Tristan messes up and tries to cover it up. Is there any sense that either of them can break out of this vicious cycle that they’re trapped in?

Callum I mean, I’d like to think so.

Sam this will be difficult, isn’t it? I mean, we repeat the mistakes that our parents made with us or we we overcorrect. I mean, what’s fascinating bringing up two small children in lockdown with was how when I was away, I found myself behaving in the same sort of over-authoritative way to them as I was to Tristan, eventually. But all I really just needed to do is to take the pressure off them and let them be themselves, which so often that is the key to all parenting. And I think there’s a lot of blood under the bridge, and there will, of course, be, you know, continually annoying things that happen on both sides. But what we have at the end of series two that we didn’t have at the end of series one, I think this is a much larger mutual respect and a realization that I didn’t know about his relationship with our dad, and that’s always quite a shock that somebody who you’re close to has knowledge of somebody that you thought you knew. You know, when you weren’t in the room, that’s special and unique to them. And that brings Siegfried up short, actually.

Jace Before this next question, a brief word from our sponsors…

Jace Episode four begins with Siegfried giving Tristan his very own list. Cal, what does this moment mean for Tristan?

Callum I mean, yeah, that’s I think that’s probably what He’s been after for so long, really. Like, you know, he puts up the front of being happy not doing anything, but, you know, getting getting a list that’s it, that’s it, you’re a vet, you know.

Sam You’re a made man.

Callum Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re a made man. No one can touch you. But yes, I think when he gives him that, when he gives him the list, it’s, you know, he yeah, he thinks that’s the ultimate sort of thing to achieve. And then however, however, many minutes later in the episode it is, he gets the Rover to drive to the next appointment. And it’s like, it’s just like two things at once for Traistan  in the same day, obviously, obviously his first thing to do is to go in and ask the girl out of. Of course,

Jace I was going to say his, you know, he uses the opportunity to try to impress Margot Sebright Saunders. That’s his first sort of port of call. And he tries to sort of rather and wildly flirt with her by telling her that he’s got all the credentials and the qualifications. I mean, it does feel like he’s finally come into his own here or maybe found his identity, even as he’s sort of bricks initially with Margot.

Callum Yeah, definitely. And, you know, maybe because he’s. Because he’s been feeling that because he’s been sort of broadcasting that information when the rug is sort of pulled out from under him, maybe that’s why it hurts even more than just the sort of, you know, than it just being a lie type of thing because he built himself up already so much.

Jace Sam, why can’t Siegfried leave well enough alone here, even after giving Tristan this responsibility and the list, why does he then drive up to the estate to check in on him? Why can’t he let go?

Sam Oh, well because he’s a control freak. And, you know, micro-managing people, it gives him a sense of power. And because he’s nervous that the good reputation of the practice which he spent his life crafting could be ruined by his brother being rubbish. But as he discovers to his delight, he’s neither rubbish nor ruining it. He’s a star.

Jace Tristan does appear to turn over a new leaf. There’s no getting drunk at the pub for this birthday. He wants a rather more subdued dinner party. What is behind his desire to suddenly plunge into adulthood, or at least the pretense of adulthood?

Callum I don’t know, really, yeah, it’s I think I guess it’s I guess he’s trying to sort of match the sort of responsibility that he’s being given. And, yeah, he probably already has an idea of someone he might potentially want to invite, and he maybe thinks that that might be more impressive.

Jace He hasn’t totally changed. I mean, he puts on a great show of delivering Dobson’s calf, and he lays it on rather thickly, which gets a glowing report from Dobson to Siegfried. And we come now to sort of the horror movie aspect of this episode, which had me sort of completely on edge. What does Tristan make of Siegfried’s surprisingly flattering birthday toast, which seems to really touch Tristan? Does it feel like for the split second that he’s finally won Siegfried’s approval?

Callum Yeah, 100 percent. You know, there was definitely like a lump in my throat. Like, hearing that speech on every single take. It’s yeah, it’s absolutely what Tristan’s always wanted to hear. But, you know, by that point, he’s probably had like about half a bottle of wine. And so his reaction next after that is to start bloody boasting.


Tristan You know, Siegfried, the thing I realized today is, it doesn’t matter how good a vet you are – people only respect you once they see you putting in the hard graft.

James Well no-one could fault you there, Triss.

Tristan No. Because at the end of the day, I’m not afraid to go the extra mile. If that’s what it takes.

James You certainly went all out.

Tristan If it’s sweat and tears they want, I give it to them.

