Here is an insight to All Creatures Great and Small 101 which gets it’s debut in the UK tonight, on Channel 5, Tuesday September 1st 2020. The USA will be able to see this from January 2021 on PBS in it’s Masterpiece slot.

This is new look on the original BBC series from the 1980’s. Check out our other articles for more on the series.

All Creatures Great and Small Series briefing

Fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, James Herriot follows his dream to become a vet in the magnificent Yorkshire Dales. He soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales’ famers 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, Siegfried’s 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.

All Creatures Great and Small 101 Lowdown

Episode One ‘You’ve Got To Dream’

It’s 1937 and Glasgow is in the grip of depression. James Herriot, fresh out of veterinary college, is struggling to find work. Under pressure from his mother to take a job on the docks. However, James wants to follow his dream and seizes an opportunity to interview for a job as a veterinary assistant in Yorkshire.

All Creatures Great and Small 101 - Gabriel Quigley and Drew Cain
All Creatures Great and Small 101 – Hannah Herriot (Gabriel Quigley) and James Herriot Senior (Drew Cain) ©2020 Playground Television, photo by Ed Miller

Darrowby village

James arrives in Darrowby village nestled among the magnificent rolling hills of the Dales. He meets Siegfried Farnon, his potential new boss who is idiosyncratic and chaotic, and his shrewd housekeeper Mrs Hall. James is immediately thrown into the deep end when Siegfried takes him out to the local farms to put his skills to the test. James has to conquer his nerves and trust in his abilities as he treats his first client; a horse with an infected foot.

It’s gruelling work. James ends up battered and bruised and Siegfried remains inscrutable at his efforts.


All Creatures Great and Small 101 - Rachel Shenton
All Creatures Great and Small 101 – Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) with one of her cows ©2020 Playground Television, photo by Ed Miller

James meets Helen Alderson, a local farmer with whom he is immediately smitten. She advises James to stand up to Siegfried. However, when James is held to account for a mix-up on surgery day, his jobs hangs precariously in the balance.


James sees an opportunity at redemption when, in the middle of the night, local farmer Dick Rudd asks for help with a difficult calving. Unbeknown to Siegfried, James takes on the case, but the cow is struggling and James will have to fight tooth and nail if he is to save the calf, and his future…

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