‘A NEW CHAPTER’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
And so we continue with the rest of Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’ in its sixth instalment. And I must admit, I feel this one has some emotional depth to it as this concerns the subplot with James and his dog Dan.
‘A New Chapter’ is the title of the sixth episode in Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. The episode is by Alfred Shaughnessy, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books. This is the sole contribution that he makes to Series 5.
He previously wrote ‘Barks and Bites’ and ‘Hail Caesar!’ for Series 4. The episode is also directed by Jeremy Summers, who makes his second contribution to in Series 5 in the second TV production block.
In this episode, Helen is packing for the move to the new house that she, James and the kids Jimmy and Rosie will be living. It seems that Helen has fully recovered with her back by this point in Series 5.
Also at the start of the episode, James’ pet dog Dan seems to be struggling to walk as fast as it used to do. This was something that got addressed in the previous episode. I’m glad it gets readdressed here.
I’ll get back to that subplot later. Meanwhile, James and Calum have to call on Granville Bennett to help a sick dog needing an urgent operation. Helen is of course concerned about James with Granville.
Actually while we’re at it, wasn’t it Helen who encouraged James to work with Granville for a new position in Series 4. And yet she’s concerned about him drinking with him here. See the problem with this?
James tells Helen everything will be alright and she shouldn’t worry. Should I not be at all surprised that things for James with Granville are going to end up rather disastrously with rich food and heavy drink?
Okay, got it.
Anyway, James and Calum go and see Granville and the operation to the sick dog goes rather well. It will take a few weeks though before the dog can be fully recovered. And you know where this is going.
Granville is about to make the suggestion before James tries to stop him from inviting him and Calum to his ‘library’. But Granville instead suggests that they attend a ‘veterinary lecture’ at a nearby village.
By the way, James Grout returns to play Granville Bennett in the series. My parents and I noticed how older James Grout looks and how he’s put on weight since we saw him in the second and third seasons.
It must be all that food and drink Granville’s eaten over the years. 😀 James of course agrees to accompany Granville to this lecture, but Calum is concerned as the ‘lecture’ seems so out of their way.
Actually, where was Pamela Salem as Zoe, Granville’s wife? She’s not in this episode. She usually is whenever we do an ‘All Creatures’ episode with Granville Bennett. What happened to her? I miss her!
James does the right thing in phoning Helen to let her know where he and Calum are going to be with Granville. She was supposed to be providing a meal for James once he got back. He’s going to be so late.
On the way to the lecture, Granville, James and Calum in the car come across a tree in the middle of the road. Granville decides to go the long way round to get to the lecture. This means more time wasted.
I wonder if the tree was felled deliberately in the middle of the road and not by accident. It just seems conveniently placed for Granville, James and Calum to get to the lecture later in that evening that day.
To be fair though, it turns out that it was a lecture that Granville took James and Calum to and it’s not just some cover like his library was for a boozer. You think that would be the case with Granville Bennett.
But would you believe it? Granville, James and Calum arrive late at the moment when the lecture is over. Wow! All this time in going the long way round past the fallen tree and they could’ve not gone at all!
The lecture however is not what Granville wanted to go to. His sole interest was to partake in the buffet dinner and the open bar afterwards. Let’s hope James won’t be succumbed to food and drink as per usual.
And would you know it…James doesn’t succumb to drink. Yeah, he manages not to drink the heavies and just stick with orange juice. Wow! That’s impressive! I admire James for standing to his own here.
The food side of things however. Yeah, James gets given too much food by Granville when he’s not heavy on the drink. And it turns out to be pretty rich. James suffers once he has too much food in him.
Calum doesn’t help things either as he gets easily drunk during the proceedings instead of James. At this point, I’m not very surprised since he got drunk over Deirdre and during Tristan’s farewell-do previous times.
On the way home, James and Calum are worse for wear from seeing Granville. James ends up being sick upon his return home and Calum ends up slurring his words when he talks to Helen in the hall. 😀
Whilst James and Calum were out with Granville, Helen had the company of Siegfried instead. She gives him James’ meal of liver and he gives her the best wine he has as they wait for James and Calum.
What would’ve been funny is that Siegfried could’ve ended up getting Helen drunk instead of James, making it a role reversal as to what usually happens with Granville Bennett. That sadly did not happen.
Instead, Siegfried and Helen discover that James’ dog Dan gets a heart attack whilst in the living room after having their meal. It raises tension and concern especially when Siegfried examines Dan the dog.
