TV Review – ‘The Night Before Christmas’ (All Creatures Great and Small) (2020)


Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Amazing to think that it wasn’t that long ago since my parents and I saw Series 1 of 2020’s ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ on Channel 5 back in September to October. And we’ve got the Series 1 DVD already. I’m looking forward to revisiting Series 1 and I look forward to watching Series 2 next. 🙂

Last Tuesday, my parents and I saw the Christmas Special of 2020’s ‘All Creatures’. I greatly enjoyed it. It was nice to spend an hour and a half watching the Christmas Special and it was lovely to see the new cast playing the ‘All Creatures’ characters again. The special itself also felt pretty festive indeed.

I know that sounds odd to say, but the Christmas Specials in the original 1977-1990 series weren’t as festive as I would have liked. There was ‘Merry Gentlemen’ and perhaps to an extent ‘Brotherly Love’, but the 1983 and 1985 specials were not as festive compared with the 2020 Christmas Special.

That might have to do with the midnight Christmas Eve church service taking place; the Christmas party at Skeldale House; the children dressed up as nativity characters and Siegfried and Tristan dressed up as Father Christmas and Santa’s little helper. It was nice to see those Christmas elements.

It was also very funny to see Siegfried dressed up as Father Christmas and Tristan dressed up as an elf. I don’t believe that it ever happened in the original 1977-1990 series and I’m surprised the BBC didn’t consider that with their Christmas Specials. 😀 Siegfried’s Santa is greener than usual mind. 😀

The 2020 ‘All Creatures’ cast is back including Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot, Samuel West as Siegfried Farnon, Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson, Callum Woodhouse as Tristan Farnon and Anna Madeley as Mrs Hall. It was nice to see these characters back for this pretty special Christmas outing.

The special also has Matthew Lewis back as Hugh Hulton and Dave Hill guest starring as Bert Chapman. Dave Hill previously guest starred in the original series episode ‘The Best Time’, didn’t you know? 😀 A shame they didn’t have Diana Rigg as Mrs. Pumphrey. I would’ve liked to have seen her.

Anyway in the special, as the Skeldale Christmas party gets underway, James gets called out to an emergency as the Chapmans’ pregnant dog is having trouble giving birth. Helen, overwhelmed by the never-ending wedding talk, accompanies him to assist with delivering the pregnant dog’s pups. 🙂

So, it’s 2020’s ‘All Creatures’ version of ‘Call the Midwife’ here. 😀 Thankfully the delivery of the pups is successful, but James and Helen are stranded by fog overnight. And this is before the day of Helen’s wedding to Hugh Hulton on Christmas Day! Oh dear! That doesn’t sound so good, does it? 😐

Actually, the drama played out in James and Helen’s predicament is mostly well-done. It was interesting to see Helen’s reaction in how she handled the dilemma she had of whether to marry Hugh or not. She clearly wants to be with James when he goes out to deliver the dog’s pups. 🙂

James and Helen also form a close attachment when stranded in the Chapmans’ house. Now, that doesn’t mean to say Helen doesn’t get to the wedding on time. In fact, she does. But it’s intriguing that Helen decided not to go through with the wedding, since James found her alone at the church. 😐

This is something that’s different compared with the 1977-1990 series in how they handled James and Helen’s romance. I’m not sure which TV version is accurate in telling James and Helen’s love story – the 1977-1990 version or the 2020 version? Both are good, but I guess they took creative liberties.

I also liked how James, who was on his way back home to his parents in Scotland, decided to turn back at the crossroads to Skeldale. What he would’ve done regarding Helen’s wedding, I don’t know. I’m also not certain it’s clear enough as to why Helen decided not to go through the wedding here. 😐

Maybe it was to do with her feelings for James, maybe it was to do with her leaving her father and sister to attend to their farm. Either way, we never see that wedding scene where Helen said to Hugh that she can’t go through with it. Maybe it’s something to explore when it comes to seeing Series 2.

I also like how Siegfried handled his feelings for Dorothy, a friend of Mrs. Hall’s, as he seemed to struggle in confidence with being romantic again. It’s a side of him that’s interesting and we’ve rarely seen it in the series. I like how Tristan helps Maggie’s shy little brother with an ill donkey in the special. 🙂

Maggie is the barmaid at the Drover’s and is Tristan’s girlfriend in the series. 🙂 He even receives an early Christmas present from her that’s under the mistletoe. It was also very intriguing to hear Mrs. Hall’s backstory. She was expecting her son to return for Christmas in Darrowby, but sadly he never came.

It was nice how Siegfried comforted Mrs. Hall when she was in tears at the midnight church service on Christmas Eve. I also liked how the Skeldale family gathered together for Christmas Day at the special’s end. It was touching to see, especially when all were listening to the king’s speech at home.

So yeah! The Christmas Special of 2020’s ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ was very satisfying to see. I enjoyed watching it and it has got me into the festive spirit indeed. I’m currently looking forward to Series 2 of ‘All Creatures’ soon, whether it’ll be in 2021 or not. I’m glad that it’s currently happening.

I hope to pre-order the 2020 Christmas Special of ‘All Creatures’ on DVD very soon. 2020’s ‘All Creatures’ has certainly surpassed my expectations. I didn’t think I would enjoy 2020’s ‘All Creatures’ series as much as I’ve enjoyed the original ‘All Creatures’ series. I hope it will ‘live long and prosper’. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


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