38 thoughts on “A Fond Look Back at All Creatures Great and Small (1978–1990)

  1. This show was such a comfort watch,no wonder people were mad for it in the 20th century(the original run,if it sounds too back in time).
    I watched the series in 2012,and finally learnt that a veteran and a veterinarian were indeed different.As both of them are colloquially abbreviated to “vet”,I remained confused for an embarrassingly long time.

  2. Not sure if I’ll watch the new version. This was my childhood! We watched the first 3 seasons on VHS nearly every day during the summer. (None of us liked the actress that replaced Helen in the later seasons, so we never bought the rest of the tapes)

    1. Also, forgot to add, Alf Wright/James Herriot, required them to be faithful to the book All Creatures Great and Small. The dialogue is practically identical, the issues with the animals are identical, names are identical. The only physical description that stands out as being different is that Sigfried is supposed to be tall and skinny, but I like Robert Hardy, so that slides. They were incredibly accurate with the first season; they were allowed to deviate after that because there wasn’t enough material in that particular book. Also, if you get the audio book, Christopher Timothy reads it and does imitations of all of the voices from the show.

      1. I loved the show. My husband and I started watching it when my son was little and he is now 40yrs. We’ve watched it so many times and we still watch it. It was hard watching it when helen left but the show was still fantastic. You should try it. Some of the new characters are great!! We tried watching the new show on pbs but it was so bad we had to quit watching it. You just can’t replace perfect. Also if you like to read the books are wonderful!!

  3. I loved the original series and all the cast was just perfect, especially Robert Hardy and Tricki-Woo. I’m going to watch the new one for several reasons but mainly for Emma Peel, er Dame Diana Rigg, as Mrs. Pomfrey. Don’t know too much about the cast on the new one. It looks right in pics I’ve seen.

  4. Oh my goodness! This was something my whole family watched together. And because if the memories, I won’t be watching the reboot.

    Plus, my mom and my aunt (my mom’s identical twin) both loved how the show was so true to the books. When my Auntie died — this series was part of her funeral. 💖

  5. I’ll give it a try, but I loved the original series so much! Because of contractual issues, Carol Drinkwater was replaced by Lynda Bellingham later, but she did just as good a job of Helen.

  6. I loved, loved, loved this series–when I first watched it years ago, and more recently, when I watched the available seasons over again. (I wish that BBC would give we poor Yanks ALL the seasons). I therefore have a chip on my shoulder about the new version–who could possibly replace Robert Hardy, with whom I am in love? Why is the new housekeeper very young and pretty. The old Mrs. Hall was perfect? But I will certainly watch the new version. I think James looks right and the settings seem good.

  7. I feel like Samuel West definitely has the biggest shoes to fill. Robert Hardy did such a stupendous job capturing the complexities of Siegfried — the temper, the kindness, the chronic forgetfulness, the generosity, the “patient” attitude that irritated James so much, and the overall decency of the man. It would be so easy to reduce the character to either a saint or a bully, and neither would be fair to him. I like the clips I’ve seen, though, and I’ll definitely be watching, because I’ve loved the books since I was about ten years old.

    1. I loved the originals, will obviously watch but it will be strange, some big shoes to fill. I grew up in Thirsk (Darrowby) and some of my school friends had jobs as extras so it’s nice to see those episodes

  8. I’m tearing up just thinking about that lovely, gentle series. I’ll watch the new one – like Trystan, they had be at Diana Rigg.

  9. The books actually convinced me to change course and train as a vet. I was looking for PhD places and decided to apply for vet schools as well. Ended up moving to England to study veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, married a fellow vet student and have now lived in Britain for 44 years. Such is the power of books.

  10. I have been listening to the full, unabridged readings of all the books, narrated by Christoper Timothy, on YouTube (he does a lovely job) and watching the old BBC episodes that YouTube lets me. I let out a scream of joy when I watched the trailer for the re-boot/re-make, James Herriot has a Scottish accent!!! so happy, looking forward to 1st Sept when it airs, it does look more lavish and glamorous when it calls for it.

  11. I absolutely adore the books but never made it through the original series. I have high hopes for the remake and hope it does the books justice — they made me laugh and cry all of last winter. Heriot was such an amazingly gifted writer.

