A first look at the reboot of the much-loved series All Creatures Great and Small promises a heart-warming romance blossoming between the two main characters.
Returning to our screens on Channel 5 this September after a 30-year absence, the drama, based on the books of James Herriot, sees Scottish actor Nicholas Ralph make his TV debut opposite Oscar-winner Rachel Shenton.
Nicholas plays the charming vet who eventually charms Rachel’s character Helen Alderson – later Mrs Herriot – in the six-part remake.
The first trailer, shared exclusively with FEMAIL, captures the pair after the vet moves to Helen’s small Yorkshire town and begins his first job.
A first look at the reboot of the much-loved series All Creatures Great and Small promises a heart-warming romance blossoming between the two main characters. Pictured: Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton) and James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph)
Returning to our screens on Channel 5 this September after a 30-year absence, the drama, based on the books of James Herriot, sees Scottish actor Nicholas Ralph (above) make his TV debut opposite Oscar-winner Rachel Shenton
It appears Mr Herriot gets off to a bumpy start, with his boss Siegfried Farnon (played by Mr Selfridge star Samuel West) warning the vet that it isn’t the animals in the Dales that cause ‘all the bother’, but the people instead.
But towards the end of the clip, it seems the story is finding its happy ending, and viewers see Rachel’s character stand alongside Mr Herriot during a very lavish-looking party.
She candidly warns: ‘Careful once [the town] gets in your bones, it’s hard to get out,’ before Nicholas’ character replies: ‘I’m not sure I want it.’
The adaptation originally ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1990 with Christopher Timothy as the Dales vet and Robert Hardy as his boss.
The old days: Actors Christopher Timothy and Robert Hardy are pictured on set in 1979, when playing the vet and his boss
The man himself: James Herriot, above, who died in 1995, wrote memoirs based on his experiences with animals as a vet
Channel 5’s six-part series features Rachel, who won a best live action short film Oscar in 2017 for The Silent Child, which she wrote and starred in.
It also boasts Samuel West, 53, plays the vet’s boss Siegfried Farnon – whose own errant younger brother, Tristan, is played by Callum Woodhouse, 26. Anna Madeley, 43, is housekeeper Edna Hall.
The collected works of All Creatures Great and Small have sold 60million copies internationally and have never been out of print.
A co-production with the American broadcaster PBS, The Channel 5 remake is set in 1937.
Happy house: Pictured from left to right, Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph), Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) and Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley)
The adaptation originally ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1990 with Christopher Timothy as the Dales vet and Robert Hardy as his boss. Pictured is one of the vet’s clients, Mrs Pumphrey (Diana Rigg) and her beloved pet
Sebastian Cardwell, the digital channel controller at Channel 5, previously said: ‘James Herriot has a special place in the heart of the public and the commission of this iconic drama series, against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, is set to bring joy to a new army of TV viewers.
‘The original books affectionately captured a unique slice of British life.
‘In challenging times we hope the charming and heart-warming stories of community and compassion will resonate with new audiences.’
Last autumn, Rachel took to Instagram to announce her casting in the series, which she was over the moon about.
Original cast members: Pictured L-R are Rebecca Smith, Christopher Timothy, Lynda Bellingham and Oliver Wilson, seen in January 1988
Alongside a snap of a TV clapper board, she wrote: ‘So excited that I can finally say I’m working on ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL for @masterpiecepbs…
‘I’m also excited that I can now freely spam your feed with pictures of various farm animals #dreamjob #imallabouttheanimals #1937 #yorkshire’
The reboot comes after Herriot’s real-life son, 76-year-old Jim Wight, locked horns with Sue Paterson, the president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), who said his father’s novels portray vets as people who can be called on anytime and paid with slices of cake.
She said: ‘I think James Herriot is to blame because we’re all supposed to love animals and work for nothing, but we all run businesses. All the Herriot stuff about a cat being ill and the owner cuts him a big slab of chocolate cake and he doesn’t charge her – well, it’s a hard business nowadays.’
Take one: Rachel Shenton took to Instagram last autumn to share this picture and announce her casting in the series, which she said she was over the moon about
Success: Rachel, pictured with Chris Overton, won a best live action short film Oscar in 2017 for The Silent Child, which she wrote and starred in
Jim told The Express: ‘I was very put out because it seemed so ridiculous. I was seething with anger, in fact. It is nonsensical to say he is out of date. You might equally say Winston Churchill is out of date. My father is an iconic and historic figure, and to compare veterinary practice in those days to now is completely unrealistic.
‘He gave free treatment to a tiny portion of his clientele who were in genuine hardship; it was a charitable and Christian act. He started with no money at all.
‘It is a different world, and you cannot compare the two. It is so unfair to blame that man for the woes of our profession today. Of course his scientific training may be dated, but his compassionate, careful and thorough approach is never going to be out of date.’
Jim and his sister Rosie approved the 2020 reboot and said of it: ‘The scripts are very interesting and the public will find them entertaining!’
All Creatures Great and Small is coming this September to Channel 5