Cast members for the upcoming television adaption of All Creatures Great and Small has been announced today.
Newcomer Nicholas Ralph will make his small screen debut as the vet win the new version of best-selling author James Herriot’s cherished collection of stories, which is being filmed on location in Yorkshire this autumn.
Samuel West (Mr Selfridge, On Chesil Beach) joins the production as Siegfried Farnon, the eccentric veterinary surgeon and proprietor of Skeldale House who, reluctantly hires the recently qualified vet into his rural practice.
Mrs Hall, the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House will be played by Anna Madeley (The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose).
Siegfried’s errant and charismatic younger brother, Tristan, will be played by Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells).
Rachel Shenton (Switched at Birth, White Gold), takes the role of Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter who helps her father manage the family farm and care for her younger sister.
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Ben Vanstone (The Last Kingdom) and Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) are the adaption's writer and director.
Mr Percival said: “Growing up I, like many others, adored this show.
“It was very much a part of Sunday evenings at home.
"So I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to revisit such a much loved story.
"I am so excited to have such a fantastic cast and crew filming in such a beautiful area of the UK. Sam, Anna, Callum, Rachel and Nicholas will have a whole new audience falling in love with James Herriot’s world.”
Executive producer Colin Callender said: “This is an exceptional cast made up of a wonderful mix of exciting new and established talent.
“Re-visiting the world of All Creatures Great and Small is like going home and re-discovering old friends whom we haven’t seen in years. We’re thrilled to be bringing James Herriot’s beloved characters back to life with Sam, Anna, Callum, Rachel and Nicholas.”
An initial series of six episodes plus a Christmas special will be released, and the production will also receive funding and support from Leeds-based Screen Yorkshire.
The casting announcement was made by Channel 5, BAFTA, production company Playground and America's PBS channel MASTERPIECE.
MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton said: “This is exactly the right ensemble cast to deliver the warmth, wit and charm of All Creatures Great and Small."
Since their first publication in 1970, the beloved books of James Alfred Wight - published under the pen name James Herriot - have held a special place in people’s hearts throughout the world.
Chronicling the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet, the books introduced readers to his unconventional mentor and the cast of farmers and townsfolk who lived and worked in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.
This new adaptation will "preserve the rich spirit, tone and values of Herriot’s iconic characters and stories and will bring to life his sharply observed, entertaining and incredibly funny tales of country life in the North of England for a modern audience, introducing a new generation to his life affirming stories," said the broadcasters.
Never out of print, the books have sold 60 million copies internationally.