All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2's happy ending
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All Creatures Great and Small returned to Channel 5 with its second season earlier this year. The uplifting family drama is one of the network’s best-loved shows and its sky-high ratings have been mirrored over in the US. One of the fan-favourite characters is Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton), but there were some initial doubts.
All Creatures Great and Small has brought joy to many families during a difficult and unprecedented time.
The series, based on the books by Yorkshire vet Alf Wight, has provided the perfect sense of escapism.
Alf Wight used the pen name James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph in the series) to recall his personal anecdotes.
In the Channel 5 adaptation, James falls in love with farmer’s daughter Helen Alderson.
The finale of season two saw the pair finally get engaged after a long and turbulent courtship.
Jim Wight, the son of Alf, wrote a book titled The Real James Herriot, all about his father who was one of the world’s most famous vets.
He has since penned the foreword for The World of All Creatures Great and Small, a new book featuring interviews with the cast.
He opened up about his thoughts on the series and admitted he had a different first impression of actress Shenton to begin with.
Jim said: “Rachel Shenton is extremely good as Helen. When I first met her, I thought that despite her very appealing nature and appearance, she would never pass as a farmer’s daughter.
“Rachel has proved me wrong.”
Sharing his thoughts on the rest of the cast and the series itself, he added: “As I watch the TV series on Channel 5, many memories come flooding back.
“The small family farms, most of which have now disappeared, and the hard-working farmers labouring all the hours that God sent.
“The vets visiting so many farms at all hours of the day and night.
“The Yorkshire farmers are well represented on the TV screen, both in their appearance and the way they act their parts.
“These memories are all enriched by the superb acting. Nicholas Ralph plays a splendid part as James Herriot.
“A difficult task, as my father always considered himself a ‘grey figure’ among all the wonderful characters.
“Like Chris Timothy in the BBC series, he achieves just the right level of authority – centre stage but not dominant.”
Fans have fallen in love with the latest portrayals of James and Helen, and they cannot wait to see more now the couple are engaged.
Shenton contributed to the new book and she opened up about how she wanted Helen to be perceived.
The actress said: “‘Men moan, babies cry, women cope’. That’s what my grandma used to say.
“She was from Stoke-on-Trent, in the Midlands, but it’s a phrase that resonates with Yorkshire women like Helen.
“A quiet strength mixed with a strong moral compass.”
Helen Alderson was based on Alf Wight’s real wife, Joan Catherine Anderson Danbury.
She was known for causing a stir in Thirsk by being the first woman there to wear trousers.
She was Alf’s biggest fan and supported him in everything he did, whether it be his veterinary work or his writing.
All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on My5.
The series will also air on Acorn TV from November 22 and will be available on DVD from November 29.
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