All Creatures Great and Small is a British television series based on the books of the British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. In 1977, the BBC tasked producer Bill Sellars with the creation of a television series from Herriot's first two novels, If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet, using the title of the 1975 film adaptation All Creatures Great & Small.
The series had two runs: the original (1978 to 1980, based directly on Herriot's books) was for three series; the second (1988 to 1990, filmed with original scripts) for four. Ninety episodes were aired in the six-year period.
Runtime: 60 minutes
All Creatures Great and Small - All Creatures Great and Small (TV series) - Netflix
All Creatures Great and Small is a British television series based on the books of the British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. In early 1977, the BBC tasked producer Bill Sellars with the creation of a television series from Herriot's first two novels, If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet, using the title of the 1975 film adaptation. It is part of a series of movies and television series based on Herriot's novels. The Herriot novels were written in an episodic style, with each chapter generally containing a short story within the ongoing narrative of Herriot's life. This format greatly facilitated their adaptation for a television series. The series had two runs: the original (1978 to 1980, based directly on Herriot's books) was for three series; the second (1988 to 1990, filmed with original scripts) for four. A total of ninety episodes were broadcast. Set in the Yorkshire Dales, beginning in the mid-1930s, it stars Christopher Timothy as Herriot, Robert Hardy as Siegfried Farnon, the proprietor of the Skeldale House surgery, and Peter Davison as Siegfried's “little brother”, Tristan. Herriot's wife, Helen, is played by a different actress in each of the series' runs: Carol Drinkwater originally, then Linda Bellingham for the revival. The supporting cast, both recurring and one-offs, numbers over 600, most of whom appear as farmers or clients of the surgery.
All Creatures Great and Small - Skeldale House - Netflix
Although he has not always stayed there, instead living with Caroline later in the series, Siegfried owns Skeldale House, and while he is happy — within reason — to pay for its upkeep and renovation, he is rarely seen getting his hands dirty outside the surgery. Tristan, on the other hand, takes over the household duties from Mrs Hall in “Hair of the Dog” and “Home and Away”, and James has to pick up the slack when Helen is out of action, on account of a slipped disc, in the first few episodes of series 5. The Pebble Mill set was laid out to match Skeldale House as it appeared in exterior shots. A door on the right side of the building, for example, was used to represent the entrance to the waiting room. On a couple of occasions, the cast had to go inside the Askrigg building to accommodate exterior shots on its windows but, other than a view out of the surgery window in the 1990 Christmas Special, the camera never followed them inside. For example, in the series 3 finalé “Big Steps and Little 'Uns”, Helen waves James off to war from an opened second-floor window. On the ground floor there are four rooms (clockwise from front to back): unused dining room (see below), the sitting room (the front half being the sitting area; the rear half being the dining area), the kitchen, and the surgery. Aside from the back door, another door in the kitchen leads to the surgery's waiting room. The house's only phone is in the hallway, in a nook by the stairs which also contains a grandfather clock and, later in the series, the door to the basement, where coal and wine are kept. A coat rack originally also appeared here, but was later moved to the foyer. The window above the front door announces that you are at “Skeldale House”, a feature that remains today. Regarding the clock: “That clock should have been taken out and burnt,” joked director Roderick Graham. “When you are doing retakes, how do you sync the tick-tock from the previous take? It was a nightmare and would drown out the dialogue.” “The staircase went nowhere,” revealed Peter Davison. “If you had to run downstairs to answer the phone, it meant perching yourself on a small platform just out of shot and launching yourself into the scene.”
“For the studio, we changed the colours of the surgery in the second series in order to give it a bit of time progression,” explained David Crozier, the designer. “I'd used the whitewashed look in the first series, because I'd found hundreds and hundreds of photos from that period in Yorkshire of house interiors painted in whitewash. But as we moved closer to wartime, we went with a darker look, which became the fashion at the time.” “The surgery was full of a wonderful selection of genuine veterinary implements from the thirties as well as shelves of dodgy-looking medicines,” recalled Peter Davison. "For my own character of Tristan, I decided it would be fun if all I ever did in the surgery was clutch a mortar and pestle in case Siegfried appeared, aside from the usual smoking and reading 1937 copies of Health and Efficiency. The first floor contains the bedrooms, while the second floor contains a small suite which Siegfried offers to James and Helen in the first episode of series 2. When the couple move to Rowangarth, Calum takes over the suite. In “Merry Gentlemen”, the final episode of the second series, we see behind the door immediately on the left as one enters the front door of Skeldale. The original, now-unused dining room, Siegfried uses it as overflow for storage of his reserve wine collection. Covered in dust, the room is brought back to life by Helen and Mrs Hall. The fire is lit, and the Christmas tree is put up in one of the corners. In the early series, the back door opens into a narrow alley; later, the back garden becomes an expansive area of grass, shrubbery and stone walls. An aviary is seen in the episodes “Fair Means and Fowl” and, twelve years later, “A Cat in Hull's Chance”. The original set of the interior of the Skeldale House surgery is now located at the Richmondshire Museum in Richmond and is open to the public. Other extensive parts, including the living room and the dispensary, are on display at The World of James Herriot museum in Thirsk, which is also open to the public.
All Creatures Great and Small - References - Netflix