Get Ready for All Creatures Great and Small
Before you escape to the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales for the humor, heart, and humanity of All Creatures Great and Small, find out everything you need to know about the 2021 TV series based on James Herriot’s beloved books, as seen on MASTERPIECE on PBS! And get a regular dose of all of Darrowby’s delights when you subscribe to the free, weekly All Creatures Great and Small Insider email newsletter!
What is All Creatures Great and Small & What Can You Expect?
All Creatures Great and Small is a new series based on British vet and author James Herriot’s beloved books. The sometimes heart-rending, often hilarious fish-out-of-water story of young Herriot will sweep you away to the breathtaking beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, where you’ll encounter James’ eccentric boss Siegfried Farnon and his wayward, charming brother Tristan; the spirited, beautiful farmer Helen Alderson; close-knit and quirky villagers; and a host of other characters, two-legged and four! But at the foundation of the show, beneath the delightful antics and the great and small animals, lies true human connection—community and romantic—of the sort that we long for: to comfort us and brace us in both good and troubling times.
You’ll also find an impressive ensemble cast ranging from the utterly irresistible newcomer Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot, to screen icon Diana Rigg as Tricki-indulging grande dame Mrs. Pumphrey. Who else is in the cast? Read on…
What's True & What's New?
All Creatures Great and Small is an adaptation of the beloved semi-autobiographical novels by James Alfred “Alf” Wight (better known by his pen name, James Herriot). Many of the books’ unique characters are also based on real people: James’ eccentric boss, veterinary surgeon Siegfried Farnon, is based on Alf’s real boss, Donald Sinclair, and Siegfried’s brother, Tristan, is the fictional counterpart of Donald’s brother, Brian Sinclair.
It’s primarily in the female characters that the new adaptation offers a fresh take, in that Mrs. Hall’s character is more richly developed, and Helen’s has a more modern feel. Edna Hall isn’t just the shrewd housekeeper with a wry sense of humor—she is the emotional center of the Skeldale House family…with a compelling, mysterious backstory, to boot. And Helen is far more than James’ farmgirl love interest—carrying the weight of her family’s farm, with little time for romance, she’s a strong and fiercely independent woman who is unfazed by anything, from large animals to people. Viewers will also find a deeper backstory to Siegfried, but never fear: it won’t make him any less funny!
But Will There Be Tricki Woo?
Of course there will be Tricki Woo! (The scale might even indicate that there’s too much Tricki Woo…) And he wouldn’t be Tricki without his owner, the inimitable indulger, Mrs. Pumphrey! You can expect a full range of antics, treats, and treatments from this dramatic duo.
Who's in the Cast?
When you fall for James Herriot, don’t blame MASTERPIECE—blame Scottish actor Nicholas Ralph. James’ boss, the cantankerous, charismatic Siegfried Farnon, is played by Samuel West (On Chesil Beach, The Darkest Hour), who MASTERPIECE fans may recognize from Mr. Selfridge or, more recently, Grantchester. Wily, wayward, and spirited Tristan Farnon is played by none other than The Durrells in Corfu‘s Leslie Durrell, Callum Woodhouse, while housekeeper Edna Hall is played by Anna Madely (Patrick Melrose, In Bruges) also of Mr. Selfridge, and more recently, The Child in Time. Harry Potter‘s own Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis, plays wealthy landowner Hugh Hulton, and playing Mrs. Pumphrey is the peerless Diana Rigg, whose legendary career included 15 years as the host of Mystery!, as well as MASTERPIECE productions of Rebecca, Bleak House, and more recently, Victoria.
Where is All Creatures Great and Small Filmed?
The magnificent, green-drenched landscape of the Yorkshire Dales is not just a backdrop for All Creatures Great and Small, but a character in its own right, with its drama, its capricious nature, and its breathtaking beauty. Nicholas Ralph shared his first impression of the Dales, describing, “I’m from the north of Scotland, which is picturesque and lovely, and so I thought, the Dales, yeah, sounds great, I’m sure it will be lovely. But it’s quite nice where I’m from, too, I’m sure it won’t be that much better. But then I got on the train from Carlisle to Skipton, and I was just blown away, completely—I was like, this is insane. It just looks like a painting. You’ve got these rolling dales, sheep scattered around, these rock-built walls strewn across, and then you’ll get the odd, lone tree silhouette at the peak of a dale. It was absolutely stunning, beautiful.”
How to Watch All Creatures Great and Small
Don’t miss a single episode of All Creatures Great and Small, airing Sundays, January 10-February 21 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. Or, binge-watch the entire first season now PBS Passport, an added member benefit!
To keep up with all the creatures, the shenanigans, the joys, and the heartaches, plus the inside scoop on the cast and the series, subscribe to the free, weekly All Creatures Great and Small Insider email newsletter!