‘All Creatures’ interview: Callum Woodhouse hints at new romance for Tristan

All Creatures Great and Small is back!

Based on author James Herriot’s much-loved collection of stories, Channel 5’s period drama follows the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.

Three months on from the end of the last season, it’s now spring 1939 as the hit series returns for its third run.

Some big changes are happening at Skeldale and everyone has to learn how to adjust. Tristan is now a qualified vet while James enters into a new stage of his life with Helen and at the practice.

After being made joint business partner by Siegfried, James pushes to take on more responsibility via the Ministry of Agriculture’s new bovine TB testing scheme, but its unexpected challenges risk pushing him to breaking point.

And as a potential Second World War looms, all of our Skeldale family have to consider their purpose in Darrowby and beyond.

Watch the trailer:


Season 3 is currently airing in the UK at 9pm on Thursday nights on Channel 5.

The new episodes will then air in the US at 9/8c on Sunday nights from 8th January 2023 on Masterpiece on PBS.

Here The Durrells star Callum Woodhouse chats about what’s coming up for Tristan…


Where do we see Tristan at the beginning of this season?

“Well, Tristan is a fully qualified vet now, for real. Not like the fake qualifications he had before! He is now properly qualified. He’s working in the practice under Siegfried’s ever watchful eye, but I don’t think he’s been that off the lead really.

“I think Siegfried still doesn’t fully trust him in the same way that he trusts James. So, I think he’s wanting to crack on a bit more, do a little bit more actual veterinary work rather than doing things that seem less important to him.”


Do you think that is partly because of the changing world around him?

“Yeah, we do have the threat of war this series. So, I’m sure somewhere in the back of his mind he’s thinking of a sense of duty.

“You know, he is seeing boys much, much younger than him jumping at the chance to go and fight for their country and he is maybe feeling a little bit guilty that his job restricts him from doing that.”


Helen and James get married this season, what is Tristan’s involvement?

“Tristan is the best man, so he organises the stag do, and it all goes terribly, terribly wrong. In classic Tristan fashion. It’s a very, very stressful episode for Tristan to be quite honest.

“From the moment they wake up on the wedding day morning he’s just absolutely stressed to death!”


Does he worry that things will change when his best friend is a married man?

“Yeah, I think so. I think he’s probably worried a little bit, about not having a drinking buddy to go out with quite as much and that type of thing. I think more than anything, he’s sort of jealous.

“Not jealous, jealous, but you know, he just wants that type of relationship with someone. I think he sort of thought, maybe that’s what it was going to be like with Maggie, but that didn’t work out unfortunately.

“No, he’s definitely happy for James, but I’m sure there’s a couple of times where he invites him out for a pint and James says no, and it’s probably put his nose out of joint a little bit.”


But he has a good relationship with Helen as well, doesn’t he?

“Oh absolutely. This is what I always think – Helen and Tristan met long before James showed up on the scene. They’ve probably been out for a couple of drinks together and it’s been a really funny night. He could probably go out to the pub the three of them together anyway and they could all have a laugh.

“So, it does just feel like he’s welcoming a new mate into the house, which is sweet and lovely. But I think sometimes he’s maybe a bit perturbed when they go off and do something, just those two. He’s like, “well, I want to be involved”.”


Tristan has made a bit of a niche, looking after pet animals and their owners that come into the surgery…

“Exactly. I think Tristan’s speciality is the owners. As I’ve said, he’s passed the exams. He’s on this track to being a proper vet, but the thing that Tristan has in spades is just this incredible emotional intelligence.

“He just knows how to deal with people. That continues throughout the series, and just knowing how to look after people and keep their best interests at heart.”


And he saves the life of a dog which leads to a new romance?

“I think Tristan finally meets his match this series with his love interest. Definitely. She’s almost the female Tristan in a way, but slightly more independent, which is something that really, really attracts him.

“He’s always felt in Siegfried’s shadow a little bit and is feeling it more than ever this series and meeting someone who’s just so independent and their own person just really amazes him.”


Does having your own dog help when working with all your canine co-stars on set?

“Do you know what? I think it really does help. In fact, I’m not trying to blow my own horn or whatever but, the animal handlers have said that when it comes to dogs, I’m probably one of the easiest to work with.

“Sometimes, if you want to get these dogs to do something with you in a scene, they need to feel like they have some sort of relationship with you. And so, a lot of the time, the handlers ask the actors to come over and say hi to the dog and fuss over the dog a little bit, so when they start shooting the scene the dog feels like it wants to be near you.

“And every single time before they even ask me to do that I’m all over the dogs. They’re on their back, and I’m rubbing their bellies, and it’s just happened for me. I’m always just immediately there.”


You touched on Tristan’s relationship with Siegfried, do you think that they learn a bit more about each other this season and their relationship progresses?

“They learn things about their parents that I don’t think either of them quite knew because they were separated through age difference and many different factors.

“We learn things about their parental relationships too that they didn’t know about which opens new doors for them. It’s always going to be quite weird and strange between them but over the course of this series, they get to a place where they might never have been before.

“It takes a while to get there, and it takes a lot of arguments and testy moments to get there. But they find a sort of new understanding of each other. Definitely. People want them to fight because it’s funny but at the same time, they want them to give each other a hug.”


And your relationship with Mrs. Hall, how is it this season? Obviously, you’ve always been her favourite…

“Mrs Hall really invests in her Skeldale Family. I think Tristan reciprocates that feeling. He’s obviously lost his mum and still wants a mother figure and wants to be mothered. He’s very much like me in that respect. He likes being mothered.

“Mrs Hall does that because she doesn’t have her son around and she wants and needs somewhere to place that incredible motherly love that she has. Her and Tristan are just a perfect fit really.

“I love doing the scenes with Anna (Madeley). She’s also the biggest troublemaker and we always have such a laugh working together.”


You’ve played this character for a few years now, what have you learned about him?

“I think what’s been incredible about playing Tristan is that he’s such an optimistic and upbeat character. He’s always trying to see the best in things, which I think I could be more like sometimes.

“So being in his shoes for so long, eventually it starts to sort of rub off on you a little bit. It’s really nice. He has things that he hides behind a little bit and it’s been really fun to unpack those and see what makes him tick and why so yeah, it’s been really fun.”


Do you have a favourite filming location?

“I do love filming inside of The Drover Arms because it’s one of those places where it really just feels like you stepped back in time. It feels like that pub looked the same 100 years ago and it’s not changed.

“Every time we go in there, I think it’s probably got the least bit of set dressing that production have to do! It has really low ceilings, wooden beams and these sort of crazy things on the wall, there’s a nice fire going…

“I love drinking out of these huge metal tankards that are all battered and bruised. It’s in Hawes and there’s a waterfall behind the pub that you can go and have a wander and look at and it’s just really beautiful.”


And a favourite moment from filming this season?

“Anything with Ernie who plays Jess, the dog in Skeldale House. What I love about Ernie is that you rehearse the scene, you know your lines, things get set for what they do, and then you introduce Ernie into it and everything changes.

“It’s like introducing chaos into the scene, but it’s the cutest, happiest form of chaos. It always just brings a real sense of energy and spontaneity. A lot of the time, those things make it into the show, because they’re such honest and truthful moments and that’s what people like to watch.”


So it’s actually just incorrect to say never work with animals?

“I think work exclusively with animals. I mean, that’s clearly what I’m doing in my career so far!”


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