Siegfried If you’ve done anything to embarrass this practice, Tristan…

Tristan No, no not at all, no. Well, I may have exaggerated the effort involved a little –

James No…? Really?

Tristan A few well-placed groans – some unnecessarily straining sinews – the final howl of pain –

Diana  Goodness.

Siegfried The final what?!

Tristan Oh, I may have gotten slightly carried away. But it had the desired effect.

Jace A second later, as Siegfried unthinkingly blurts out the truth and bursts Tristan’s balloon, telling him that he only thinks he’s got the qualifications. And it’s such a horrific moment. I so wanted to to sort of stop Siegfried, but obviously I can’t. I mean, does Siegfried instantly regret what he’s done, or is it impossible for him to admit that he was in the wrong?

Sam I think in the moment I rather wanted to recall it, yes, like sending an email and realizing you’ve hit send to your boss, you meant to send it to your girlfriend or vice versa. And I think, yes, and then he styles it out. ‘Because when push comes to shove, you know what, what harm was really done? Could I be said to be in the wrong? I’m not sure. It depends what you mean by wrong.’ You know, these are the sort of twists that Siegfried puts himself through in order not to use the word. Now, if you remember Henry Winkler when he was playing the Fonz on Happy Days trying to say I was wrong. And he could never get through the word, ‘Yes, I was. I was wroooo…’ He just never managed to say it. I thought about that when I was doing. And eventually, he does manage to say he was wrong in episode five of the cricket, and Tristan looks at him like, Did I just hear that correctly? But at the time, no, he styles it out and probably shouldn’t.

Jace Cal, here are so many emotions that go across your face in that moment when Siegfried blurts out the truth about Tristan, including, it looks like sort of anger and shame and embarrassment. What was it like filming this particular scene, and how did you get into Tristan’s headspace in that moment?

Callum I mean, I think one of the main things that helps is just being around like such an amazing table of actors, you know, when you when everyone else is so, so perfect, you just sort of feel so, so sort of in the scene and as we were saying earlier about the sets. But  I think there was just like a real mixture of things for him that like, as I was saying, he built himself up already. He fully believed that he’d done it and he’d been telling people he’d been telling, Margot, who was seated at the table just to his right. So, of course, was so much embarrassment and shame. But then there was also sort of anger and confusion. You know, this is the exact thing that Siegfried has been telling him not to do his entire life. And now Siegfried has done it to him for this sort of monumental thing in his life. So, yeah, so trying to balance those emotions was, yeah, it was. It was an interesting mix to have in the head.

Sam I have to say I had a I did. That wasn’t a good day from my point of view, until the very end of it. I had a difficult time on my stuff. I was very tired and I dried a few times and that’s not very like me. And in the end, I remember thinking that the scene had gone really well, just because by the time we turned around on Callum, I thought, ‘Well, I’ve done my bits now and I can just sort of concentrate on him,’ and he was so patient and so good. And, you know, had waited ‘till the end and then completely iced it in these close ups. And I ended up thinking, ‘Well, he sort of rescued the scene.’

Callum Thank you, man.

Sam That’s how I think, it’s exactly the opposite from my point of view. You know, it’s a very good thing, which is when it’s not your scene, you know, give the scene to the other actor. And I suddenly thought, ‘No, stop worrying about your performance and just focus on this person that you’re trying to lie to.’ And and it was terrific. I mean, I thought we really ended up canning something of some value in terms of their characters. It felt really real.

Jace I mean, to me, it’s one of my favorite scenes of this entire series. It feels painfully, painfully real, the kind of sort of error in judgment that a family member can only really make and sort of casually destroy someone else without really thinking about it. Where does this leave the two of them and the strides that they had recently made towards a better relationship? Is this a bump in the road, or is this a huge setback?

Callum Yeah, I mean, I would say it’s quite a big step back on Tristan’s part. You definitely see the repercussions of it over like the next couple of episodes. But yeah, it sort of, you know, I think I think it also, as you know, has different effects on trust and other than, you know, just him being very annoyed about it also eventually, I think maybe spurs him on, you know, yet again, type of thing.

Sam That’s very interesting, isn’t it? I mean, speaking as a parent, I think a lot of Siegfried’s care for his brother at that point is parental, and he lies in order to save his brother from pain. And actually, what would have been better was just to say, ‘You failed, and it’s OK, you know, we love you anyway, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and you’ll come back from it.’ And I mean, that happens in the end anyway, because nobody dies. And the truth comes out. But in wanting to protect him from his own mistakes, that’s a sort of worrying perfectionism in secret, isn’t it? And just wanting to keep everything sort of nice. And that’s not really how life works.

