Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton and Callum Woodhouse lead the cast alongside the late, great Dame Diana Rigg in Channel 5’s new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, based on James Herriot’s real-life memoirs.
The show follows the exploits of newly-qualified vet James Herriot, who embarks on a veterinary career in the deepest depths of rural Yorkshire – and comes to feel at home among both the community and his four-legged patients.
Read on for everything you need to know about the show’s characters and cast members.
Nicholas Ralph plays James Herriot
Who is James Herriot? The iconic young Yorkshire vet, played by Christopher Timothy in the original 1970s television series. Working in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s and ’40s, James struggles at first to adapt – but soon finds himself won over by both the community and animals he works with.
Where have I seen Nicholas Ralph before? The Scottish actor makes his television debut in All Creatures Great and Small. He’s previously performed at a variety of theatres in Scotland, in plays including Captain Amazing, Interference, and Cinderella.
Samuel West plays Siegfried Farnon
Who is Siegfried Farnon? A wealthy and capricious veterinary surgeon who – reluctantly – hired the recently qualified James Herriot to become his assistant. Siegfried is also the proprietor of Skeldale House and its veterinary practice. He is a widower, and he also raised his younger brother Tristan after the death of their parents.
Where have I seen Samuel West before? The actor is no stranger to appearing in period dramas, having recently starred in the likes of Mr. Selfridge (as Frank Edwards), On Chesil Beach, and the Oscar-winning film Darkest Hour (as Sir Anthony Eden). Previous credits also include The Crown (as Anthony Blunt), and the film Howards End.
Rachel Shenton plays Helen Alderson
Who is Helen Alderson? Helen is a local farmer’s daughter who has been helping raise her little sister ever since the death of their mother. It’s a hard life making a living from the farm, but Helen has a relentlessly positive can-do attitude. Romance-wise, she has a longstanding sweetheart by the name of Hugh – but does she also have feelings for newcomer James Herriot?
Where have I seen Rachel Shenton before? Two years ago Shenton notably won the Oscar for Best Live Action short film, for The Silent Child. She’s otherwise known for playing Anne “Mitzeee” Minniver in Hollyoaks, Joanne Scott in White Gold, and Courtney in Waterloo Road.
Matthew Lewis plays Hugh Hulton
Who is Hugh Hulton? A wealthy landowner and Helen’s long-term love interest. They have known each other for many years.
Where have I seen Matthew Lewis before? You’ll of course recognise Matthew Lewis for playing the valiant (if accident-prone) Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film franchise. However, he’s also starred in the likes of The Syndicate, Bluestone 42, Girlfriends (as Tom), and Happy Valley (as Sean Balmforth).
Callum Woodhouse plays Tristan Farnon
Who is Tristan Farnon? Siegfried’s popular but extravagant playboy brother. Tristan is training to be a vet like his older brother, but he has a habit of failing exams.
Where have I seen Callum Woodhouse before? The actor is best known for playing Leslie Durrell in the series The Durrells. He’s also starred in Cold Feet and Father Brown.
Anna Madeley plays Mrs Hall
Who is Mrs Hall? The housekeeper of Skeldale House. Mrs Hall is a force to be reckoned with – often putting her employer in his place – but she is kind and loving heart, and usually knows what’s best. We know from series one that she previously left an abusive relationship, and that she has a grown-up son called Edward who is somewhat elusive.
Where have I seen Anna Madeley before? The actress recently starred opposite David Tennant in the acclaimed Deadwater Fell (as Kate). She’s also starred in Patrick Melrose (as Cousin Mary), Silent Witness, The Crown (as Clarissa Eden), Mr Selfridge (as Miss Ravillious) and Utopia (as Anya).
Maimie McCoy plays Dorothy
Who is Dorothy? Mrs Hall’s close friend, from their time working together in the war. She drops in every now and then, and there might be chemistry between her and Siegfried Farnon….
What else has Maimie McCoy been in? She recently starred in the ITV crime drama Van der Valk, as well as playing Nancy Raynott in White House Farm (2020) and DC Tracy Joyce in A Confession (2019). Other roles have included Milady de Winter in The Musketeers, Tamsin Richards in DCI Banks, and Nicole Palmerston-Amory in Personal Affairs.
