Miranda star Patricia Hodge has joined the cast of Channel 5’s All Creatures Great and Small in the role of Mrs Pumphrey, following the death of Dame Diana Rigg last year.
Based on the beloved novels by author James Herriot, the television series takes place in the 1930s and follows the inhabitants of a quaint Yorkshire village called Darrowby.
Mrs Pumphrey is one of many locals Herriot encounters as a vet, instantly recognisable by her pet dog Tricki Woo and larger-than-life personality.
Dame Diana Rigg portrayed her in the show’s first series but sadly passed away in September 2020 following a battle with lung cancer, with the All Creatures team deciding to recast the role rather than write out the character completely.
Executive producer Sir Colin Callender CBE said: “We were deeply saddened by the passing of Dame Diana Rigg who will always be a treasured member of the All Creatures family.
“Mrs Pumphrey and her overly indulged Pekingese, Tricki Woo, are such iconic and cherished characters in Herriot’s world and we are delighted to welcome the wonderful Patricia Hodge who will join the company as Mrs Pumphrey for series two.”
There had previously been uncertainty over what the future of the character would be, with producers telling RadioTimes.com that they were still weighing up their options in December.
Hodge will be familiar to fans of British telly, after playing Miranda Hart’s controlling mother in the comedian’s self-titled sitcom, and taking later roles in Hugh Laurie’s Roadkill, Hugh Grant’s A Very English Scandal and ITV’s period drama Downton Abbey.
Channel 5 has also announced that Dorothy Atkinson (Call the Midwife) will be joining the All Creatures cast as Diana Brompton, a woman who captures Siegfried Farnon’s eye at the local Church Hall Dance, while The Vicar of Dibley‘s James Fleet will appear as Colonel Merrick, a military man and local farmer.
Of course, the main cast comprised of Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Callum Woodhouse and Rachel Shenton will also be back, three of whom can be spotted in this first picture from the set as filming gets underway in Yorkshire.
All Creatures Great and Small series two will feature six more episodes expected to premiere on Channel 5 this autumn, followed by another Christmas special after last year’s festive offering was a seasonal hit.