Broodiness – As this episode of All Creatures Great And Small begins, James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) talks to Jess about the kids hunting for Easter eggs while driving past. He nearly runs into a young boy and his dog but manages to stop in time. James quickly apologizes. An egg is thrown on his windshield. At Skeldale House, Siegfried Franon (Samuel West) and Helen Herriot (Rachel Shenton) make a list of items they need. Siegfried finds James reading about the war in the kitchen. Siegfried recommends James withdraw his name. He hates to admit that they’re really missing Tristan. They receive a call from Slavens who is having another difficult lambing.
Once Siegfried leaves, James agrees that he can be testing. Siegfried meets Clifford Slavens (Paul Hilton) who leads him to the patient. Helen and James watch the kids having fun. Helen asks if he wishes there wasn’t a war going on. Then, she handles the duck races. The boy that James almost hit earlier ends up throwing rocks at the ducks. James tries to catch the boy who flees. Once Siegfried finishes, he tells Clifford he is surprised he needed him since it was straightforward enough. The mother sheep rejects its lamb. James finds the boy’s dog and realizes it is in poor health. The boy returns, catches James off-guard, and punches him. As the boy runs away, he yells to tell James to stay away from his dog.
Siegfried gets emotional when reading a letter from Tristan. Audrey Hall (Anna Madeley) goes to the Ripon County Court. She tells a man there that she is looking to get a divorce since they’ve been apart for years. The man gives her forms to complete and explains they’ll need a detailed statement documenting the disintegration of her marriage. Mrs. Hall admits she thought it’d be easier. Helen tells James about the young boy who has been causing problems. She thinks his name is Wesley Binks (Billy Hickey). James argues that Wesley shouldn’t have pets. Helen tries to talk to Audrey about Wesley, but Audrey is clearly distracted. Siegfried argues nothing will change troublemakers that were born like that.
Helen tells James that the boy lives at Old Mill Terrace. James is worried that the dog might have distemper. Audrey begins working on the application for a divorce. Siegfried startles her and learns that she is getting divorced. Audrey admits she is worried about Edward. James goes to Wesley’s house to tell him his dog might have distemper. Wesley doesn’t want to let him in. James insists he isn’t going anywhere until he gets to see the dog. Eventually, Wesley comes out and tells James that the dog’s name is Duke. James warns him that the outlook is bleak for most dogs with distemper. Wesley ends up getting upset at him. James returns to Skeldale House to get Siegfried’s advice. Siegfried believes he has to accept that Wesley doesn’t want his help.
Later, James tells Helen he is thinking about reporting the dog to the RSPCA. Helen worries the boy will lose his dog, but James argues he has to put the animal first. In the morning, James calls them and they agree it is an animal welfare emergency. Mr. Slavens calls to tell Siegfried that his ewe has rejected its lamb. Helen soon learns that she ordered six dozen boxes of sterile dressings instead of six dozen boxes. Audrey and Helen decide to stick the boxes in the pantry instead of telling Siegfried. They manage to move them before Siegfried finds out. Siegfried returns to Clifford and asks if the lamb has had any milk. Clifford gave him a bottle last night, but he believes the lamb needs colostrum. After checking them, Siegfried asks if Clifford has used a bonding pen before.
James and an RSPCA woman (Susan Jayne-Robinson) encounter Granny Binks (Pam Shaw) who says Wesley is out with the dog. Once they tell her what the visit is about, Granny Binks admits she wishes he’d never got that dog. She goes on to say Wes often puts that dog before himself. James notices where the dog sleeps before asking the RSPCA woman to step outside. James claims he was wrong because Duke is clearly well looked after. Wes arrives and questions what is going on. James insists it is nothing to worry about. The woman with the RSPCA believes the dog is poorly and in a situation that poses a risk to its life. James offers to make sure Duke gets all the necessary care. Once she agrees and leaves, Wes tells James he’ll be sorry if he comes around him and his dog again.
Even though James believes the dog is going to die, Wes refuses to let him treat it. Siegfried speaks to Clifford about his family. Once Siegfried shows him how to get the sheep to bond, Clifford says he can’t do this on his own since his farmhands have gone off to fight. Siegfried reminds him he can call him if there is any trouble. James tells Helen she was right about Wesley and he shouldn’t never assumed he was mistreating his dog. Siegfried finds boxes in the linen cupboard and immediately asks Helen about them. Then, she is asked if she knows whether Mr. and Mrs. Slavens have been having any trouble. Helen tells him that Valerie Slavens died last month. Later that night, Wesley knocks on the door to tell James that he has to help Duke.
Once Duke is taken inside, Wesley says he knew Duke wasn’t right although he thought he might get better. James promises to do everything he can. Wesley doesn’t want him to die. James explains he is crossbred and they have hybrid vigor which helps them fight disease. With a bit of luck, they caught it early. Wesley doesn’t want charity so he suggests there must be some way he can pay. James steps out and tells Siegfried that Wesley is going to be working for them. Audrey continues working through the divorce application. She tells Siegfried she is thinking about putting together a parcel for Tristan. Audrey isn’t sure she can do it. Siegfried thinks it might have something to do with Gerald but Audrey says otherwise. The following day, Siegfried checks with Clifford who says the tricks seem to be working.
Siegfried admits he didn’t know about his wife yesterday. He apologizes because he didn’t know Clifford was by himself. Clifford says you don’t expect your daughters not to need you anymore. Siegfried returns and checks on Wesley’s work. Wesley asks who lets the animals out of the cages since they still need to run around. Siegfried leaves him to discuss it with James. Then, he apologizes to Audrey. He thinks she should seek a divorce. Audrey tells him they want a statement. She argues that stuff is between herself and Robert. Siegfried thinks you have to look that monster in the face sometimes. He offers to let Audrey use his study. When Siegfried tries to play piano, he finds more hidden packages. After he finds more, he yells for Helen.
She is forced to admit that she made a mistake with the order. Siegfried asks about his tobacco. James asks him about something more regular for Wesley. Siegfried thinks she can do something better. James finds Wesley with Duke who is doing much better. He wants to talk to Wesley about Siegfried’s idea. Wesley is taken to Clifford’s where he can help around the property. Before Audrey goes to church, Siegfried tells her that no one is going to judge her. Audrey admits writing it all down sometimes helps. Gerald Hammond (Will Thorp) comes over to pick up Audrey moments later. Siegfried remains behind since he has a letter to write. As James watches Wesley work with Clifford, he tells himself that he’ll be alright.
All Creatures Great And Small Review
The fourth series of All Creatures Great and Small started with a good episode that took some time to get going. James found himself in a conflict with a young boy named Wesley who didn’t want to let him treat his dog. Siegfried has been dealing with Tristan’s absence while Audrey is preparing to divorce her husband. As for Helen, she is trying to settle into her new role at Skeldale House.
While the episode was a little predictable, it made up for it with charm. The series has the potential to get very emotional as the story progresses. I do wish the show would return to some of the side characters so we can see how they’re doing in future episodes. It’d be nice if Wesley and Clifford were at least touched on in later episodes to see how they managed together.
However, I wouldn’t expect this to happen. Regardless, All Creatures Great and Small remains charming, uplifting, and easy to watch. This was a good start to a season that can only get better from here. This episode scores a 7 out of 10. Recaps of All Creatures Great And Small are available on Reel Mockery here. Find out how to support our independent site at this link.
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