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All Creatures Great and Small: A Breath of Fresh Air


R E V I E W – S E R I E S


Takrim Hossain


If your idea of a comfort show is watching one with a visit to the fields, farms, and pubs of the faraway English countryside, then allow me to recommend All Creatures Great and Small. And even if you’re not interested in any of these, you should definitely give it a try. Because this is a show you can’t not enjoy.

All Creatures Great and Small is a 2020 remake of the hit BBC drama of the same name that ran from 1978-90. Based on the books by British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, the story revolves around a trio of veterinary surgeons working in North Yorkshire in the 1930s.

When it was announced that BBC had turned down the offer to finance the remake of All Creatures Great and Small over fears that it would not attract the younger audience. BBC’s skepticism did make sense, and because remakes are always hard to follow, people didn’t really have much expectation from the series. But boy, did it deliver! Soon after the first episode of ACGS aired on PBS, positive remarks started to spread throughout Britain, and the show is now on its way to a second season after six well-executed episodes in the first season.

Set in the majestic faraway Yorkshire Dales during the great depression, it revolves around James Herriot, a fresh veterinary college graduate who takes up a job as an assistant to the more experienced Siegfried Farnon in the fictionalised village of Darrowby in Yorkshire, England. Herriot finds the job overwhelming at first but over time he gets to prove himself and earns the appreciation of the locals.

He figures out that treating animals is actually more about treating their owners. Herriot’s boss, the experienced vet Siegfrid Farnon helps Herriot get settled and is constantly annoyed by his young brother Tristan, who has recently fled veterinary college after failing the finals. Mrs Hall keeps the Farnon house and has a heart of gold.

The cast of the show is impeccable. Scottish newcomer Nicholas Ralph plays the role of James Herriot, and he plays it oh so well. Acclaimed British actor Samuel West has done justice to the role of Siegfried Farnon. Anna Madeley has played the role of Mrs Hall and probably stole the show with her top-notch performance.

Apart from great performances and a beautiful storyline, ACGS is a very well-shot show and is sure to make people awestruck with its breathtaking visuals of the picture perfect Yorkshire Dales. The background music (mostly tinkling piano music) sits well with its setting. Another good thing about the show is that it stays true to its resources by being an out-and-out love letter to the original books. So, fans of the books are in for a treat.

ACGS is a lovely drama, a beautiful tale of love and kindness. It is full of heartwarming moments. You’ll soon find out that it is much more than just a vet drama about animals. It is about people; it is about a friendly and loving community with hearts full of warmth. In these dire times, ACGS is just the comfort show we want. It works as a tonic for escapism, and will let you immerse yourself in a world where everyone’s a little bit kinder, and a little bit sweeter. Sometimes that is just what we want, or need.

 


Md. Takrim Hossain is a life-long Liverpool fan and a proud Slytherin who spends the day annoying people talking about Geopolitics and Military history and the night by himself, flipping through the pages of Asterix while listening to Britpop and maybe re-watching a classic David Lynch or a Wong Kar-wai masterpiece.

 

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