All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2's happy ending
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All Creatures Great and Small has been airing on Channel 5 and the series was inspired by the life of Yorkshire vet – Alf Wight. Using the pen name James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph in the series), he documented his career highlights. The series has stolen the hearts of viewers but Siegfried Farnon actor Samuel West detailed some difficulty on set.
The latest adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small could not have arrived at a better time.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the UK found themselves stuck in their homes for days on end.
Desperate for that feeling of escapism, they enjoyed sitting down for the weekly instalments of the family-friendly series.
It came to no surprise that the show has since become one of Channel 5’s most popular titles of all time.
Actor West opened up in the book titled The World of All Creatures Great & Small: Welcome to Skeldale House about some of the challenges.
Viewers tuned in to the first-ever episode to escape from the reality of lockdown and millions of viewers became hooked.
Happy to be whisked off to the picturesque Yorkshire Dales for an hour, the series became the highlight of the week.
However, the challenges posed by the pandemic were ever-present on set, as West explains.
He said: “There was all sorts of tensions. Our extraordinary showrunner, Gemma – I realised that I had been working with her for 13 weeks.
“When one lunchtime I saw her eating a sandwich, and I said to her ‘Gemma, you know, we’ve been working together for three months and this is the first time I have seen your mouth’.”
There were strict protocols in place, with regular Covid testing overseen by an on-set medic.
The cast and crew were all wearing facemasks and they had to eat and travel separately to the set.
The challenges may have come thick and fast but the end result was worth the struggle as it became one of the nation’s favourite shows.
Actor West opened up about one of the only bits of negative feedback he received.
He said: “The only thing was that somebody wrote to me saying ‘you were all having tea without a tea strainer’.”
In 1937, when the first season was set, teabags were yet to be invented and would not appear for another 15 years.
He joked: “For me, that’s the big difference between the first and second series – the tea strainer in the second, but not the first.”
The second season saw James Herriot return to Darrowby, having turned down a plush new job in Glasgow.
With a little encouragement from his friends and colleagues at Skeldale House, he plucked up the courage to propose to Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton).
The proposal will go down in history as one of the most eye-wateringly beautiful moments of the series.
Fans will be pleased to hear the Christmas special was filmed back in the summer and it is ready to air in late December.
They are hoping James and Helen’s wedding may feature in the festive special, making for the perfect Christmas gift.
Speaking of how much he has enjoyed playing Siegfried, West said: “As an actor, you don’t often get the chance to play again a part that you really enjoy.
“Although, at this moment, I think we are at the very beginning of the things that Siegfried could embody, a lot of what he has embodied so far has been great fun to play.”
All Creatures Great And Small is available to watch on My5.
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