All Creatures Great and Small is Channel 5’s biggest show in five years

The premiere of the rebooted veterinarian period drama was watched by 3.3 million at its peak.

Top Left: Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West) Top Right: Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) Middle: James Herriott (Nicholas Ralph) Bottom: Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley)

The reboot of classic Yorkshire veterinarian period drama All Creatures Great and Small was watched by 3.3 million viewers at its peak on Tuesday night – Channel 5’s biggest audience in almost five years.

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That equated to 20.4 per cent of the entire TV audience and was the biggest rating for the channel since the return of The X-Files scored 3.7 million and a 16.3 per cent share in early 2016, according to Deadline.

All Creatures Great and Small executive producer Colin Callender was understandably delighted, particularly of the feeling the show seemed to have ‘captured the mood of the moment’.

“It has given audiences a bit of an escape from pandemic and politics, escaping to the great landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales,” he said. “Even before COVID, I felt the audience wanted the sort of show that you could watch and revel in and not be beaten up by. There was something about All Creatures Great and Small with its themes of community and family, harking back to a kinder, gentler world, compared to the divided, complex and rather brutal one that we’re now living in.”

Callender gave credit to the Channel 5 management, particularly the support from director of programmes Ben Frow and his deputy Seb Cardwell.

He said: “There was no bureaucracy, no layers of decision making, it was very easy to get a quick answer.”

All Creatures Great and Small is based on the books by real life vet James Herriot (real name Alf Wight) about his life in a rural Yorkshire community in the 1930s. Herriot chronicled the unusual practice he worked in with Siegfried Farnon and his brother, Tristan, and the heartland characters they encountered in their work.

The book was first adapted as a movie starring Anthony Hopkins in 1975, but the BBC series which premiered in 1978 became a massively popular show, running for a total of 90 episodes and ending in 1990.

The Channel 5 adaptation was already commissioned for a second season before the first premiered.

All Creatures Great and Small will screen next Tuesday, 8th September.

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If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.