Jace Well, he’s sort of…it’s sort of infantilizes Tristan in a way?

Sam Exactly.

Jace This forces him to stop being a father and maybe start being more of a brother, which is what he is.

Sam Which is what he is, and would like to be more of.

Jace What can you tell us about what’s coming up in the second half of the series for the Farnon Brothers?

Sam There’s a cricket match, which turns out to have a lot of emotional as well as dramatic significance, because of our father’s history with cricket and stuff that I didn’t know about in his relationship with my brother. And I think that’s really important. As so often with, you know, sporting occasions there they have a they have a sporting significance and then they have a dramatic and a narrative significance, which is even bigger. And it’s a sequence that we put off till the very end of shooting, not because we were frightened of it, but because we were hoping that the weather would be good. And it was, yeah, it was. It was the first week of July and we had five out of six days of blissful sunshine. And then I broke my Achilles tendon on the very last day. But they’ve managed to cut around that. And it’s not at all noticeable and it’s a rather delightful sequence.

Callum and it’s an amazing individual and it literally takes up like the whole second half of the episode. It’s not like, you know, quick, quick, cricket game, where you know, it’s yeah, it’s like a real cricket game. It’s awesome.

Jace I mean, I have to ask without spoiling anything. Matt Lewis returns in the fifth episode. He’s a pretty keen bowler in real life. Are you guys bowlers? Do you like cricket?

Sam I’m meant to be able to play cricket, and I used to play for a team of actors called the Ones With Cowboys. Cricket started to war with birdwatching  for my Sundays about 15 years ago and unfortunately, birdwatching won. And that’s one of the reasons I broke my Achilles tendon because I didn’t warm up properly. I thought, ‘Oh yeah, cricket’s a game I can play.’ And what I meant was, ‘Cricket was a game I could play 20 years ago.’ But yeah, I can bowl and bowling was not the problem. I went for a run having hit the ball and my left leg completely gave way on camera, in fact. But yeah, Matt, I mean, if you can’t bowl, then bowling is a very hard thing to learn. So luckily, Matt absolutely has got that weird windmill muscle memory inside him and makes a very convincing show of it.

Callum Weren’t you once given a bowling tip by Peter O’Toole, Sam?

Sam So I was, oh, thank you for remembering that!

Jace Oh wow.

Sam I worked with Peter O’Toole on a P.G. Woodhouse called Blandings, or Heavy Weather, and and he was completely loopy and only really interested in cricket. And he said, ‘What do you bowl?’ I said, ‘Well I bowl medium pace outswing.’ And he said, ‘Have you’ve got an inswinger?’ I said, ‘Not really.’ He said, ‘Give me, give me a ball,’ and we found a ball. And he showed me the grip and I said, ‘Alright, I’ll try it on Sunday,’ and on Monday said, ‘Did you try it?’ And I said, completely, truthfully, ‘Yes, I did. And it swung and I got an LBW with my first ball.’ And he went, ‘Hooray!’ And that’s the only conversation I ever had with Peter O’Toole. But I left him very happy.

Jace Oh, that’s amazing. Cal, what about you? Are you a cricket fan?

Callum I’ve never really played it properly. But then my first play I did in my third year at drama school, it was all about cricket, so we went and did like loads of cricket training one weekend. So we knew the game and we were playing in the flat. And then in series two of the Durrells episode five was a whole cricket match that Leslie was a very big part in. And now I’ve got a brokerage’s, so I think cricket is really seeking me out, maybe I should pick it up.

Jace So the fifth episode of every series that you’re in, cricket will feature in it.

Sam OK, well, I have to say the 1970 series of All Creatures ran for long enough for there to be two cricket games. Know if we carry on, maybe we’ll get another one in series four.

Jace You’ll get another one. Samuel West and Callum Woodhouse, thank you so very much.

Sam Thanks so much for that.

Callum Thank you, man. Cheers!

Jace Romance finally blooms for James and Helen — but obstacles still remain in the Dales.


Cranford She’s dead.

James Dead?

Cranford Ay, she is. Dead. Not her, me cow. You silly beggar.

James I am sorry about that.

Cranford Ah don’t think it was owt to do with her stomach neither.

James Sorry.

Helen I am just relieved he wasn’t talking about his wife.

Jace Rachel Shenton returns to the podcast February 13 for a very Valentine’s Day appropriate reflection on the series’ second season.

MASTERPIECE Studio is hosted by me, Jace Lacob, and produced by Nick Andersen. Elisheba Ittoop is our editor. The executive producer of MASTERPIECE is Susanne Simpson.



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