Casting News

Channel 5, Playground and MASTERPIECE on PBS Announce Cast for All Creatures Great and Small

Newcomer Nicholas Ralph to play beloved vet James Herriot opposite Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Callum Woodhouse and Rachel Shenton

September 24, 2019: Channel 5, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning production company Playground (Howards End, Wolf Hall) and MASTERPIECE on PBS today announced the casting of key roles for their upcoming adaptation of best-selling author James Herriot’s cherished collection of stories, written by Ben Vanstone (The Last Kingdom) and directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).

Exciting newcomer Nicholas Ralph will make his television debut as the iconic vet who became renowned for his inspiring compassion, humor and love of life. Samuel West (Mr. Selfridge, On Chesil Beach) joins as Siegfried Farnon, the wonderfully eccentric veterinary surgeon and proprietor of Skeldale House who reluctantly hires the recently qualified Herriot into his rural practice. Mrs Hall, the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House will be played by Anna Madeley (The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose). Siegfried’s errant and charismatic younger brother, Tristan, will be played by Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells in Corfu). Rachel Shenton (Switched at Birth, White Gold) takes the role of Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter who helps her father manage the family farm and care for her younger sister.

“This is an exceptional cast made up of a wonderful mix of exciting new and established talent” says executive producer Colin Callender. “Re-visiting the world of All Creatures Great and Small is like going home and re-discovering old friends whom we haven’t seen in years.  We’re thrilled to be bringing James Herriot’s beloved characters back to life with Sam, Anna, Callum, Rachel and Nicholas.”

“This is exactly the right ensemble cast to deliver the warmth, wit and charm of All Creatures Great and Small,” says MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “Like the original, this new series will capture the hearts of MASTERPIECE viewers.”

“Growing up I, like many others, adored this show,” says director, Brian Percival. “It was very much a part of Sunday evenings at home. So I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to revisit such a much loved story. I am so excited to have such a fantastic cast and crew filming in such a beautiful area of the UK. Sam, Anna, Callum, Rachel and Nicholas will have a whole new audience falling in love with James Herriot’s world.”

Colin Callender’s Playground is producing an initial series of six episodes plus a Christmas special of All Creatures Great and Small. It is the latest drama commission announced for Channel 5. MASTERPIECE on PBS in the US will co-produce and All3Media International is the international partner. The production will also receive funding and support from Screen Yorkshire.

All Creatures Great and Small was commissioned by Digital Channel Controller Sebastian Cardwell, who said: “We are really excited to be welcoming new talent to Channel 5 in our forthcoming All Creatures Great and Small. The cast will help to bring James Herriot’s books to life and tell his story to a 21st century audience.”

All Creatures Great and Small will be produced by Richard Burrell (New Tricks, Silent Witness). Alongside Colin Callender, the Executive Producers are Melissa Gallant for Playground, Ben Vanstone, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire, Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE, which is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston, and Louise Pedersen for All3Media International.



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