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Filming starts on All Creatures Great and Small latest series

With war pending on film and snow forecast in reality, the fourth TV series based on North Yorkshire vet James Herriot’s renowned All Creatures Great and Small stories has started filming in the Dales. The world famous books written by Thirsk author, the late Alf Wight, have been brought to life through the Channel 5 productions. Three series have already been broadcast and another is due to be released in September.

Actor Sam West who plays Herriot’s grumpy boss Siegfried Farnon gave the game away on Twitter with a clapboard of the first scene of the fourth season. Film crews move into the Yorkshire Dales in early spring using the glorious scenery as a backdrop as well as many buildings in Grassington as Herriot’s fictional town of Darrowby. An old rope making mill in Summerbridge near Pateley Bridge has been converted into the main centre for interior scenes for the vet practice and home Skeldale House.

Series three ended with the start of the Second World War, and Siegfried’s young brother, Tristan, going off to join the Army. James, actor Nicholas Ralph who has just married Helen, Rachel Shenton, is facing the possibility of going to war. Producers are staying tight lipped over what happens in series four but the shadows of war and the effects on rural life will feature largely, while including the timeless animal stories which were a major factor in the original books. Sam West thanked fans for their support tweeting: “Four Years, four boards. Thank you for making it possible #All Creatures Great and Small. And Rachel Shenton posted “Here we go #season4”.

Producers face a major headache with the weather, filming between March and July, which means they will have to contend with potential snow, freezing temperatures and bare trees while they are creating the summer of 1940. Then when they are filming for the Christmas special as with last year they had boiling temperatures in the summer heatwave while trying to recreate winter and Christmas 1939.

Executive producer Melissa Gaunt says they take it all in their stride and the cast and crew love returning to the Dales for filming. She says Alf Wight’s All Creatures Great and Small books have become timeless classics which continue to be read by generations of readers. Never out of print since they were written in the 1970s, they have become a clultural phenomenon with devoted fans around the world. She added: “There is so much in Herriot’s books that we haven’t yet explored, brilliant, hilarious, touching, Herriot animal stories that we are looking forward to bringing to the screen in series four.”


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