Heart-warming tales of vets in the Yorkshire Dales continue into the fifties. Now that Tristan has landed an exalted position in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Darrowby practice recruits a young Scottish ve... more »t who arrives by motorcycle with a badger in his luggage.DVD Features:
Based on the books of the British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. It's an old saying in the film industry that one should never work with children or animals, as they never do what they are supposed to. Well, this show did, and proved it was possible, although the animals still greatly misbehaved. The series had two runs, totaling 90 episodes: the original (1978 to 1980, based directly on Herriot's books) was for three series. The second run (1988 to 1990, filmed with original scripts) for the fourth series. Since then, it has become an internationally beloved world favorite, and indeed, when viewing these now, one gets a feeling that the countryside was a glorious place inhabited by amazing people. Two or three of these episodes at the end of the day provides an escapist, gentle, heartwarming, cozy-cup-of-cocoa type drama. It's warm, simple, nice, and lovely, even educational, and it's not going to frighten the horses. Although, I should add, that all the main actors here suffered at least one anointing of having their hand up a cow.
Great as usual!
babydoh | 11/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Set after the end of WWII, this series was taped about eight years after the previous series. As one would expect, there are a lot of changes - but the show is still as wonderful as ever. In this series, Carol Drinkwater (Helen) has been replaced by Lynda Bellingham, and although "The Changing of the Helens" (as I think of it) takes some getting used to, Lynda Bellingham is very good. Also, Helen and James have two children now.Of course, all of the actors look older than before (with the possible exception of Siegfried, who seems not to have aged in 8 years), but it doesn't matter at all. They are just as much fun to watch as ever. (And Tristan is still very, very cute.)Although all the episodes are great, my personal favorite is called "The Bull With The Bowler Hat". It's wonderful, but I'm not going to spoil it for you - you'll have to buy the series and watch it! :-)"
All Creatures, series 4
Maureen | 09/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just wanted to say that, yes, James does seem much more serious in this set of stories, but the changes aren't surprising. He's older, he's been through a war and he has a lot more responsibility now. In other words, he's middle aged. But the series is still wonderful and worth adding to your collection. The funny thing is, I remember when I first saw the new Helen on TV many years ago I thought she was so old. It's a shock to see her now and realize that at the time she was younger than I am now. Time passes!
I wanted to answer a comment made by one of the reviewers about the animals used in the series. One of the earlier DVDs has a commentary by Robert Hardy and others that discusses this point. What they did was advertise for animals with the condition being shown in the script and would offer free veterinary treatment for the illness in return for being allowed to film the treatments. When the camera draws in for a closeup showing surgery being done, a real vet is performing the surgery and correcting a real illness. Robert Hardy does say that they would never be able to make the series today because of the rules regarding the use of animals in film and TV. But the point is, they didn't make an animal ill in order to film a segment. Rather, they found an animal that was already ill and provided free treatment in return for filming."
New Look, Same Place
Craig J O'Connor | Traverse City, MI United States | 04/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those who've followed the Herriot story from its humble beginnings are in for a surprise! Series 4 opens with a "new" Helen, two little Herriots, no Mrs. Hall and is set some time after WWII. With Series 3 closing on such a powerful emotional note, I had hoped we would follow the fortunes of the cast through the war years and their subsequent return. After such a long period with this group, it took some adjusting to the cast changes. It didn't help that the writers recycled some earlier themes from past programs, and my copy of episode 1 had an annoying scratchy soundtrack. It left me altogether just a little frustrated.But my disappointment was brief. This series is every bit as powerful as its predecessors. James and family are in the thick of life, dealing with everything from buying a home to attending school concerts to deciding whether to leave the practice. Siegfried is his usual brilliant self, Tristan loafs..ahem, works for the Ministry of Agriculture as an Artificial Inseminator (perfect!), and we are treated to a new vet in the practice, Callum. The bagpipe-playing, haggis-eating Scot soon wins the heart of Tristan's girlfriend while his menagerie of wild pets drives Siegfried to distraction. Even Granville weighs in with an hilarious episode resulting in the typical mess.Buy this series! Yes, it looks different, and yes, there are some reprised scenes from prior programs, but for my money you'd have to go a long way to equal the acting and quality of writing seen in this entire series. So call the dogs in, gather the kids round and settle down for a tasty treat from the Yorkshire Dales. You won't be disappointed."
Austerity in Post WW 2 All Creatures Great and Small
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 09/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have had the opportunity to review all of the previous "All Creatures Great and Small" series of DVD's and since this is the final group I felt obligated to acquire it despite critical reviews posted by VHS owners. Of course, we as fans love the charm of this series and I hoped for the best. But I must report that there is a strange loss of magic to this particular group. You get the feeling of characters just doing what is necessary and matching the "austerity" of the era that they are trying to convey. I think it is due to a more stern attitude and as one other writer had said "loss of innocence" on behalf of the "James Herriot" character coupled with the unfamiliar nature of the actress assigned to play his wife. The filming also seems a little cheaper, not as colorful and Robert Hardy does not shout about as much probably due to the successful employment of Tristan in the Agriculture industry. In positive light we have a few repeat characters, Biggins, Dr. Granville Bennett, etc. but the episodes definitely reflect the hard times that Britain went through right after the war. We would like the characters to go on eternally, like 'Star Trek' became to Science Fiction fans but in my gut feeling I think we would have been better off if they had ended it with Carol Drinkwater and the Christmas Specials that still complied with Herriot's original book. I still strongly recommend the Reader's Digest 1983 book published in company with St. Martin's press, "The Best of James Herriot: The Favorite Stories of One of the Most Beloved Writers of Our Time" This delves into what you see on screen and says a LOT about gadgets and lifestyles that you see on the Dales. Complete with illustrations and photos. Series 4 recommended for the dedicated among us."
Where's Carol Drinkwater?
Craig J O'Connor | 09/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These videos are good, but I can't help but feel that I'm getting a bit less for my money. Now there's only 5 videos instead of 6, (as had the previous 3 series) and only 2 episodes per video, instead of 3, as some had. And I really miss Carol Drinkwater. The new Helen (Lynda Bellingham) is good enough, once you get used to her, but I can't help but feel like James Herriot is somehow cheating on his original wife. The new Helen is a bit frumpy for my taste. But all in all, it's still All Creatures and great fun to watch."