Could one of the biggest shows on UK television during its prime that isn’t named Upstairs Downstairs find its’ way to American television in the not-too-distant future? The next brilliant British series with a target on its back for a possible re-boot, All Creatures Great and Small is based on the books of the British veterinary surgeon, Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. Surprisingly, it’s HBO, the cable network known more for The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and True Detective that is looking at a possible revival.
Set in the fictional Yorkshire village of Darrowby, the series starred Christopher Timothy as Herriot and Lynda Bellingham as Herriot’s wife Helen and future ‘Doctor’, Peter Davison, as Tristan. The role of Helen was originally played by Timothy’s real-life partner Carol Drinkwater for the first three series with Bellingham taking over for series 4-7.
The first three series followed Herriot’s books very closely beginning with his arrival in Darrowby in 1937 and ending at the stage where the characters were drawn into the Second World War. After roughly an 8-year hiatus, the series was revived for another four seasons taking place from 1949 through the early 50’s and focused more on the character interaction as all of Herriot’s story lines had been exhausted earlier.
I’m really having a hard time picturing this one. Fortunately, the Guardian summed a possible ‘pitch’ scenario up pretty well. Think, Downton Abbey with pigs or Poldark with shorter hair. Stranger things have happened and most of them revolve around American re-makes of brilliant British fare.