Siegfried breaks the news to James in surgery the next morning whilst he’s still in a pretty bad state from last night. James struggles to believe this news and Siegfried says Dan may have to be ‘put down’.
Also that morning, Calum is still worse for wear and in his pyjamas when Siegfried sees him having his hangover. Siegfried ridicules and criticises Calum for his conduct about handling his own liquor. 😀
Whilst we’re on this point, it seems to me that Calum is a combination of both James and Tristan in the reboot series of ‘All Creatures’. Calum seems to have this parallel journey to both men in the series.
Sometimes that makes Calum’s character inconsistent, especially when he seemed smug and confident about himself at first. Now he seems mild-mannered and sorry for himself when having a hangover.
Speaking of which, there’s a funny scene earlier on where Calum receives the visit of Finetime Fontayne as Joe Bentley. Joe Bentley is someone who seems always drunk and cannot hold ‘his liquor’.
It was funny when Joe Bentley seemed to use his bottle as a telephone to call the vets to attend to his cow when he’s actually outside Skeldale’s door. Calum is amused as he plays to Bentley’s drunkenness.
A second scene occurs when Siegfried sees Joe Bentley call upon the vets again and he’s rather annoyed with him. Calum is amused when Siegfried’s words of advice to him from earlier contradict themselves.
There is the sad story to James’ dog Dan though. James has to consider the difficult decision needed to be made when having to put Dan down. He clearly doesn’t want to as he enjoys his walks with Dan.
I do have an issue with James making Dan climb up that hill on their last walk together. Even James calls him a ‘stupid dog’ when he’s slow on coming. Come on, James! Be fair! That dog is really old here!
Sadly on their last walk together, Dan collapses and sadly passes away. James of course is upset. I would’ve chosen a better way to end Dan’s life instead of having him walk all the way up that hill here.
It was quite emotional when James struggled to think clearly that night and on the next morning after Dan died. The scenes James has with Helen where he tries to bear his emotions up are quite well-handled.
The next day, Brian Osborne as Bert Chapman requests the help of the vets to attend to his pregnant dog. Calum can’t help as he’s assisting with the move for Helen and James’ new house. But James can.
Helen and Siegfried encourage James to attend to Bert Chapman’s pregnant dog to keep his mind off things regarding Dan. But James does not feel up to the job as he feels so sad with loss of his dear dog.
Siegfried reminds James of the hazards that a vet’s job entails as well as the sadness that he and Helen won’t be living in Skeldale anymore as they are moving into their new house. James eventually agrees.
At the Chapman’s home, James attends to the pregnant dog that seems to have a pup stuck inside her. The wife Lorraine Peters as Mrs. Chapman is also there. She disapproves of the dog pregnant first.
But once James manages to get the dog’s pup unstuck and have it breathing, Mrs. Chapman seems eager about the new pups. More pups come including some black ones…and some white ones. Weird!
Bert and his wife are grateful to James for attending to their pregnant dog. They offer James one of the pups as they know James had his recent loss with Dan. But James says ‘no’ and he’s not ready yet.
James eventually meets up with Helen, Calum and the two kids Jimmy and Rosie who are settling in nicely into their new home. Yeah, Jimmy and Rosie are in this episode and seem happy with the move.
There is a problem though with the electrics not working at the new house. Earlier, Calum got some candles as well as getting someone to call the electricity board to have the Herriots’ new house ‘light’ up.
Thankfully the house does ‘light’ up since the electricity board worked on the problem as promised. James is still sad though, despite having moved in. He does seem to struggle coping with the loss of Dan here.
The day after that, Calum comes over with a newspaper that contains an advert for new dogs to be sold to new owners. Calum suggests the offer to Helen, but she says it’s too soon with James getting over Dan.
James overhears the conversation and invites Calum to accompany him to look at the back garden. Calum explains to James why he brought the newspaper over and the conversation he had with Helen.
But James tells Calum that he doesn’t know Helen and very soon they discover Helen making the phone call for the last dog offered to be bought. Helen tells James this was too good an offer to last.
The episode ends with James about to go on his rounds from Skeldale House with a new dog accompanying him – a border terrier, I believe. It seems James is happy with his brand-new friend. 😀
‘A New Chapter’ has been a fairly good and emotionally-driven episode with James coping with the loss of his dog Dan who dies in this. It’s also well-balanced with a humorous plot featuring Granville Bennett.
‘A New Chapter’ rating – 8/10
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