All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special

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Thursday: All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special 2023 (Channel 5, 9pm)

Nicholas Ralph, who plays James, reveals he encountered quite a few of them while filming the most recent series. He says: “We met families from America that were over, just off the back of the show, not expecting to see anything, and they were bumping into us at Grassington.

“It’s really cool to see how the show is having that effect as well, in these other countries, to the point where people want to come over and visit.”

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He adds: “There was one lady… she’s been at Grassington every year now trying to meet us, because she named her sons Tristan and James. So she was like: ‘This is like the fourth time I’ve been up, it’s so nice to meet you’, and I was like: ‘I’m really happy to meet you, like, I’m so glad I met you! Your sons are called James and Tristan, brilliant!’”

Mrs Pumphrey, Mrs Hall, Helen Herriot and Jenny AldersonMrs Pumphrey, Mrs Hall, Helen Herriot and Jenny Alderson
Mrs Pumphrey, Mrs Hall, Helen Herriot and Jenny Alderson

If you want further proof that the drama is a hit, then look no further than this evening’s Channel 5 schedule. Not only are we being treated to a Christmas episode, but it’s preceded by the crossover documentary All Creatures Great and Small: Yorkshire Vet Special.

It finds Peter Wright and Shona Searson from The Yorkshire Vet getting a sneak peek of this year’s festive edition when they visit the set. They will be whisked back to the 1940s, and Peter is given the opportunity to appear in the series himself.

Then it’s the turn of actors Anna Madeley (Mrs Hall) and Samuel West (Siegfried Farnon) to sample the real life of a contemporary Yorkshire vet. They’re also keen to learn more about the life of James Heriot, and Peter is the perfect man to ask – not only did he work with the author, whose real name was Alf Wight, but he also knew Donald Sinclair, the inspiration for Siegfried.

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Then at 9pm, we get the festive special itself as Christmas approaches and James finds himself miles away from Darrowby at the RAF training base.

An emotional phone call from a heavily pregnant Helen makes him determined to make it home, but his wife may not be the only one who needs him – it turns out that RAF mascot Georgie also requires his help. Can James find a way to do his duty as a vet, a serviceman and a father-to-be, and still be back to spend the big day with his wife?

Back in Darrowby, Mrs Hall is keeping the home fires burning as she prepares a community celebration. Siegfried and Carmody argue over who is going to Father Christmas – you’ll have to tune in to see if they both want the job, or if one of them is trying to get out of it.

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