All Creatures Great and Small: What We Know Now
Need something great and charming to look forward to? James Herriot’s beloved classic All Creatures Great and Small is coming to MASTERPIECE on PBS in a glorious, new TV adaptation. Get details on the familiar stars in the cast, see the first photos from the set, and learn more about the original book series that has delighted audiences for decades.
Who Wrote it and What is it About?
James Herriot’s charming adventures as a country vet come to life in an unforgettable new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small. Based on a series of beloved books by British veterinary surgeon James Alfred Wight (better known by his pseudonym James Herriot), All Creatures Great and Small introduces the vet now world renowned for his inspiring humor, compassion, and love of life.
Hired fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College into the rural practice at Skeldale House in the rural Yorkshire Dales, James discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales’ farmers are a tough crowd to please. As he explores his new trade, James also gets to know his newly formed dysfunctional family: his chaotic and erratic boss Siegfried Farnon, his wayward brother Tristan, and the shrewd Mrs. Hall who is endlessly steering the ship. When local beauty Helen Alderson attracts James’s attention he finds another, more enduring reason to stay in the Dales.
Who Is Part of the Cast?
Newcomer Nicholas Ralph stars as James Herriot. Samuel West, known for his roles in Mr. Selfridge and On Chesil Beach, plays Siegfried Farnon, the unconventional, grumbling veterinarian who (reluctantly) takes a chance on hiring Herriott. Anna Madeley (The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose) stars as Mrs. Hall, the housekeeper and kindly matriarch of Skeldale House, where Farnon and Herriot reside.
Siegfried’s younger brother, the charismatic and aimless Tristan, is portrayed by The Durrells in Corfu star Callum Woodhouse. Rachel Shenton (Switched at Birth, White Gold) stars as Helen Alderson, a farmer’s daughter who helps manage her family’s farmstead. Diana Rigg, known for roles in Game of Thrones and Victoria among many others, portrays Mrs. Pumphrey, the haughty owner of the Pekingese Tricki-Woo. Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter‘s Neville Longbottom) portrays Hugh Hulton, a nearby prosperous landlord.
What About the Books?
James Herriot had an ambition to write, but between a busy family and practice, it wasn’t until the urging of his wife that Herriot ultimately began writing. After some false starts, Herriot turned to the subject he loved most and knew best — his own career — and wrote If Only They Could Talk, the first in a series of books. Sales were initially slow, until a New York publisher combined several of Herriot’s early works into one volume, All Creatures Great and Small. Subsequent volumes compiling Herriot’s work, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, and later books The Lord God Made Them All and Every Little Thing, became international bestsellers.
Despite his tremendous success as an author, Herriot continued his veterinary practice until his death.
When Will it Air?
All Creatures Great and Small will air in January, 2021, as part of MASTERPIECE’s 50th-anniversary season. Want to know the air date when it is announced and get the latest updates on the series? Subscribe to the free MASTERPIECE email newsletter to stay in the know.
First Look Images