‘A Grand Memory For Forgetting’ (TV)

  

‘A GRAND MEMORY FOR FORGETTING’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a decent ‘All Creatures’ episode. It’s not a great one. As you can tell by this stage, things are winding down concerning how ‘All Creatures’ is doing certain storylines and character development.

Again, Tristan’s not in this episode for Series 7. I believe time was given to Peter Davison to make Series 2 of ‘Campion’ in 1990 whilst appearing as Tristan in Series 7 of ‘All Creatures’ simultaneously.

‘A Grand Memory For Forgetting’ is by writer Roger Davenport. He’s contributed many episodes to the ‘All Creatures’ series. This was his penultimate episode to write in the series before ‘Hampered’.

This episode also happens to be the second one directed by Richard Martin. He previously directed ‘Food For Thought’. I can’t help think of his ‘Doctor Who’ connections as he directs ‘All Creatures’. 🙂

Just to make a comment about the titles sequence for this episode. As well as the usual Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy, Lynda Bellingham and Jean Heywood title cards, there is also shooting!

Yeah! There are people shooting up high on the hills during the titles sequence. I wondered if there was a form of grouse shooting going on in the episode, but its significance will become a little clearer.

Anyway the episode features a newcomer to the Darrowby area – Douglas Ditta as Jacob Pearson. He has a poor dog that’s had bullet wounds in him. Siegfried eventually comes across him via his car.

Mr. Pearson doesn’t seem willing to come to Skeldale though he was recommended to see vets like Siegfried Farnon by Mr. Hartley. Siegfried attends to Pearson’s dog and identifies the bullet wounds.

Pearson doesn’t seem a very open person nor necessarily friendly when Siegfried meets him. He’s polite enough and gradually Siegfried gets on with Pearson regarding the circumstances of his dog. 🙂

Siegfried does give some treatment to Pearson’s dog but tells him to be mindful of anyone shooting on his grounds. Sadly though, Pearson’s dog becomes badly injured and is taken to Skeldale surgery.

James and Mrs. Alton are shocked once they see Pearson’s dog with bloodied wounds. They do their best to treat him, but gradually the dog dies in surgery. That was very sad and devastating to watch.

But who exactly gave Pearson’s dog those horrible bullet wounds (or pellets as I understand). Well, that’s revealed gradually during the story and Siegfried finds out for himself from the son of a friend.

The episode features Paul Brooke as Captain Crawford, Siegfried’s old friend. Paul Brooke played Gríma Wormtongue in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series. I knew I recognised his name somewhere.

Anyway, Siegfried attends to one of Crawford’s horse when it’s sick whilst Crawford and his son Hugh are settling into their new home. Crawford used to fight in the wars and seems to be forgetful.

Crawford’s son, Neil Nisbet as Hugh, is a rather surly sort. He’s pretty rude to Siegfried when attending to the sick horse and gets impatient when he wants to go out riding and to shoot animals.

Hugh’s love for horse riding and shooting animals for sport may be his undoing. You see, it turns out that Hugh has been responsible for shooting Pearson’s poor dog. That might be unintentional I think.

Regardless, Siegfried works it out and confronts Hugh on the matter when he’s about to go riding on the horse that should be getting better. Hugh, terrified of being discovered, rides away on the horse.

It was tense when Siegfried chased after Hugh on horseback by going horseback himself, taking Crawford’s horse in the process. Siegfried manages to catch up with Hugh, and Hugh is broken down.

Hugh is tearful and sorrowful as he reveals his backstory to Siegfried regarding his mother and such. It explains why he behaves like he does with wanting to do horse riding and shoot animals for sport.

Siegfried doesn’t turn Hugh in or inform Pearson about who shot his dog, but is very disappointed in Hugh’s conduct. Interesting to see how Siegfried takes the moral high ground in this terrible matter.

Crawford is equally apologetic for his son’s actions. So apologetic that he gives away one of his new litter puppies to Pearson as a way of compensation. He didn’t tell Pearson his son shot his dog mind.

I liked it when Siegfried met up with Pearson who showed him the puppy Crawford gave to him. Siegfried is curious about what went on between Pearson and Crawford during that specific meeting.

In another subplot, James attends to the dog of John Gill as Arnie Braithwaite who may have diabetes. There’s not much to say about this subplot as the dog does get better later on in the story.

Arnie Braithwaite also seems to be a pleasant sort when James interacts with him. I like he happens to be one of the community members of Darrowby that gets on really well with James and Siegfried.

There is a strange scene where Captain Crawford gives Arnie Braithwaite money when at Skeldale seeing Siegfried. It’s the first time James meets Crawford too. Arnie doesn’t want Crawford’s money.

I’m not sure if that’s when Crawford has some memory trouble especially as he was dithering somewhat there. Siegfried reassures Arnie that he’ll sort things out with that money Crawford gave.