  12. I’d heard the phrase “all creatures great and small” over the years and had assumed it was from a book. But… I’d never heard of the TV series nor the book. All the iterations mentioned here intrigue me–book, original TV show, and re-boot. As an anglophile, animal lover, and someone in need of “good comfort watching during a global pandemic,” count me in. Thanks for turning me on to this. Now that I have live TV again, I’ll definitely look for this one on PBS in January. (And hell yes to Diana Rigg in anything!)

    1. The phrase “all creatures great and small” comes from an Anglican/Episcopalian hymn, as do the titles of most of the sequel books.

      I read all the books, loved them deeply, and decided to never become a vet.

      1. Thanks for the lesson, Justa! I’m Catholic…so now I’m wondering if the phrase ever crept into our hymns and maybe that where I heard it??

    2. The original series is the most lovely thing imaginable! At least, as far as tv shows go. And the books are brilliant. I definitely recommend taking a look at it all!

  13. Sorry for double-dipping, but I just watched the preview. I’m a blubbering mess. Bring it. It’s clearly what I need.

  14. I adore All Things Great and Small. I’ve already watched it twice. I finally got around to reading the books.

    For more comfort viewing, I suggest Monarch of the Glenn.

    Yes, I’ll give the revamp a watch. There’s so much more in the books that haven’t made it to the screen.

  15. I love the old series, but I’ll give the new one a go, esp since Samuel West (son of Timothy West and Prunella Scales) is in it and he’s brilliant (remember him in Howards End and many other roles), he’s playing Siegfried, so if anyone can fill Robert Hardy’s shoes it’s him :) . I’m not sure about the chap who plays Tristan, but we’ll see.

    1. Tristan is being played by Callum Woodhouse, who was hilarious as Leslie in The Durrells. He’ll make a great Tristan!

      1. I must say I haven’t seen The Durrells (it’s on my list of must watch) but this has made me happier about the choice, cheers Paloma :)

  16. This series is why I never believed in Davison as the 5th Doctor.
    I wouldn’t trust Tristan Farnon with a newborn lamb, let alone all of time and space. ;)

  17. I did watch the original back when I was a teen. Not sure I’ll watch the reboot because I can watch the actual vets who took over for Harriot on Britbox’s Yorkshire Vet.

  18. Oh, yes!! Loved the books and loved this series- huge crush on Peter Davison for years because of it!!

  19. I never watched the original series but this sounds like the perfect balm. I’ll probably go back and watch the 1970s version as well!

  20. I loved the original series so much! I have the feeling I watched a lot of it in black & white since I only had a black & white TV set….

  21. Just watched the first episode of the newest version. I really like James, the jury is out on Siegfried, but he may win me over. Mrs Hall is too young and pretty, but she is clearly channelling the spirit of the original, so that’s good.
    There was the wife of a farmer who wore a lovely print housecoat/apron under her coat when she was helping with a calfing. I saw some lovely vintage woolies and tweeds……..the hair looked good.
    I would move into the house tomorrow and if I didn’t live in the Highlands of Scotland, I would gladly live in the Dales.

    1. I saw the first episode last night and I agree! I completely forgot about the original version, James was brilliantly cast and I love how Helen gets to wear her trousers :)

  22. I NEED to tell someone about this, and I hope someone here can get a little excited for me. I also have started watching the original All Creatures Great and Small to get me through the pandemic, and I have been obsessed with a sweater that Tristan wears over and over through the first two seasons (one of the things I really appreciate in a costume drama is rewearing clothes!); it’s a stranded pattern, a little feminine, and not classic Fair Isle. I’ve been trying to track it down and finally decided to chart it myself, using screen shots & repeated watchings to get it right. Completely at random, I clicked on the 2013 Father Brown series tonight to see if I might want to watch it, and right there, in the first scene, flapping in the wind on a clothesline–is Tristan’s sweater!!! I am SO hoping there is a story to this sweater, somewhere, that someone can tell me. I sort of feel as if I am closing in on the Rosetta Stone!

  23. I’m re-watching the original series on DailyMotion. nearing the end of Season 3, and I don’t recall seeing many past that, except perhaps a christmas special or two. the new version looks beautiful, is a nice comparison to the original story, and it is certainly worth a watch. I have one Herriot book about the Dales with wonderful photos, but I may have to read the original books and listen to Timothy’s audio version as well!

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