Country Vet is Dramatized in a New “All Creatures Great and Small” on MASTERPIECE; Sunday, January 10 at 9

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All Creatures Great and Small

James Herriot’s celebrated life as a country vet is dramatized in an all-new series on MASTERPIECE

Sundays, January 10 – February 21, 2021 on PBS

James Herriot’s adventures as a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire get a glorious new adaptation in All Creatures Great and Small, a seven-part series based on his beloved books. Airing Sundays, January 10 – February 21, 2021 on MASTERPIECE on PBS, All Creatures Great and Small is a Playground production for MASTERPIECE and Channel 5 in association with All3Media and Screen Yorkshire.

man and woman standing behind stone fence
Shown L to R: Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton) James Herriott (played by Nicholas Ralph)
Editorial use only.
Photographer: Ed Miller
Copyright: Playground Television (UK) Ltd.

Exciting newcomer Nicholas Ralph will make his television debut as the iconic vet who became renowned for his inspiring humor, compassion and love of life. Samuel West (Mr. Selfridge, On Chesil Beach) plays Siegfried Farnon, the wonderfully eccentric veterinary surgeon and proprietor of Skeldale House, who reluctantly hires the recently qualified Herriot into his rural practice. Mrs Hall, the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House, is played by Anna Madeley (The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose). Siegfried’s errant and charismatic younger brother, Tristan, is played by Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells in Corfu). Rachel Shenton (Switched at Birth, White Gold) takes the role of Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter who helps her father manage the family farm and care for her younger sister. Dame Diana Rigg (Victoria, Game of Thrones) plays Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the overly indulged Pekingese Tricki Woo, while Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter, Ripper Street) plays Hugh Hulton, a wealthy landowner and rival to James for Helen’s affections.

All Creatures Great and Small opens in 1937, when James

eiderly lady holding dog
Shown: Mrs Pumphrey (Dame Diana Rigg) & Tricki-Woo (Derek)
For editorial use only.
Credit: Playground Television (UK) Ltd. / Photographer: Ed Miller

Herriot, fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, follows his dream to become a vet in the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, one of England’s most beloved and beautiful landscapes. He soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales’ farmers are a tough crowd to please. At Skeldale House, James gets to know his newly formed dysfunctional family: his chaotic and erratic boss Siegfried Farnon, his wayward brother Tristan and the shrewd Mrs. Hall, who is endlessly steering the ship. When local beauty Helen Alderson attracts James’s attention, he finds another, more enduring reason to stay in the Dales.

Since their first publication in 1970, the beloved books of James Alfred Wight, published under the pen name James Herriot, have held a special place in people’s hearts throughout the world. Chronicling the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet, the books introduced readers to his unconventional mentor and the cast of farmers and townsfolk who lived and worked in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. This new adaptation preserves the rich and uplifting spirit, tone and values of Herriot’s iconic characters and stories, and will bring to life his sharply observed, entertaining and incredibly funny tales of country life in the North of England for a modern audience, introducing a new generation to his life-affirming stories. An earlier television adaptation of the books captivated millions of public broadcasting viewers when it aired in the 1970s.

couple standing next to fence talking
Shown from left to right: Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot and Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson
For editorial use only.
©Playground Television UK Ltd & all3media international

Never out of print, the books have sold more than 60 million copies internationally, becoming a global cultural phenomenon with devoted fans around the world. Their focus on community and its importance in our lives gives Herriot’s work an enduring power and contemporary resonance that reminds us all that belonging to a community makes us part of something greater than ourselves.