All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special: Fans react to episode ‘taking us back to magical times’

Christmas arrived in Darrowby and the festive season brought happy beginnings for James and Helen but one character was noticeably not there.

All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special landed on television screens last night (Dec 21) and fans could not get enough of the episode taking viewers back to “magical times and old-fashioned Christmas” celebrations.

Samuel West, Nicholas Ralph, and Rachel Shenton all returned for the festive episode of the popular Channel 5 show – adapted from the best-selling author James Herriot's collection of stories.

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Ralph reprised his role as the country vet James Herriot, now away training with the RAF and expecting a baby with the heavily pregnant Helen (Shenton), while West returned as the unpredictable and inconsistent Siegfried.

The series is set in rural Yorkshire.The series is set in rural Yorkshire.
The series is set in rural Yorkshire.

Things were difficult for James this holiday season as he couldn’t make it back to Helen until he repaired the squadron’s mascot – a kestrel with a broken wing – something his Commissioned Officer wouldn’t budge on.

As Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) didn’t return for the 2023 special, Siegfried’s annoyance was replaced by Carmody (James Anthony-Rose), who provided comic relief during a moment Siegfried was bitten on the bum by a dog.

Fans generally loved the Christmas special with many complimenting the actors, crew and the whole team that brought it together with comments on X (formerly Twitter):

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@BetsyAmbassador complimented the nod to the RAF during the war saying: “What a beautiful Christmas special, taking us back to magical times & old fashioned celebration! Thank you for the powerful reminder of huge @RoyalAirForce service during WWII Congratulations to all.”

Helen Herriot (Rachel Shenton) and James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) have a trying time at Christmas.Helen Herriot (Rachel Shenton) and James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) have a trying time at Christmas.
Helen Herriot (Rachel Shenton) and James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) have a trying time at Christmas.

@NomadicWriter said: “Merry Christmas to entire cast and crew. Thanks for a fab special episode tonight. Next autumn feels so far away before we’re back at Skeldale House again. Cannot come soon enough.”

@ChristineArmit commented: “Oh my! That was a real treat! Humour, kindness and community amongst the sadness of loved ones being apart…. Well done to every single person involved in the making of this programme. Happy Christmas one and all!”

@TraceyChris1309 said: “What a wonderful episode, absolutely beautiful. Well done to the brilliant cast and crew.”

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@seutendeern said: “This was absolutely bl**dy perfect. I had tears in my eyes. What a wonderful Christmas Special.”

While @JelleyGwen said: “Amazing! Fantastic! Just how TV should be! Great acting, really brings the spirit of Christmas home! No, doom, gloom or violence. Just what we all need.”

@anne39838450 commendted: “I loved every nano second, it was the most wonderful episode, thoroughly enjoyable, but very thought provoking thinking of the one's that never came back to see their loved one's.”

However, there was one criticism as @leighbooker questioned the “message” sayind: “Loved the episode but totally the wrong message at the end, have a baby and give your cat away. Pets are family too.”

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