Charming, delightful family entertainment. DVD contents spoilers
from Northumberland, England
, 26 Jul 2011
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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LF page gives actors as 'John McGlynn, Andrea Gibb, Pamela Salem, Rebecca Smith' but they are Christopher Timothy (James), Robert Hardy (Siegfried), Peter Davison (Tristan), Carol Drinkwater (Helen), Mary Hignett (Mrs Hall). This is charming and delightful family entertainment (and a cracking titles tune). The show, which began 8th Jan. 1978, is set in the 1930s into 1940s and depicts with a mixture of seriousness and good humour the lives of three country vets, set amidst the beautiful Yorkshire Dales with characteristic hills, dales, stone buildings and stone walls. Series 1-3 are set just before World War II. Series 1 sticks quite faithfully to James Herriot's books with little of the padding by the tv writers, stretching out of events from the books or outright fiction which often occur in later Series. The successful ingredients are mainly: (1) The often abrasive (and fun to watch) relationship between the two Farnon brothers whose attitudes both to work and to life are very different with James often caught in the middle. (2) The ups and downs of the various animal patients and their various owners rich or poor; appearing several times are wealthy eccentric Mrs Pumphrey and her sourfaced long-suffering servant Hodgkin.
DVD contents Series 1 Vol 1 (3 discs) Episodes 1-6 *contains spoilers* Each episode is 50 mins. including titles and credits.
1. HORSE SENSE: James Herriot, newly-qualified vet, arrives at Skeldale House in Darrowby for a job interview. Siegfried Farnon takes him on his rounds to gauge his mettle before offering him the job. James starts to meet the clients, some of whom have colourful characters, and the equally colourful patients. One of James' first jobs on his own is to examine Lord Hulton's valuable horse, when he and the horse manager clash.
2: DOG DAYS: James starts to go on rounds by himself. Siegfried's brother Tristan returns from veterinary college after exams. James meets the wealthy Mrs Pumphrey for the first time, and her pampered pet dog, Tricki Woo. Tristan plays a practical joke on James. Tristan panics when he loses the receipt book, guaranteeing the wrath of clients who will get billed twice.
3: IT TAKES ALL KINDS: Siegfried, who is terrible at paperwork, employs a secretary. But Mrs Harbottle is not what he expected. James meets Helen Alderson for the first time and is much taken with her.
4. CALF LOVE: Mr Dent's pig causes problems. Siegfried decides to keep Tristan on the straight and narrow by buying some piglets for him to look after. Mrs Pumphrey wants James to give her newest pet, a piglet, a medical check-up. James learns he has a rival for Helen's affections. James joins Helen's music society hoping for the chance to ask her out.
5. OUT OF PRACTICE: The practice is going well, unlike James' love life. Tristan takes a hand and arranges a double blind date, with disastrous results.
6: NOTHING LIKE EXPERIENCE: James manages to arrange a date with Helen. Tristan unwittingly finds a way of ridding the practice of a difficult client.
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