‘A Present From Dublin’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a Calum-focused episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. I must admit, I found this one pretty compelling to watch. At least they gave some character focus for Calum this time round in the episode.

Calum has had an inconsistent character journey throughout the reboot era of ‘All Creatures’ so far. So it was great to have a change where this is an episode mostly dedicated to him compared to others.

‘A Present From Dublin’ is the title of the seventh episode in Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. The episode, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Anthony Steven, who wrote ‘Choose A Bright Morning’ recently.

This episode is also directed by Jeremy Summers, who makes his third out of four contributions to the ‘All Creatures’ series. As it is only four episodes that Jeremy directed, he does a pretty good job so far.

In the episode, it turns out to be a busy time for Calum. It starts off with him arriving outside a fish and chips shop. Wow! Calum visiting a fish and chips shop! I did think he’d go in and buy a bag of chips. 😀

Actually, he’s visiting Fenella Norman as Mrs. Bartram, who has a dog named Puppy. Yes, seriously! Even Calum’s surprised to see that Puppy wasn’t a puppy. 😀 The dog has this eye infection in the episode.

Because of this, Calum has to perform a minor operation on Puppy in order to make the eye better. This was a job originally meant to be done by James but he sent Calum in his place instead. Why’s this?

Well, it turns out Puppy the dog can be quite fierce and isn’t willing to let other people like Calum handle him. It’s proven when Calum tries to reach out to Puppy on his first visit and it nearly bites him.

It also turns out that Puppy loves eating cold chips when Mrs. Bartram gives them to him from the local chip shop. This comes as quite a surprise to Calum as dogs don’t usually eat chips. Well, of course.

Calum needs to find a way to sedate Puppy in order to give him the operation he needs. When seeing James for a drink in the Drovers, it’s suggested to Calum that he put in tablets into little pieces of meat.

This is for Puppy to eat to make him go to sleep. Apparently it’s a method that James has tried a number of times before. I cannot recall when at this stage. 😀 Calum of course takes on James’ advice.

But it transpires that Puppy isn’t so willing to eat the little pieces of meat when Calum throws them at him. No really! Calum throws the meat pieces at Puppy on a newspaper. Why not put them in a bowl?

This of course is quite problematic and it takes a while for Calum to figure out how to sedate the dog in order to do the operation. How fortunate it is that Mrs. Bartram gave Puppy some cold chips earlier.

I’m surprised it took quite a while for Calum to work this out. Shouldn’t Calum have figured this out the instant he was given the suggestion to sedate the dog by James. Actually, it’s not that far-fetched.

When it does clicks in for Calum that cold chips might be the best way to put the tablets in, he does it in order to sedate Puppy. Thankfully this works out great when Puppy eats the chips. Thank goodness!

James is quite amazed when he comes to see how Calum’s doing when sedating Puppy with chips and not meat that worked to administer the sedative. Calum even pens this suggestion on a bottle of pills.

I do like how Calum gets to use his initiative in the episode and I found this subplot with Puppy very enjoyable to watch. Sadly, this is the only episode to feature Mrs. Bartram and Puppy in ‘All Creatures’.

There’s another enjoyable subplot where Calum get to operate on a sick cow. The cow belongs to Norman Mitchell as Mr. Birtwhistle who’s with Ina Clough as his wife and Ashley Barker as his son Len.

This is quite an amusing subplot where Calum has difficulty trying to keep the owners focused on helping him out with the task at hand. Each of the Birtwhistles have peculiar obsessions when Calum meets them.

Whilst Mr. Birtwhisle is obsessed with his cow, Mrs. Birtwhistle keeps asking Calum about the Herriots whilst Len keeps on talking obsessively about football and sport. Seriously, that’s all Len talks about. 😀

It was amusing once Calum tried to explain the problem to Mr. Birtwhistle about his cow and the need for it to have an operation whilst Mrs. Birtwhistle and Len kept interrupting. And with mundane things.

Mr. Birtwhistle isn’t very sure about this operation that Calum’s recommending for his sick cow. But Calum persistently keeps persuading him to let him try. Birtwhistle very soon agrees to let him do this.

When Calum starts work on doing the operation the next day, he’s still being distracted by Len’s sport trivia. At one point, Calum gets to silence him as he tells him that he needs to focus on the job at hand.

This puts Len in his place and he keeps silent throughout. Calum clearly feels bad snapping at Len and tries to make it up to him. I’m glad Calum makes the effort to make up after conducting the operation.

Thankfully the cow operation works of course. I’m not sure what it entailed but apparently there was some pus on one of the cow’s rear hoofs. It needed cutting off and that’s what happens in the episode.

It was funny when Len fainted after Calum showed him the ‘chopped-off’ hoof that must have smelled something dreadful. This is even when Calum talked about ‘team spirit’ as Len fainted in that moment.

