Watch All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small is a British period drama based on the books by author and veterinary surgeon Alf Wright, known under the pen name James Herriot. The program aired in the United Kingdom on BBC One and in the United States on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the cable network A&E.

The initial run of the series matched closely to the timeline of Herriot's first novels. The show starts in the mid 1930's when Herriot (Christopher Timothy) begins his veterinary career working with Siegfried Farnon (Robert Hardy) and his brother Tristan (Peter Davidson). As the series progressed the focus moved away from Herriot's solo adventures in veterinary surgery and became an ensemble drama with equal parts for Timothy, Hardy, and Davidson. All Creatures Great and Small also introduced James' future wife Helen (Carol Drinkwater and Lynda Bellingham) and his attempts to woo her into eventual marriage.

The first run of the series ended in 1980, just as all the characters were about to become embroiled in the Second World War. This also marked the point where Wright's original novels ended. After two Christmas specials aired that were set after the war's end, a new version of the series premiered in 1988. Based on the characters from Wright's series but not his stories, the second running of All Creatures Great and Small moved ahead to the 1950s. In addition to the original characters, the revived series introduced a new member to the practice, Calum Buchanan (John McGlynn), and made the Herriot children recurring characters.

All Creatures Great and Small ran for four more series of programs and ended in 1990 with a final Christmas episode.

BBC America
7 Seasons, 87 Episodes
January 8, 1978
Comedy, Drama
8.3/10
Cast: Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy, Peter Davison, Lynda Bellingham
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All Creatures Great and Small Full Episode Guide

  • Tristan has to face the terrors of an enormous sow, Our Gracie, and her litter of piglets, who are due to be castrated. Mrs. Clarke, a very determined old lady, is struggling to keep her farm running until she can hand it over to her young granddaughter, Mary. But she is reaching the stage when she can no longer handle the pressures, even with her elder granddaughter.

  • Siegfried is laid up at Skeldale with his foot in plaster. His dreams of mouthwatering meals prepared by Mrs. Alton are soon shattered by her regime of a strict diet "for an invalid". Tristan falls for the dark, sad-eyed beauty, Angela Mortime. Fortunately, the demanding dog Tricky-Woo provides an ideal excuse for Tristan to make a number of house calls.

  • Siegfried takes a close friend to task for wasting his own talents as a veterinary surgeon. Ewan Ross -- "the best horse man north of the Humber" has let his career slide gently into the whisky bottle after the death of his wife. But Siegfried is determined to make use of his considerable skills. James, meanwhile, is strangely reluctant to take on responsibility for Mrs. Pumphrey's beloved Tricky-Woo when she announces that she is off to France.

  • Siegfried is determined to discover who shot Korean War veteran Jacob Pearson's dog. The suspect is Captain Crawford's willful and surly 20-year-old son, Hugh. Both James and Siegfried have extraordinarily little success in extracting payment from wily farmer Dennis Pratt -- until they discover he may be sneaking his cows onto a neighboring farm to enjoy better grazing.

  • There's unusual friction in the Herriot household when 12- year-old daughter Rosie announces that she wants to become a vet. James goes out of his way to show her the arduous, dirty and dangerous side of his work, while Helen thinks he ought to encourage her. Siegfried, meanwhile, manages to lose Mrs. Pettinger's kitten Prudence, which escapes from the surgery and hitches a ride to Hull.

  • Buffoon, Stewie Brannen, an old friend of Siegfried's, has invited the distinguished Professor Norton to a black tie dinner, and prevails upon Siegfried to host it at Skeldale -- and lend him a dinner suit. But disaster looms when Siegfried and Stewie are called out for a calving, in full evening dress, and James has to hold the fort with an irritable Mrs. Alton.

  • Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation is cause for Darrowby celebrations on a grand scale. James and Helen's 12-year-old daughter, Rosie, is due to be crowned too, as Darrowby's pageant princess. Siegfried resorts to traditional cures when he tackles a sheep with liver fluke, and is all too eager to pass on to James a rather smelly problem afflicting a dog called Wolfie.

