All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special 2023: Cast speak out on changing cast
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Series four has seen Anna Madeley’s character, Mrs Hall, decide not to pursue her relationship with her beau Gerald any further - a decision not taken lightly but one made so that she can stay at Skeldale House to support Siegfried and James Herriot’s pregnant wife, Helen.
“I think she is going to miss Gerald a lot, but he is not the only person she is missing at Christmas,” said Anna. “She is really aware of looking after Helen with James away and I think she misses Tris enormously. She has a good houseful there, and it’s lovely having Carmody there as another young man in the house. Her raison d’etre is to bring everyone together and feed them.”
Samuel West, who plays Siegfried, said: “I think it’s interesting, because Tristan is away at war in this series, that this is the first series there has been where nobody in the house is actually related. It’s quite a modern family vibe - we are this weird, disparate group of people that get on.”
He added that the presence of new character, trainee vet Richard Carmody, has helped fill the void, and paid tribute to the actor newcomer James Anthony-Rose. “He is a bit bookbound but I also see myself in him a bit and he makes me laugh – his Latin jokes are better than mine, which is slightly annoying,” said Sam, referring to how Siegfried is feeling.
“Tristan’s away, I miss him terribly. He’s not a substitute, he’s his own thing. I have been delighted with that relationship and Jamie’s is such a big performance, and also to come into an ensemble that is famously quite happy and working well, and to hit the ground running as he did, I think is quite amazing.
Nicholas Ralph, who plays James Herriot, said: “We all miss Tristan. For James, Tristan is normally his best mate, his brother in the surrogate home for the past few years.”
The actors were discussing absent friends and characters at a small press conference previewing the special. Samuel West jokingly observed that the absence of Tristan actor Callum Woodhouse had changed some aspects of life on set.
“It’s quieter, isn’t it? Peaceful,” he said. Rachel Shenton, who plays Helen, said: “I get more cuddles from the animals because usually Cal’s hogging that, so every cloud.” Samuel added: “There’s more cake available.”
From BAFTA -winning production company Playground, the Christmas episode sees James at an RAF training base. An emotional phone call with a very pregnant Helen makes him determined to get back. Mrs Hall prepares a Christmas celebration, while Siegfried and Carmody argue over who will be Father Christmas.
There is no news yet regarding a series five but the cast members seemed positive, commenting that there were many more James Herriot tales still to be told.
The Christmas 2023 episode will be broadcast on Thursday, December 21 at 9pm in the UK on Channel 5 and My5. Series four will air in the US in early 2024, beginning on Sunday, January 7. The full series is available for catch up on My5.