The episode also features Peter Martin as Mr. Hartley. Now as I’ve mentioned in other reviews, Peter Martin used to play Farmer Handshaw in the show’s first seasons. Yet he’s not Handshaw here.

He’s Mr. Hartley who’s clearly a different character compared to Handshaw. Hartley’s friendlier than Handshaw, especially when Siegfried is interacting with him and attending to his animals at his farm.

I know this sounds very nitpicky, but how come Peter Martin’s playing a different character in the reboot era where he could’ve easily played the same one in the original era. It’s pretty peculiar that.

Mrs. Pumphrey’s been played by the same actress as well as Mr. Biggins, so why not Handshaw? Did the viewers forget Handshaw from the first three seasons as well as what Helen Herriot looked like?

Incidentally, this is Peter Martin’s final appearance in ‘All Creatures’ as well as Mr. Hartley’s. Overall, Peter Martin did 10 episodes of ‘All Creatures’. He did 5 as Farmer Handshaw and 5 as Mr. Hartley. 🙂

When Siegfried attends to one of Hartley’s animals, Hartley mocks him for being forgetful, reminding him on the incident where he forget his car keys with Hardwickes. This Siegfried categorically denies.

I do recall the Hardwickes incident with Siegfried losing his car keys as that was in the Series 4 episode ‘For Richer, For Poorer’. That episode was written by Johnny Byrne, not by Roger Davenport.

Okay, Johnny Byrne was still working on ‘All Creatures’ in its reboot era during Series 7 in a story consultant capacity. But it’s so intriguing Roger Davenport wrote the episode and not Johnny Byrne.

Roger Davenport didn’t arrive as a writer on ‘All Creatures’ until Series 6. Anyway, in that Hardwickes story from the Series 4 episode, Siegfried had that whole family take him back home in their vehicle.

I’m reminding you of what happened there because…in this episode…Siegfried pays a call on the Hardwickes again. And once again, he is unable to get back home because he’s lost his car keys here.

Now this does sound like a recycle of a plot featured in a Series 4 episode now in a Series 7 episode. And it does. But the comedy comes in when the Hardwickes come across Mr. Hartley on the road. 😀

Siegfried tries to hide himself from Hartley to avoid being embarrassed or caught out. But it’s not good as Hartley sees him. It’s really amusing how Siegfried forgot his car keys again with Hardwickes.

The episode features Ralph Bowland as Arthur Hardwicke and Carl Rae as Ben Hardwicke. And yes, I checked. Both the actors played the same characters in two episodes they were in of ‘All Creatures’.

Once again, I don’t believe the other members of the Hardwicke family get credited in the episode. I think the quality of their large vehicle has improved since the last time we saw them. I’m not certain.

And the episode also features Ken Wynne as Dennis Pratt. Dennis is a farmer who is seriously behind in paying his bills to the Skeldale vets. The vets keep on trying to get Dennis and pay his bills to them.

Now here’s where I think the vets need to buck their ideas. If the farmers who don’t pay their bills ask them to come out and attend to their animals, the vets shouldn’t go and attend to their animals!

The vets need to teach farmers like Biggins, Grimsdale and Dennis Pratt a lesson that if they want their animals seen to, they have to pay their bills. It sounds cruel on my part, but it’s the only way. 😀

I got frustrated when Dennis wiggled his way out paying his bills to James and Siegfried. I shouted at Siegfried not to attend to his animal after he’s asked Dennis to pay his bill. Yet Siegfried attends to it!

And Dennis has still not paid his bills. I think Siegfried and James are often too soft on their unreliable clients. They need to put on more vigour in how they handle them to get their bills paid. 🙂

But it maybe that Siegfried may have found a way to get Dennis to pay their bills after all. You see, during the episode, Siegfried sees cows in a field change numbers every time he passes on the road.

I didn’t know what that was about as Siegfried once increasingly frustrated every time he passed that field whilst in his car up on the hill. But it ‘sort of’ became clearer by the time we got to the end.

You see, Dennis Pratt has been doing something with those cows in the field in preparation for an auction. Now I think of it, I believe the cows belong to Mr. Hartley in the episode. I might be wrong.

Anyway, at the auction, Siegfried brings James with him to confront Dennis when he’s taking his takings from selling cows. Hartley is also there and Siegfried manages to persuade Dennis to pay up.

Siegfried subtly lets on that he knows what Dennis is playing at with the cows in a certain field. Dennis, not wanting to be found out and with Hartley in their presence, pays up his bills to Siegfried.

And that’s how the episode ends. Like I said, it’s not a great episode, but it’s a decent one at best. I hope the last three and the 1990 Christmas Special will be better. Tristan at least must be in the final one.

‘A Grand Memory For Forgetting’ rating – 7/10


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