Mollie Winnard plays Maggie
Who is Maggie? The barmaid, who took a shine to Tristan Farnon in series one. They had a casual relationship, but then broke it off before things got too serious.
What else has Mollie Winnard been in? She previously starred as Kayla Clifton in Coronation Street.
Tony Pitts plays Richard Alderson
Who is Richard Alderson? A farmer, and the father of Helen Alderson and little Jenny Alderson (Imogen Clawson).
Where have I seen Tony Pitts before? Have to say – we didn’t expect Tony Pitts to pop up in All Creatures Great and Small! You might recognise him as Hargreaves from Line of Duty, or as Inspector Moss from Peaky Blinders; he’s also been in Jamestown (as Edgar Massinger), Wild Bill (as Keith Metcalfe), MotherFatherSon (as Lennox), Giri/Haji (as Steve), My Mad Fat Diary (as Chloe’s Dad), and Emmerdale (as Archie Brooks). On the big screen, he played Captain Pterro in Rogue One.
Dave Hill & Cleo Sylvestre play Bert & Anne Chapman
Who are Bert and Anne Chapman? An elderly couple who we meet in the Christmas special when they require James Herriot’s help with their heavily-pregnant border collie. They live in a remote little cottage in the Dales.
Where have I seen Dave Hill before? If his face looks familiar, that’s probably because he’s appeared in 138 movies and TV shows – including EastEnders (as Bert Atkinson), Mrs Wilson, Girlfriends, Skins, Rocket Man, Doctor Who (as Nessican), The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, The Full Monty, and Place of Execution.
Where have I seen Cleo Sylvestre before? The actress has enjoyed a prolific career on stage, and was in fact the first Black woman ever to play a leading role at the National Theatre. On the big screen, she’s appeared in Paddington (as Marjorie Clyde) and Kidulthood (as Sam’s mum), while on the small screen she’s been in shows including The Guilty, Grange Hill, and The Gemini Factor.
Diana Rigg plays Mrs Pumphrey
Who is Mrs Pumphrey? A wealthy local resident and proud owner of an extremely spoilt Pekingese dog named Tricki Woo.
Where have I seen Diana Rigg before? A new generation was introduced to the acclaimed actress when she starred in HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, playing the acid-tongued matriarch Olenna Tyrell. She’s also known for roles in Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (as Tracy), The Avengers (as Emma Peel), Bleak House, and, more recently, the TV series Detectorists and Victoria. She’ll also soon be appearing in the TV adaptation Black Narcissus.
Sadly, just after her she made her first appearance in All Creatures Great and Small, Diana Rigg died on 10th September 2020 at the age of 82.
Alexis Platt plays Dick Rudd
Who is Dick Rudd? A farmer, and the owner of Strawberry the cow. He initially gives James a bit of a hard time, but soon comes to respect him.
Where have I seen Alexis Platt before? Credits include Coronation Street, Ackley bridge, Last Tango in Halifax, and Prey.
Jon Furlong plays Mr Dobson
Who is Mr Dobson? A farmer, and the owner of a herd of cows. He pays the Aldersons for the services of their bull, Clive.
Where have I seen Jon Furlong before? The actor played Brother Godwin in The Last Kingdom.
Steven Blakeley plays Foyle
Who is Foyle? The extremely-officious organiser of the local fair.
Where have I seen Steven Blakeley before? He is best known for starring as PC Geoff Younger in the TV series Heartbeat.
Nigel Havers plays General Ransom
Who is General Ransom? The snobbish boss of a prestigious racecourse. General Ransom is looking for a new vet to attend to the racehorses, and he’s not sure whether country vet Siegfried Farnon will pass muster.
Where have I seen Nigel Havers before? His roles have included Lord Andrew Lindsay in Chariots of Fire, Tom Latimer in Don’t Wait Up, and Lewis Archer in Coronation Street.
Who is Lillian Calvert? An acerbic farmer, who pours scorn on poor James Herriot.
Where have I seen Susan Jameson before? She is best known for starring as Esther Lane in New Tricks, a role she played for ten years, and for playing Great Aunt Loretta in Grandpa in My Pocket. Other recent credits have included All That Remains, Mrs Wilson, and Casualty.
All Creatures Great and Small airs on PBS Masterpiece in the US on Sundays at 9/8c
You can order James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small from Amazon.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.