‘All Creatures Great and Small’ reviews round-up: This ‘welcome time-warp’ is ‘irresistible’

Channel 5’s remake of All Creatures Great and Small began in the UK last night.

The new six-part period drama is based on author James Herriot’s much-loved collection of stories.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the first book’s publication, All Creatures Great and Small chronicles the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.

Newcomer Nicholas Ralph makes his television debut as the iconic vet who became renowned for his inspiring humour, compassion and love of life.

Joining Ralph are Samuel West (Mr Selfridge) as Siegfried Farnon, the eccentric veterinary surgeon and proprietor of Skeldale House, who reluctantly hires Herriot; Anna Madeley (Patrick Melrose) as Mrs. Hall, the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House; Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells) as Siegfried’s errant and charismatic younger brother, Tristan; and Rachel Shenton (White Gold) as Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter.

Guest stars in the first season will include Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis, Chariots of Fire star Nigel Havers, and iconic English actress Dame Diana Rigg (Victoria, The Avengers).

Watch the trailer:

 

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews for the first episode to help you decide if you’d like to watch the show:

 

“The mixture of photogenic wildlife, ravishing Dales scenery and obstinate local eccentrics should delight devotees of escapist comfort food, such as The Durrells or Doc Martin…” ★★★★ – iNews

 

“A charming antidote to all the doom and gloom.” ★★★★ – The Times

 

“Rest assured, this six-part All Creatures Great and Small [succeeds in] piling on the charm without ever getting cloying, and tipping just enough winks to the original (the belated arrival of the famous theme is positively Proustian) to satisfy those who treasure the Christopher Timothy iteration … The casting is smart and veteran Downton Abbey director Brian Percival knows his way around spectacular scenery. The sense of warmth and community, now more than ever, feels nigh on irresistible.”  – The Telegraph

 

“… a nostalgic haze hung over the memory, echoing the evocative mood of Call the Midwife … This series intends to milk every drop of melancholic pleasure from the lost and gentle past.” – The Daily Mail

 

“Remaking such a classic comes with the risk of failure and disappointment. But from the opening moments of tonight’s episode, it looks as though Channel 5 are on to a winner … as before, it is the interplay between James, his wonderfully capricious boss Siegfried, and Siegfried’s errant younger brother Tristan that’s at the heart of the show … The other stars of the show, of course, are the animals – and the glorious, swooping landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.” – York Press

 

“[This] revival of vintage vet show is full of Yorkshire promise … Comforting escapism for an age of pandemics and eco-panic.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

 

“This well-crafted adaptation of the cherished James Herriot canon offers a welcome time-warp to 1930s Yorkshire.” The Guardian

 

“Anyone expecting links to the iconic TV triumvirate of Robert Hardy, Peter Davison and Christopher Timothy might be disappointed. [Producer Burrell Burrell], having gone back to the original books, hopes for an open mind.” – The Yorkshire Post

 

“James Herriot has returned to soothe us in these chaotic times.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

 

All Creatures Great and Small continues airing at 9pm on Tuesdays on Channel 5 this autumn.

The series will premiere in the US on PBS Masterpiece in January on Sunday nights.

The original All Creatures Great and Small is available on DVD on Amazon.