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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

omg: ‘All Creatures Great and Small Babies’ on its way

I’ve been rewatching All Creatures Great and Small — it’s available in the U.S. to stream from Netflix, and it has been giving my Roku box quite a workout — and I’m so happy to find that this 1970s-80s series holds up very well indeed. I adore its gentle but pointed humor about human nature, about how following your bliss isn’t always blissful on a day-to-day basis, and about how what we don’t say and don’t do is often the interpersonal grease that keep society running smoothly (if at personal expense to our own stress levels). Plus, of course, there’s the philosophical undercurrents about how wanting to treat animals well and being an unrepentant meat-eater isn’t a contradiction. And there’s all the beautiful, rugged Yorkshire countryside to admire.
Now, reports the Guardian, we’re gonna get more of James Herriot’s life story in TV form:

The new three-part series, Young James, is due to be filmed and set in Glasgow, the city where veterinary surgeon Alf Wight – author of the original diaries, which were witten under the pseudonym James Herriot – learned his trade. The new show will feature the earlier years of Herriot’s career.

Yea!

Who should play Herriot? How about Aaron Johnson? Too young? Arthur Darvill (aka Rory from Doctor Who)? I bet he’d be great…



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  • I_Sell_Books

    Arthur Darvill would be great as a young JH.

    I can’t believe you never caught ACGaS during the years – YEARS – it ran on every single PBS station we got (4-5) during the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s. Heck, it was still running in 2006 when we moved into our current house..

  • MaryAnn

    I did watch the show in the 1980s on my local PBS station. Hence the “rewatching.”

    And I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in love with Peter Davison since forever, thanks to this show.

  • Aaron

    I love this show. I watch the episode “God rest ye merry” Every December. The cake scene is classic.

  • I didn’t mention it way back because I didn’t realize there were other “All Creatures” folk here, but I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t get Robert Hardy to play Churchill in the Dr. Who “Victory of the Daleks” episode. He’s played the role very well in several movies (and a stage play, IIRC). Maybe it would have raised the ep up a bit.

  • I loved the books before I saw the TV show, and I have to admit it bothered me that they had Tristan and Siegfried exactly reversed from the books in terms of the actors playing them. Siegfried was tall, thin and blonde, and Tristan was short and dark-haired. But then…the Farnon brothers won’t even figure into Young James, will they? This will be before he met them. I don’t recall James ever writing more than a passing paragraph about his university days, so I wonder if this will be total fiction, or based on unpublished works, or “in the style of” ACG&S or what.

    Arthur Darvill would be a bit old, wouldn’t he? Besides, he’s busy travelling in the TARDIS at the moment, where I hope he stays for at least another series. How about Thomas Sangster?

  • Dokeo

    I’ve only ever seen a few episodes of this, though the books are an old favorite. I have fond memories of sitting in my grandpa’s recliner with the Reader’s Digest condensed version as a youngster. Great to know the show is available on Netflix instant view.

    Note from adult self: WTF is up with Reader’s Digest condensed books? Do they still do this? Ugh!

    And now, of course, I have an earworm to replace the “My Buddy” jingle. Hurrah!

  • MaryAnn

    Arthur Darvill would be a bit old, wouldn’t he? Besides, he’s busy travelling in the TARDIS at the moment, where I hope he stays for at least another series. How about Thomas Sangster?

    Darvill is 28, but he could play a little younger. Sangster is only 20, and looks younger still.

    Note from adult self: WTF is up with Reader’s Digest condensed
    books? Do they still do this? Ugh!

    My dad has a huge collection of those, and that’s where I read the Herriot books as a kid, too. Until I discovered what they meant by “condensed books,” and was horrified.

  • jakob1978

    I wonder if this will be total fiction, or based on unpublished works, or “in the style of” ACG&S or what.

    If you read the original article from the Sun (link at the bottom) it says

    “It will draw on an amazing archive and have exclusive access to the diaries and case notes he kept during his student days in Glasgow, as well as a biography written by his son.”

    Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/3068531/All-Creatures-Great-and-Small-is-being-brought-back-to-life-by-the-BBC.html#ixzz0vD7C8O33

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/3068531/All-Creatures-Great-and-Small-is-being-brought-back-to-life-by-the-BBC.html#ixzz0uocfOlUJ

  • Thanks Jakob1978! I didn’t even notice the link to the Guardian article in MA’s post or I would have known.

    Darvill is 28, but he could play a little younger. Sangster is only 20, and looks younger still.

    Darvil’s a pretty rough 28. He could play older easily–not sure about younger. Here, vet students are generally between 22 and 25 years old, if they go straight through. Not sure if it’s the same in the UK.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Ah “Rewatching”…

    …you can tell I went to college because of my superlative reading skills…

    *hangs head in shame*

    Can I just blame the baby?

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