24 April 2002 | Dock-Ock
Wise and Wonderful
All Creatures Great and Small, is one of those rare, timeless and charming BBC Productions that never seems to age and which can still be enjoyed all these years after its production finished. I think the key for this is the belief that the producers, writers and directors installed into the series to make it real. The charm comes from the fact that it is set a long time ago, in a more gentle and picturesque time when life was easy as could be imagined, before the ravages of World War II left its scars upon the nation. This is a brighter, happier time.The Vetenary work place is of no particular interest to me, but I think that because of the setting of the 1930's it makes everything seem all the more like a fantasy. The other major reason for its success is that it has an absolute solid gold cast in the trio of principles leads. Christopher Timothy as lead Vet James Herriot is basically a good person who loves his job, but who is kind and tries his best with people to be of good nature. He is excellently portrayed by the under-rated Timothy. Second to the success of the series is Robert Hardy as Sigfried Farnon. Hardy is one of the finest television presences, and as the senior Farnon delivers his lines with alot of believable conviction and commands the screen, his character is of the old guard, an even older time when people were strict and strong. You never once doubt that Hardy is a Vet. Completing the trio is the ever suffering Tristan Farnon, perhaps the series most beloved character. Tristan provides the light relief for the series, and is constantly on the bitter end of Sigfrieds wrath. Again the character is excellently played by The Fifth Doctor Who Peter Davison, who exudes public school boyish charms here.He dithers and bumbles his way throughout the series, while at the core being an essential and perhaps strong character, he means well but never quite gets it. Davison is one of Britains finest character actors, again under-rated but looking now as if he will hit the big time after the success of At Home With the Braithwaites. All Creatures Great and Small also has the benefit of some of the finest writers and directors having worked on the show, such as Terence Dudley and Peter Moffet, as well as the multi talanted and consistant head writer Johnny Byrne. It is beautiful to look at from its period setting to the Yorkshire scenery. Defenitley on of the BBC's finest series, and one that shouldn't be overlooked. A fantastic production.