All About Tricki Woo, All Creatures Great and Small’s Pampered Pekingese
Want to discover a whole hamper’s worth of “essentials” about Tricki Woo? We talked to the cast and crew of All Creatures Great and Small about Mrs. Pumphrey’s beloved pekingese, and Derek, the dog who plays him in the 2021 TV adaptation of James Herriot’s classic books. Find out his hair (fur?) and makeup tricks, if he’s really a diva, and who he likes better, Nicholas Ralph (James) or Callum Woodhouse (Tristan)!
Diva or Darling...or Both?
To learn about Derek, the dog who plays Tricki Woo, we spoke with Jill Clark of 1st Choice Animals, the official animal handlers of All Creatures Great and Small. She also happens to be Derek’s owner!
JILL CLARK: I’ve really not had anything much to do with the breed up until Tricki Woo came along, but they’re incredible little dogs, the nicest, bravest little dogs I think I’ve ever met. They have their own personalities, which just seep out of them. When it comes to training, they’re very, very clever. Derek is a diva—he likes his own space and he likes to do what he wants to do. He is loved by everybody, and his personality shines out wherever he is—that’s filming, that’s out when we’re in the park, that’s when we’re down at the beach—he just shines and people will stop and constantly want to talk to him. Not even knowing that he’s Tricki Woo! They just love the breed, and they love Derek. He just seeps out with emotions. He’s just lovely, such a nice little dog.
Who did Tricki Woo like better, "Uncle Herriot" or Tristan? And who did Derek like better, Nicholas Ralph or Callum Woodhouse?
NICHOLAS RALPH (James Herriot): Well, Tristan gives him all the treats, but I still think Uncle James, because Uncle James looks after him well and takes care of him. As for Derek, that’s hard to say. Derek, he just swans around on set, he’s a total diva, just lapping up all the attention from everyone. I don’t think he would be bothered whether it was me or Callum—I don’t think he even knows if it’s us. He’s just lapping it up. Whoever it is, he goes, “Thanks very much for patting me. On to the next: Who’s going to give me a treat?”
MASTERPIECE: “Give me a treat, my soul is on the floor.”
NICHOLAS RALPH: That’s exactly the face he pulls. You need to be on your toes with Derek as well, in the scenes, because he’ll give you a little bark. You want to say, “Tricki, have you been eating too much?” And he does a little grumble like, “grrr.” I mean, he’s a complete scene stealer! So whenever you’ve got a scene with Derek, you know you have to be off book, on point, because he’s going to upstage you every step of the way.
MASTERPIECE: Well, he must be an extremely good actor if he can act with his facial features being almost entirely hidden, with the coloring of his fur and his hair…
NICHOLAS RALPH: Exactly. They actually had to do quite a makeup job on Derek—because of his darker fur, because you couldn’t really see his eyes, so they had to lighten his face up a little bit with some makeup.
CALLUM WOODHOUSE (Tristan Farnon): Definitely me. 100% me. I gave Derek so much time on set. We were always running our lines together. Yeah, he was great. And me and Nick got on so, so well with the owner and the whole animal team that were there to look after Derek and all the other animals. We’d be in the pub on a Friday night at nine o’clock or whatever with Dean, one of the animal handlers, and sometimes he would just completely disappear and we wouldn’t know where he’d gone. And then we’d start to go home to get a taxi back, and you’d see him outside of his hotel with Derek on the end of his lead. Nine times out of ten, our nights in the pub always ended with us giving Derek a little kiss goodbye before we got in our taxis.
JILL CLARK: That’s a difficult one. I’m going to be diplomatic. He loved both of them.
MASTERPIECE: I just talked to Callum, and he said definitely himself.
JILL CLARK: Well, that’s unfair to Nick isn’t it? He loves Callum. But Callum had, I would say, a little bit more acting to do with him because there was a little more in Episode 4. Derek loves them both equally…perhaps the edge on Callum.
RACHEL SHENTON (Helen Alderson): This is such a controversial question. It’s very unfair! I feel like it’s probably Callum, even though Nick will argue that it’s him. I know he will. But I know it was probably Callum, only because I feel Callum really put the effort in with him. That’s why I’m giving it to Callum. He really did. He put a lot of work in with that little dog.
SAMUEL WEST (Siegfried Farnon): I would say that Derek and Callum had a slightly closer relationship. It’s interesting. Derek’s such a diva that he would arrive on a cushion with his handlers. But he’s a bit grand for both of them, actually. He’s a total diva. So I would say probably that, yes, he tolerates Nick, but in fact, there’s more warmth with Callum under the surface, even though he’s meant to be Tristan’s nemesis. I think that secretly they get on better, but frankly, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can spit!
ANNA MADELEY (Mrs. Hall): I think, Uncle James probably provided Trick Woo with a sense of security and home, but then, I liked Tristan’s leading by the carrot rather than the stick. You know, he had the brilliant contraption he comes up with, to take Tricki Woo for his walks? So I imagine Tricki Woo responded better to that actually, that the oncoming snack was what would win Tricki Woo’s heart. As for Derek: all of them. Derek was big bundle of gorgeous warmth. You didn’t know which way was up with Derek, because he was so hairy, furry! At some points, we didn’t know where his head was! It was quite funny—you’d see him getting brushed, and it was just like, “Which way?” But all of them. I think, where there’s love, Tricki Woo—Derek—would be happy.