1983 SPECIAL: James returns to Darrowby following his wartime service in the R.A.F. Though little has changed in the Dales in the intervening six years, James finds it difficult to adjust to the peacetime routine and to fr... more »iends and family who seem like strangers. 1985 SPECIAL: Siegfried waxes lyrical about the accelerating rate of scientific progress as James proceeds to plod along with tried and trusted remedies. For how long can the practice and the surrounding countryside resist the oncoming tide of progress?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.
Real Life Comedy Specials
John D. Dooley | Southern California United States | 02/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, we collected all the DVD box sets for the first 3 seasons of "All Creatures Great & Small"& enjoyed them during many sittings. I wrote reviews for each set, cut & pasting the same main frame with sprinkles of information that made each season different. For this review on the 1983 & 1985 Specials, I will start afresh. I notice that most people rate the 3 box sets & this collection of Specials with a '5'. I normally save a '5' for a life changing experience, '4' for great entrainment, '3' for average, '2' for a good idea but flawed, & '1' for trash. Therefore I always gave the box sets a '4', though to learn a little veterinarian science could be a life changing experience. I am rating this DVD with a '4', but the 1983 & 1985 Specials are not up to par with the box sets. Maybe a '3-1/2' would have been better, but then again "All Creatures Great & Small" is never 'Average'.
The first box set (January 1978) started out rather slow because it took a while for the characters to blossom, or maybe it took us, an American viewer with his Russian wife, to get use to the British sound of our shared language, the typical British dry comedy mode, or the cultural framework. By the second box set (September 1978) the characters are in full swing & the series just flows with fantastic family entrainment. The third box set (January 1979) continues this mode but with more of a social consciousness due to the up coming World War Two. This last box set ends with James Herriot (played by Christopher Timothy) leaving his beloved small town Darrowby to join the R.A.F. to protect England from the Axis.
The 1983 Special shows James returning to the dales, entering an area unaffected by the war except for the men that left. Get ready for a surprise; following the books by Alf Wight, James has a son Jimmy (played by Oliver Wilson), whom he picks up with his wife Helen (played by Carol Drinkwater) to return to the practice. Siegfried Farnon (played by Robert Hardy), the main veterinarian & business partner, & Siegfried's brother Tristan Farnon (played by Peter Davison) is there to greet James with his growing family. Later Siegfried's old girlfriend returns to marry & Tristan gets a government veterinarian job. They all try out a new housekeeper that cooks worst than Tristan. Mrs. Pumphrey (played by Margaretta Scott) returns with her over stuffed dog Ticki Woo, whom she is trying to breed. All of these minor plots follow the main focus on James's readjustment to peacetime.
What is strange about this Special is that the actors seem to have lost that growing bond that made the series so wonderful. Also the music seems off & the production is more static: showing quick scenes that don't quite fit. By the middle of the Special, the actors & production come into focus & the joy of the series returns.
The 1985 Special shows another surprise, James & Helen now have a daughter Rosie (played by Rebecca Smith). Siegfried with a moustache has moved to a larger house because of his marriage & has given James' family the house beside the practice. Tristan returns to date a past girlfriend who has a father that is against drinking. James picks up a stray dog & makes it the family pet only to find the dog has an incurable disease. Tristan makes fun of the old practices while Siegfried gets some newer drug samples that he wants to try out. The funniest highlight is the clip after the ending.
One problem with the 1985 Special, there was a minor character, an Asian (maybe lower eastern Siberian?) Russian P.O.W taking care of an Owl, who befriended James. Wait...I thought the Russians were part of the Allies, helping the British against the Nazis? How could there be a Russian P.O.W. camp in Great Britian? Also my wife is Russian & the actor was horrible at his accent. This just puzzled me to no end."
This All Creatures Great and Small Special really is
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pa United States | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reason that this DVD of the "Specials" has been teamed with Series 3 is that it picks up exactly where Series 3 leaves off with James Herriot going off to war in a car. The Special has him returning the same way and resuming the practice that he left before the war. The cast is virtually the same save for the housemaid, who is shown to have passed away in a slightly touching scene. This 2 special DVD shows Siegfried with a moustache and slightly older and Tristan as a now successful government employee in a town nearby. We are updated unexpectedly (unless you had read the novels) of James's family with a son and eventually a daughter. The pleasantness and wonderful country atmosphere remain as if we had never left and the specials conclude the series in a nice way. A sure pill for our times and relaxing to watch."
Worth The Wait
J. Williams | Nashville, TN USA | 09/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of the other episodes in this series, you will love this DVD.
The acting is superb, the storyline is very well-written and the animals are some of the cutest I've ever seen. This is one of the few series that I've seen where the cast fit perfectly together as if they had been together their entire lives. When you are watching, you are drawn into their different personalities.
This is a series with heartwarming stories and unexpected twists. Whether you are a longtime fan or a beginner, you will enjoy this DVD. Definitely worth watching."
Only two of the specials
Will | Virginia, USA | 12/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just a word of warning: this volume only contains two of the three ACG&S specials."
Anthony J. Borrelli | SUBURBAN PHILADELPHIA | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are fed up with this cold, uncaring and hectic world and don't use mind altering substances to escape reality, this is the best medicine. You either remember this show and loved it so much that you want to take advantage of the DVD phenomena or you don't! I love them all. They are back from the war. The dales have remained relatively unphased except for the unmentioned young men who might have gone and come back changed by the experience (or maybe not come back), but the series does not get into that much. The animals and their owners are busy just living. They are simple folk, they drink, they laugh, and the warmth and humor is what I need. Just knowing that Carol Drinkwater was in her swan song as Helen was a bit unsettling, but the addition of the kids is nice. If you have and love the first three series, you know you have to have this so just go for it. What else is there, the slop that is on modern TV?"