The executive producer behind the revival of classic British period comedy drama All Creatures Great and Small hopes it will be commissioned for season two before the first screens on Channel 5.
The drama about a country vet in the Yorkshire Dales between the two world wars was massively popular when it originally screened on BBC between 1978-1990 and Channel 5 is expecting big things from the reboot, which will star The Crown’s Samuel West (pictured) as eccentric vet Siegfried Farnon and Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot, the vet who wrote the classic memoir on which it is based.
The cast also includes former Hollyoaks star Rachel Shenton stars as Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter (and James’s love interest), The Durrells’ Callum Woodhouse as Siegfried’s feckless brother Tristan and Anna Madeley (The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose) plays Mrs Hall, the resident housekeeper.
Channel 5 director of programmes Ben Frow has already said the broadcaster wanted a second season, but Deadline reports that All Creatures Great and Small executive producer Colin Callender is in talks about a second series. “We have every intention and hope that this will be a returning series,” he said. “That was our ambition from the outset.”
Callender said on a virtual panel for US broadcaster PBS – which ordered the series along with Channel 5 – that producers and cast had made a commitment to Herriot’s children the series wouldn’t deviate from the book even if it was updated from 1930s Yorkshire and the roles of women were developed.
“We’re living in such a difficult and problematic time that this series would be re-embraced,” he said. “We felt there was a way to make it work with a contemporary audience.”
He added that All Creatures Great and Small would embrace core values of days gone by and the cast revealed that they had immersed themselves in the agriculture lifestyle.
West, Ralph and Shenton had generally positive experiences with the animals on set, whether it was petting docile calves or working with intimidating bulls. Shenton was reprimanded for stroking a cow, which kept falling asleep between takes.
“We didn’t really know how difficult or easy working with the animals was going to be,” laughed West. “The only days we finished early were the days we were working with animals. They were more reliable than humans on the whole.”
All Creatures Great and Small season one has been rescheduled for 2021.
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