Len’s father is pretty annoyed as he tried kicking him to wake him up. Thankfully, Len recovers and is back to his sport trivia self when he talks to Calum. I suppose Len has forgiven Calum by this point. 😀

Also in this episode, Siegfried is fed up with the untidiness that occurs in Skeldale House of late. This is due to James and Helen having moved out and there being no housekeeper at all. Yeah, where is she?

Siegfried also partly blames Calum when there is a mess of things made in the Skeldale living room. Calum is mostly out on his rounds as well as James. Which means the place is left rather untidily here.

So when Siegfried receives a phone call from Andrea Gibb as Deirdre (Yes! She’s back in this episode), he encourages her to come back to Skeldale. He says on the lines that Calum misses her since she left.

But clearly Siegfried wants Deirdre back in order for her to play the part of housekeeper at Skeldale. Even I knew that when watching the episode. Sneaky Siegfried! Deirdre of course agrees to come back.

She says she’ll be able to come back when she has her leave from the Ministry of Agriculture in Edinburgh. Siegfried also has to go somewhere for a conference. Again? He’s going to a conference again?!

Siegfried does go to many conferences, doesn’t he? With one in London during the episode that was Tristan’s last appearance in Series 5 and now one here. Fortunately Siegfried wasn’t away for too long.

Incidentally, Anthony Steven wrote Deirdre’s character in the previous episode he wrote for the series, ‘Choose A Bright Morning’. It’s good that he was able to continue the Calum-Deirdre story from there.

On the phone, Deirdre tells Siegfried not to tell Calum that she’s coming back to Skeldale as she wants to surprise him. Siegfried agrees and he doesn’t tell Calum or James at all. What could go wrong here?!

Well, quite a bit when Calum receives a visit from an old flame of his – Sharon Twomey (as she’s credited in the episode) as Molly McFeely. Calum met Molly and her family when he stayed in Ireland.

Ah! Hence the episode title! ‘A Present From Dublin’! Calum is quite surprised to see Molly turn up out of the blue. She says she has come to stay in Skeldale for as long as he needs her. Quite interesting!

I mean, we do get to see them together in the episode. That was quite nice to watch. But we don’t know an awful lot about what happened between them when they were a couple together years ago.

There isn’t even a mention on how they broke up either. It would’ve been good if they stretched out the Calum-Molly stuff into two episodes instead of just one. It does seem to be quite crammed in here.

To be fair though, it was nice to see how Calum and Molly interacted with each other. Molly could’ve been a potential future wife for Calum had he decided to go for her instead of Deirdre in the TV series.

James, Helen and Siegfried get to meet Molly in the episode and they too are impressed by Molly’s skills and easy-going manner. Molly does a nice job in tidying the Skeldale place up when she is around.

It’s ironic that Molly ended up doing the housekeeper work instead of Deirdre as was the original intention by Siegfried. Had Molly appeared in more episodes of the series, it could have been the case.

It’s clear Molly’s trying to impress Calum and perhaps make amends for something. It was nice to see them together when they went out fishing. I can’t recall Calum and Deirdre doing this together before.

It also seems to me that Molly is quite forward with Calum. This is especially when she persuades him to kiss her during one of their fishing trips. Calum could easily be taken by Molly’s charms at this point.

Molly even assists Calum with the wild boar he acquires when he brings it back to Skeldale House. She even helps Siegfried once he makes a fatal mistake of putting his hand into the box where the boar lives.

Siegfried is enchanted by Molly’s charms when he shares his views on her to Helen at the Herriots’ house. As a consequence of this, he forgets that Deirdre is coming back to which Calum doesn’t know of.

And you know where this is going. Disaster strikes when Deirdre returns home via bus and she sees Calum with Molly behind him at the front door. She reacts very hastily and draws the wrong conclusion.

I like how Helen takes Deirdre with her for a drive around in the countryside to calm her down and to try to explain things about Calum. Helen corrects Deirdre on the mistake she made since Molly arrived first.

Molly soon leaves as she realises that Calum doesn’t need her anymore. They share a fond farewell with each other. Thankfully Molly wasn’t too upset when he referred her as the housekeeper to Deirdre.

I like how the episode ends with Calum and Deirdre making up with each other and seeming to be back together. I hope she won’t run away again which remains to be seen in watching the rest of the series.

There is a subplot where James receives an invitation to examine Edward Dentith (who was in the ‘Doctor Who’ tale ‘The Invasion’) as Lord Buttermere’s new stallion. But it wasn’t anything interesting.

Overall, this was an enjoyable Calum-focused episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. I’m glad the episode was given the focus on Calum for a change and I’m happy he and Deirdre got back together by the end.

‘A Present From Dublin’ rating – 8/10

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