Channel 5’s All Creatures Great and Small season two begins airing this month, but the romance between vet James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) and Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) is firmly on the back-burner – at least for now.
Fans who watched Helen call off her wedding during the Christmas special may have expected to see her and James already in a relationship at the start of season two, but several months have passed and the pair still haven’t shared a kiss.
In fact, James has spent time working in Glasgow, and by the time he returns to the Yorkshire Dales, it’s been four months since he last interacted with Helen, who has avoided public places following the wedding incident.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, Rachel Shenton said the will-they-won’t-they romance will progress with “baby steps”.
She said, “They wouldn’t just jump into a relationship together, they tentatively get there and they make sure that each other’s OK, and they’re caretakers of each other’s emotions. And so it’s not an assumption at the start at all.
“It’s a real slow burner. And their relationship evolves with such care and tenderness. What’s important to both of them is each other’s happiness as individuals as well as being a couple, which I think is really, really rare. Probably more so around that time as well. And there’s baby steps at first, and they kind of miss each other a little bit at times as well. And it’s been really lovely,” she added.
At the same press event, Nicholas Ralph teased that there will be a choice between love and duty for his character James, as his mother exerts pressure on him to return to Glasgow.
“His mum is very keen for him to be to be coming back and he’s not so keen but there’s this kind of push and pull for James throughout the series,” he said.
He added that the four-month separation had been “painful” for his character. Noting James and Helen’s “profound connection”, he said, “to not see that person and not to be around them for four months… maybe spotted [them] around the town, but [had] no real interaction – it must be really painful, it must really hurt. So yeah, so that’s obviously been quite difficult [for them]”.
In the All Creatures Great and Small season two trailer, we see Rachel and James reunite in a field, presumably after his long absence. “I’ve missed you,” he admits, before we see the pair sat close together.
All Creatures Great and Small is returning to Channel 5 on Thursday, 16th September at 9pm. In the meantime, take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out what else is on with our TV Guide.