‘Ace, King, Queen, Jack’ (TV)

 

‘ACE, KING, QUEEN, JACK’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Here’s another enjoyable ‘All Creatures’ episode from Series 4. I can’t say I’m enamoured with it especially with a lack of Tristan. But I find I’m getting into the new reboot set-up that’s not the original.

‘Ace, King, Queen, Jack’, the seventh Series 4 episode of ‘All Creatures’ is by Terry Hodgkinson, based on the James Herriot books. Terry Hodgkinson previously wrote ‘The Pig Man Cometh’ in the TV series.

This is also the second episode to be directed by Roderick Graham in the TV series. At this point, I’m not sure there’s much difference in terms of how these episodes are directed as they are all well-done.

In this episode, James spends a lot of time and becomes friends with Philip Martin Brown as farmer Jack Scott with two children Ryan O’Neill as Tony and Natalie Clegg as Sheila. We never see the mother.

Yeah that is strange, consider Jack keeps on mentioning her throughout the episode. You would think we’d get to see the mother of this happy family whom James visits to attend to some animal problems.

James attends to a dog that has a broken leg which has yet to knit after six weeks in plaster. This isn’t really dealt with in too much detail as the dog, despite having a disability, seems to walk miraculously.

Even after James brings the dog for him and Siegfried to attend to in Skeldale’s surgery, Jack Scott prays that all will be well for the family dog. And it works. I like how the Christian theme gets touched.

There’s also a unique thing with one of Jack’s cows that James attends to. Apparently the cow can wink at someone if you look at her long enough. James is impressed when Jack shows the cow to him.

Even the Herriot children Jimmy and Rosie are impressed as well as Helen and the two kids of Jack’s. Jack puts the cow into the Darrowby Show and impresses Eric Dodson as Brigadier D’Arcy with a wink.

Incidentally Eric Dodson has been in ‘All Creatures’ before in the Series 2 episode ‘Fair Means and Fowl’. In fact, he played that same character as in this episode except he was a colonel not a brigadier.

Interesting how some actors reprise their roles from ‘All Creatures’ in a long time but not others, such as Farmer Handshaw’s actor. Eric Dodson has also appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Visitation’.

Also in the episode, Siegfried acquires a brand new car. It looks pretty snazzy and expensive. James sees it upon his return to Skeldale and is unhappy that Siegfried seems to have acquired a second car.

This is because James has had to put up with his own aging heap of a car for years. He shares his frustration about this to Helen when she comes along before James thumps the car in anger about it.

Steady on, James! There’s no need to thump the car! You’ll damage the paintwork. Hehe! Siegfried won’t be happy if he finds a dent in his beautifully new car caused by your fist. It’s so unnecessary. 😀

When James meets up with Siegfried over the new car he’s got and after Siegfried ridicules James for having his ageing old heap of a car, a surprise gets revealed. Siegfried purchased the new car for James.

Wow! I mean, WOW! That was a nice gesture on Siegfried’s part. James is delighted when he gets given the keys by Siegfried and even shows the new car to Helen whilst he offers that old heap of car to her.

But hang on! Why exactly did Siegfried purchase the car for James? I know it’s a nice gesture, but it’s never established why Siegfried would spend so much money on a new car for James. Just wondering.

In the episode, James gets chosen to judge the dog competition at the Darrowby Show. James is aghast, especially as he chats to Helen about this in the kitchen when hearing the news over breakfast.

I appreciate James being uncomfortable being the judge of the dog competition since…well, he didn’t have a good experience in ‘Judgement Day’. Thankfully there’s less emphasis on the Darrowby Show here.

But it isn’t helped when Margaretta Scott as Mrs. Pumphrey meets up with James when he’s driving back home in the car with Rosie. Yippie! Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki-Woo are back! Tricki still lives!!! 😀

That’s another reason why James doesn’t want to judge the dog competition. Mrs. Pumphrey makes it clear to James that she plans to enter Tricki-Woo into that competition at the Darrowby Show again.

It’s a pity James can’t use the same trick he used to persuade Mrs. Pumphrey to not put Tricki in the dog competition again. That would be too obvious. Something to do with annual goodies for Skeldale.

I liked that moment when Rosie seemed desperate ‘to go’, prompting the excuse James needs to get away from Mrs. Pumphrey when meeting up with her about Tricki. Rosie didn’t want ‘to go’ in the end.

