All Creatures Great & Small (2020)
We’ve been watching this new adaptation of James Herriot’s books on PBS on Sunday nights, season two. I have always wondered why we needed a new version when the original BBC series was perfectly fine. The difference, I expect is that the original people, that the characters were modeled on, are all now dead and gone, hence no one can take offence anymore.
The author of the original series of books wrote them under a pen name. His real name was James Alfred (“Alf”) Wight, a veterinarian based in Thirsk, Yorkshire.
Here’s a preview of this latest series:
The year depicted is supposed to be 1937. In reality Alf became partners with Donald Sinclair in July, 1940, when Donald wanted to join the RAF. (He pretended to be younger than he really was, so he didn’t make the cut; they discharged him when the authorities realized that his work as a vet was more valuable to the country than anything else he could provide for the war effort.)
Wight enlisted in the RAF in November 1942. He did well in his training, and was one of the first in his flight to fly solo. After undergoing surgery on an anal fistula in July 1943, he was deemed unfit to fly combat aircraft and was discharged as a leading aircraftman the following November. He joined his wife at her parents’ house, where she had lived since he left Thirsk. They lived there until the summer of 1945, when they moved back to 23 Kirkgate after Sinclair and his wife moved to a house of their own.Wikipedia
So, in one paragraph, we get a lot of detail that we haven’t seen in the updated version of the show: both James Herriot and Sigfried Farnon had wives. But the disparity between the dates is explained by this series of words:
Based on the year when he started work in Thirsk, the stories in the first two books would have taken place early during the Second World War. Wight preferred to have them take place in a quieter era so he set them in pre-war years.Ibid
If you have not read any of James Herriot’s books, may I suggest that you do so, if at all possible?
The Lord God made them all…All Things Bright and Beautiful