What does James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small have in common with cyborgs and sci-fi? Not much, but when have we ever stuck to that? But the PBS Masterpiece series that made it into the borg Top 10 television series of the past decade is all about real science. In fact it may be the best current fictional TV drama addressing the value and importance of science and technology. It is returning for its fourth season, and PBS has shared a preview below.
Smart, cleverly funny, and educational, it’s an adaptation worthy of the source material and every bit as good as the earlier successful series. The autobiographical stories follow the exploits of a young veterinarian, James Herriot, in 1940s Yorkshire as he gets his footing in a rural office in a tiny town where the people are more difficult than his challenges treating the local animal life. This is the rare Best in Class combination of uplifting, heart-warming drama and British humor. The small cast is perfect, and it’s no surprise All Creatures Great and Small made UK Channel 5’s highest-rated drama ever. Check out the trailer for the new season:
Scottish actor Nicholas Ralph plays Herriot, who gained employment under Dr. Siegfried Farnon, played by Samuel West, who we loved in Mr. Selfridge, Midsomer Murders, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Law & Order UK, Horatio Hornblower, and even as far back as As Time Goes By, along with notable film roles in The Gentlemen, Darkest Hour, Van Helsing, Notting Hill, and Howards End. West’s Farnon is a tough boss with a soft interior, helped along by Anna Madeley (In Bruges, Silent Witness, Mr. Selfridge, Law & Order UK) as Mrs. Hall, the prim and endearing caretaker of the office and the men who work–and live–there.
All three are kept on their toes by Farnon’s younger brother Tristan, the epitome of the modern slacker played for great laughs by Callum Woodhouse (Father Brown), who has offered the most refreshing performance by an actor in each season, but it looks like military service is taking his character away for a bit. But Academy Award-winning screenplay writer/producer/actress Rachael Shenton (Switched at Birth, The Silent Child, Blood and Bone China), is back as Mrs. Herriot. James Anthony-Rose plays new doctor Richard Carmody.
The series is carefully mostly off-screen with the more graphic practice of animal medicine, but the characters get into all sorts of real-life situations even modern veterinarians will be familiar with.
For fans of British TV, this is the real deal. The fourth season of All Creatures Great and Small is slated to return January 27, 2024, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. Central in the States on PBS’s Masterpiece.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg