Christmas has come early for fans of All Creatures Great and Small as we can now share a whole load of images from the festive special, alongside Channel 5’s official synopsis for the episode. And it sounds like quite a dramatic Christmas for the residents of Skeldale House!
The series one finale ended with heartbreak for James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) as Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) agreed to marry her long-term sweetheart Hugh Hulton (Matthew Lewis).
The newly-trained vet had swapped Glasgow for Yorkshire to work for Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), bonding with his boss’s wayward brother (and veterinary student) Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) and housekeeper Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley). After some hiccups, James gained in confidence and quickly became a much-loved member of the local community; he also fell head-over-heels for Helen, but never truly made his feelings known – and wealthy landowner Hugh was already on the scene.
Now, the All Creatures Christmas special picks the story back up on Christmas Eve. It’s the day before Helen and Hugh’s wedding, and James is still heartbroken and trying to bury his pain. But Skeldale House is hosting its annual Christmas party, and James has invited his new girlfriend Connie (Charlie May-Clark) as his guest.
Channel 5 says: “Preparations are well under way, Tristan has decked the halls with mistletoe and Mrs Hall has laid on a feast and is looking forward to her son Edward returning for Christmas.
“Siegfried is delighted when Dorothy turns up and wonders if now is the time to throw caution to the wind.”
Fans will recall that Siegfried clearly has a crush on Mrs Hall’s friend Dorothy (Maimie McCoy), who has guest-starred in previous episodes; but he’s also hampered by his feelings of loyalty to his late wife.
And as for Mrs Hall, we’ve had indications of her difficult relationship with son Edward – but he is elusive, and we’ve yet to meet him.
But it wouldn’t be a party at Skeldale House without an emergency call for a vet…
“As the house fills with locals James receives a call from Bert Chapman who wants help with his dog who is struggling to give birth,” Channel 5 says. “James has to leave the party and is surprised when Helen asks if she can go with him to get away from all the wedding gossip.”
Bert Chapman will be played by Dave Hill, while his wife Anne will be played by Cleo Sylvestre.
However, the trip does not go smoothly:
We’re told: “Up at the Chapman’s James is faced with a puppy stuck in the birth canal, and Helen sees how much he loves being a vet.
“When it’s time to leave, James is horrified to discover the fog has descended trapping them high up in the Dales until morning.”
And finally: “James calls Skeldale and promises to get Helen back to Darrowby in time for the wedding, meanwhile wondering if he will be able to suppress his true feelings for her.”
So… does he tell her he loves her? And does the wedding go ahead? We’ll find out at Christmas!
All Creatures Great and Small will air for Christmas 2020. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.