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All Creatures Great and Small, with its bucolic landscapes, delicate animal-related storylines, and slowly burning romances, offers calm contemplation after a stormy 2020. The show, which previously aired in the UK and premiered in the US on January 10, features a cast of both newcomers (Nicholas Ralph is introduced as James Herriot) and industrial vets (the late Dame Diana Rigg) to the residents of the fictional Darrowby Village. This is what they look like in real life – without veterinary jackets and 1930s style.
Newcomer Nicholas Ralph makes his television debut as James Heriot, the legendary veterinary protagonist of All Creatures Great and Small, who moved from Glasgow to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. The show (like the books it is based on) follows his adaptation to life in the small village of Darrowby and his adventures taking care of animals large and small.
When James Herriot arrives in Darrowby, one particular veterinarian strikes him: the lovely farmer Helen Alderson, played by Rachel Shenton. Prior to this role, Shenton performed both in front of and behind the camera. She has had roles in Switched at Birth and Hollyoakes and won an Oscar in 2018 for her short film « The Silent Child ».
Actor Samuel West takes on the role of employer and mentor of James Herriot: the gruff but ultimately lovable Siegfried Farnon . If West seems familiar, it could be any number of popular programs, from 1992 Howard’s End to the more recent Darkest Hour, Grantchester, or The Crown. (On season three of the royal drama, he played the Queen’s art historian who, without spoilers, had a secret.) Yes, that’s a grown-up Neville Longbottom on your TV screen – but in All Creatures Great and Small, Matthew is Lewis not the outsider. He plays Helen’s love interest, wealthy landowner Hugh Hulton.
In one of her final on-screen performances, late-film legend Diana Rigg portrays Mrs. Pumphrey, a Darrowby local who is notorious for pampering her pooch Tricki Woo. Rigg died in September at the age of 82, and according to executive producer Colin Callender, « final decisions » still need to be made about how the show will deal with the character as it evolves.
Masterpiece PBS lovers will be the ones Actress Anna Madeley acknowledges her appearance as Miss Ravillious in Mr. Selfridge, but in All Creatures Great and Small she takes on the role of Mrs. Hall, the no-nonsense housekeeper at Skeldale House.
Callum Woodhouse, aka Farnon’s fun-loving younger brother Tristan, who is showing some episodes of the season, is another Masterpiece PBS veteran. He played Leslie Durrell in The Durrells in Corfu.
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