  • The mysterious Mrs. Donovan poses problems for all three partners. Siegfried rashly dismisses her as "a warm-hearted woman who loves animals" -- until she starts interfering with his patients and there seems to be no limit to her homespun remedies. Lovely Rosemary Brocklehurst attracts the romantic attention of Tristan when she brings in Esmerelda, a tortoise, which won't come out of its shell.

  • Tragedy strikes Bill Shadwell when his herd of dairy shorthorns contracts Johne's disease. As Shadwell nears retirement, his son wants to move into more profitable Friesian dairy cattle. Mr. Grimsdale's bull has a serious problem and Siegfried is convinced it has swallowed a dangerous metal object. But tightfisted Grimsdale doesn't think an operation is needed.

  • Tristan is smitten over the lovely Jane Mercer. When he discovers that she sings in the choral society, Tristan develops a fresh interest in anything musical. Farmer Biggins. a legendary non-payer of vets' bills, finally meets his match when Granville Bennett - "the finest small animal practitioner in the north" attends his tom cat and forces Biggins to settle his outstanding account in full.

  • Planting a syringe full of anti-abortion vaccine into a farmer's backside creates a mini-crisis for Tristan. Farmer Nat Briggs is convinced that his chances of starting a family have been ruined by Tristan's clumsiness and waits for a chance to confront him. But it is Siegfried who gets a letter threatening court action.

  • Siegfried is perplexed when the usually-caring Grandma Clarke snubs her neighbor, Franco Pedretti, who is the new shepherd on the estate where she is a tenant farmer. It soon becomes apparent that she blames Franco for the untimely death of her son in Italy during the war and the subsequent death of his wife in childbirth.

  • Siegfried insists on singing the praises of his new time- management system, a personal diary, much to the annoyance of James. James is particularly annoyed by Siegfried's successful demonstration to his nemesis, vile Mr. Ripley. However, Siegfried's morning is spoiled when he has to deal with Humphrey, an exuberant Great Dane.

  • An old friend of James and Siegfried, an itinerant traveler called Roddy Travers, arrives in Darrowby. He appears to be stealing instruments from the practice but Siegfried and James are relieved to discover that Roddy's recently acquired dog, Murphy, is the culprit. However, the situation turns serious when an elderly local farmer accuses Murphy of sheep killing.

  • James is persuaded to play for the "Gentlemen's" team in the annual village cricket match. Young, and already legendary, Freddie Trueman is the team captain and Siegfried tries to persuade Freddie to play all out against the pompous Colonel Jenkins, captain of the "Gentlemen's" side. He lives to regret this when James is injured while playing and Siegfried is himself forced in to bat against "Fiery Fred".

  • Jenny Garston and David Rayner, individually charming farmer and horse-breeder, have been sworn enemies since their earliest school days. When a triple birthday is marred by tragedy it falls to Siegfried to negotiate with the uncivil neighbors.

  • When Lady Hulton's cat falls ill, Siegfried embarks, with typical zeal and encourages the practice to cater for such refined clients. Lady Hulton, however, calls him out on his disingenuousness. James' problems lie with an affable but lazy farmer, Vernon Harker, whose plans to save himself from work even extend to marrying a tower of strength with a grown son to match.

  • When James treats a sick cat, he finds himself in an awkward position with Mrs. Pumphrey and Mrs.Tibbett. These two formidable and mutually ferocious Darrowby matrons compete both in presents for the invalid and in hounding James for information of the patient's progress.

  • Deidre and Calum are busy planning their wedding. Deidre discusses her future with Helen, who hopes the couple will stay in Darrowby. However, Calum gets offered a job in Nova Scotia. Siegfried believes he has forced Calum into applying for the job and hopes he can persuade him to reconsider.

  • The romance between Calum Buchanan and Deidre McEwan flourishes. Siegfried has been hoping that the love affair would quiet down but instead it seems to be going full blast. However, the course of true love never runs smoothly, and it is left to Siegfried to help solve the young couple's problems.

All Creatures Great and Small News

'Harry Potter' Actor Dies at 91

Robert Hardy played Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in the film franchise.

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All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch and stream on BBC America. You can also buy, rent All Creatures Great and Small on demand at Amazon Prime online.

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