TV Review – ‘Merry Bloody Christmas’ (All Creatures Great and Small) (2020-22)


Hello everyone! 🙂

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

It’s time to talk about the third Christmas Special from the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ TV series that was shown on Channel 5 on the 23rd of December 2022. I greatly enjoyed watching this Christmas Special and I was very surprised by how the special turned out in terms of the story it told.

The special called ‘Merry Bloody Christmas’ – Okay, do they have to include a swear word in the title of the Christmas Special? I know they did it in the special itself, but it’s not needed in the title as well – actually focuses on Tristan’s character as opposed to James and Helen, which was rather intriguing.

It’s also not what I was expecting, as I thought the special was going to focus on perhaps James being called up to fight in the Second World War, as that was the impression I got from the sombre ending of Series 3. I know Tristan signed up as well, but I assumed it’d be about both him and James.

There is a touch of James being concerned about not being able to fight in the war yet, but it’s mostly on Tristan as opposed to James. There’s not a lot of focus on James and Helen either, despite some nice moments they have together, including when they’re woken up on Christmas morning itself.

Not that I mind that, as it was nice to see Tristan being the centre of attention in a Christmas Special. It’s also interesting to see how far Tristan has progressed as a character by this point in the series. Callum Woodhouse has played to the character’s strengths well when watching him in the TV series.

It’s also nice to see how far Tristan’s relationship with Siegfried has developed in the series. Samuel West plays the character well, especially when he’s trying to hold back Tristan from answering the call-up to the war, as he doesn’t want to lose his little brother and it’s intriguing how that’s explored.

The special also seems to indicate that Tristan is leaving the series for a bit, especially when he caught the train at the end. I hope this isn’t the last time we’ll see Tristan. Maybe he’ll be absent for Series 4 and he’ll come back in the next Christmas Special. That’s the theory I’m working on for now.

It’s like when Peter Davison as Tristan in the original BBC ‘All Creatures’ series was absent during Series 5 and 6 before he returned in Series 7. I hope Tristan won’t be replaced by another actor like Carol Drinkwater was replaced by Lynda Bellingham as Helen, since I didn’t like how that happened.

Also, I hate to say this, but Tristan is a better written character in the Channel 5 series compared to the BBC series. I mean, Peter Davison’s Tristan was often the fool in the BBC ‘All Creatures’ series and we didn’t get to see enough of him growing up as a character and he often fell into mischievous pranks.

Here, I feel that Tristan is standing up to his brother more, especially when he phones the attending vet at the local Darrowby racecourse to inform him that the horse that Siegfried attended to in Series 3 isn’t well enough for an upcoming race, against his brother’s judgment. It’s quite revealing.

The rest of the cast are good as well, including Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot and Rachel Shenton as Helen Herriot. I liked the story Anna Madeley as Mrs. Hall had with Will Thorp as Gerald Hammond, since they ended up kissing each other when he came over to Skeldale House for a party.

It was nice to see Patricia Hodge as Mrs. Pumphrey as well as her dog Tricki-Woo. Tony Pitts as Richard Alderson, Helen’s dad, also appears in the special as well as Imogen Clawson as Jenny Alderson. It was hilarious to see Helen’s dad dressed up as the green Father Christmas in the special.

The special also introduces us to Ella Bernstein as Eva Feldman, an evacuee who comes to spend Christmas with the family at Skeldale House. It was nice to see Eva sharing her Jewish upbringing in celebrating Hanukkah as well as showing an interest in the Christmas celebrations at Skeldale House.

There’s also Michael Maloney as Albert Sebright Saunders, who was in the third episodes of Series 3 of new ‘All Creatures’. Mollie Winnard returns as Maggie. It was nice to see Tristan and Maggie getting on with each other in the special. And there’s Mark Noble as Henry Dinsdale in the special. 🙂

The 2022 Christmas Special of the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ has been very pleasant and enjoyable to watch. I’m very pleased this special didn’t end up on a sombre note compared to how Series 3 ended. I’m glad it ended on a cheery note, despite seeing Tristan leaving the series for a bit.

The more I watch the new ‘All Creatures’ series, the more I find how better it gets. I’m intrigued as to how things will continue in Series 4. Maybe James will be called up in the war in that. Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing ‘All Creatures’ again when it makes its return soon in 2023. 🙂

By the way, I liked ‘The Wizard of Oz’ references in the special.

And I’ve just purchased the Series 3 music soundtrack of the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series on Amazon Prime Music. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂

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