First look at All Creatures Great and Small Series 2 - back on our TV screens soon

Helen and James get closer as Channel 5 release the first official on-set photographs from the upcoming second series of All Creatures Great and Small. Stephanie Smith reports.

Helen joins the vets and Mrs Hall on the steps of Skeldale House.
Helen joins the vets and Mrs Hall on the steps of Skeldale House.

All Creatures Great and Small will be back soon on our TV screens and, according to new on-set photographs released today, it looks as if James Herriot’s sweetheart Helen Alderson will be spending more time at Skeldale House.

One of the images released by Channel 5 and production company Playground shows young farmer Helen, played by Rachel Shenton, standing on the steps of the Darrowby vets surgery alongside its residents James (Nicholas Ralph), his unconventional mentor Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), matriarch of Skeldale House Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) and Siegfried’s errant brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse).

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The producers say that, as Series Two opens, three months have passed since the events of Series One. A trip back home to Glasgow presents James with a dilemma that will mean choosing between the people he loves. As Helen and James navigate their feelings for one another, Siegfried, Tristan, and Mrs Hall are also forced to consider their places in the world, while James must ultimately decide between duty and love.

Patricia Hodge joins as Mrs Pumphrey.

There is also a first image of a very smartly dressed Patricia Hodge who joins the cast as Mrs Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo, taking over the role from Yorkshire-born actress Diana Rigg, who sadly died last year.

The producers add that viewers can also expect to see a characterful ensemble of farmers, animals and townsfolk living in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. Grassington has once again been used as the town of Darrowby.

Herriot’s iconic characters and life affirming stories led to a critically acclaimed debut on Channel 5 in 2020, with the first series consolidating at 4.7M viewers, with an additional 1M tuning in for the Sunday repeat, at the time making it the channel’s highest rating launch for a drama commission ever.

Series Two of All Creatures Great and Small will consist of a further six episodes, plus a Christmas Special. MASTERPIECE on PBS in the US will co-produce and All3Media International is the international partner. The production has also received funding and support from Screen Yorkshire.

There appears to be tension brewing between Helen and James.

Ben Vanstone (The Last Kingdom) is the lead writer and executive producer, Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) has returned as lead director and executive producer, James Dean (Liar) is the Producer on the series. Sasha Ransome (Two Doors Down) has directed episodes three and four, whilst Andy Hay (The Last Kingdom) returned as director for episodes five and six, alongside the Christmas Special.

The TV series is based on the books by Thirsk vet Alf Wight, which have never been out of print, with devoted fans around the world. Series Two wrapped filming on location in Yorkshire earlier this Summer.