Much-loved James Herriot drama All Creatures Great and Small to return for new TV series

Yorkshire Dales veterinary drama All Creatures Great and Small is coming back to our screens.

Alf Wight's old surgery in Thirsk is now a James Herriot museum
Alf Wight's old surgery in Thirsk is now a James Herriot museum

The original adaptation of the James Herriot books, written by Thirsk vet Alf Wight, ran from 1978 until 1990 and was shown on the BBC.

Channel 5 have commissioned a new series and a Christmas special, which will be filmed on location in Yorkshire.

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James Herriot was the pen name used by Wight, who worked as a country vet in the Dales in the 1930s before turning to writing. The first book was published in 1970.

Ninety episodes of the BBC series were released, with Christopher Timothy in the lead role. Alf Wight and his wife Joan became good friends with the cast during filming.

Most of the filming of the BBC series took place in Askrigg, which was the fictional village of Darrowby. Addlebrough Fell also appears. Many of the farms that were shot for the series were ones that Wight used to visit as part of his rounds.

The cast stayed at local pubs and hotels including the West Witton in Wensleydale, the Punchbowl Inn near Reeth, and the Heifer Hotel in Wensleydale.

Details of the cast and filming locations for the new series have not been confirmed, but the project is supported by Alf Wight's son Jim and daughter Rosie. Screen Yorkshire are involved and will help to source locations.

Sebastian Cardwell, digital channel controller at Channel 5, said:

"James Herriot has a special place in the heart of the public and the commission of this iconic drama series, against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, is set to bring joy to a new army of TV viewers.

"The original books affectionately captured a unique slice of British life; in challenging times, we hope the charming and heart-warming stories of community and compassion will resonate with new audiences."

The adaptation will be made by production company Playground, who worked on Howard's End and Wolf Hall.

Colin Callender, executive producer and chief executive of Playground, said:

"Revisiting James Herriot's beloved stories is an immense privilege and we are honoured that Alf Wight's family have entrusted us with his legacy.

"It is a responsibility we take very seriously. At a time when the country feels more divided than ever, Herriot's glorious books remind us how to connect and belong again.

"The series will embrace the fun and the nostalgia of revisiting the England of the past, while celebrating Herriot's values that, despite all our current upheaval, still underpin British life today."