It’s nice to see that James’ children like Rosie know his anxieties especially with regards to Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki-Woo. It seems that James and Helen have brought up Jimmy and Rosie very well.

There is a moment when James could’ve taken an opportunity to put Tricki out of the dog competition altogether. This is when James attends to Tricki having a bower too tight on him before he takes it off.

At the dog competition, Tricki has the bower put back on. Continuity error perhaps, but how come James didn’t suggest to Mrs. Pumphrey not to have the bower on Tricki-Woo in the competition itself.

Better still, have James suggest to Mrs. Pumphrey not put Tricki in the competition in case of health risks. It might not have been very convincing if James suggested it to Mrs. Pumphrey, but it could work.

It doesn’t matter anyway as in the dog competition…Tricki-Woo, for some reason, runs away when being chased by another dog. Not sure how that happened but it means Tricki is out of the competition.

We don’t know who won the dog competition by the way when the episode ends. That’s odd. Mrs. Pumphrey feeds Tricki some chocolate cake…which she’s told she shouldn’t do…by the episode’s end.

Earlier on, James tried to get Tristan to take over the dog competition judge post on the day of the Darrowby Show. Peter Davison comes in late as Tristan in the episode. I wondered when he’d turn up.

He’s in two scenes when at the Ministry of Agriculture, talking to Siegfried and James simultaneously. Tristan also turns up in Skeldale surgery with his date Dominique Barnes as Rachael Bosworth for tennis.

Not sure why Tristan turned to Skeldale with his date when they’re dressed for tennis. Maybe Tristan wanted to prove that he and Rachael were going to play tennis once meeting up with James in surgery.

I suspect Tristan wasn’t going to play tennis with Rachael in that regard. Tristan’s appearance in this episode is limited. He does not even go to the Drovers as indicated in the TV episode’s opening credits.

Siegfried also has his subplot when he visits a farmer Geoff Oldham as Gordon Unwin who has installed a modern milking parlor. It seems to go very well for Gordon, but thing go askew with one of his cows.

Apparently one of Gordon’s cows may have hoof and mouth disease. Is there a difference between foot and mouth disease and hoof and mouth disease as they do seem to be very similar to each other.

Anyway, Gordon tries to hide this infected cow whom he called Number 10 (cute) before he eventually reveals to Siegfried his problem. Siegfried examines the cow. Gordon should’ve told Siegfried sooner.

Siegfried becomes dismayed by all of this as he has to make a report to the Ministry of Agriculture. He even phones Tristan at the ministry to get the results of the test, whether they’re positive or negative.

Thankfully the results turn out to be positive and Siegfried is relieved as well as the others. Siegfried goes to tell Gordon about this news and Gordon is relieved, calling Siegfried ‘a saint’ once he tells him.

But there’s still the issue of why Number 10 cow seems this way. It turns out Gordon has been applying some potent that his father swore by. Siegfried reveals to Gordon that it’s really acid. Gordon’s aghast.

Gordon could’ve killed his animals with the stuff that his father’s been using. He pours it all down the drain. I’m wondering if he should’ve done that since if it’s acidic, wouldn’t it have proved pretty lethal?

Siegfried also attends to the cat of Jean Campbell-Dallas as Mrs. Herron that sadly dies in the episode. The cat’s name is Tommy and it seems that Mrs. Herron has had that cat for many years in her life. 😦

Thankfully a litter of kittens has been produced at Jack Scott’s farm. The Herriots come over to ask for one of the kittens to give to Mrs. Herron to keep her company. Jack and his two kids eventually agree.

Calum gets seen in a better light in this episode when he attends to a dachshund dog named Herman, belonging to Fred Gaunt as Ron Cundall and Joan Campion as his wife. They seem to be really friendly.

The dog Herman has developed a difficulty in walking. Calum tries to tend to it but the treatment he gives to the dog seems to make it worse. But he’s determined not to give up on making Herman better.

Calum eventually gives the Cundalls advice on how to ease Herman’s difficulty of walking by giving him advice and gently applying pressure on his abdomen. This seems to all work out alright in the end.

Ron Cundall and his wife are very grateful to Calum for attending to Herman’s difficulty and they offer him beer to drink and celebrate. I like the friendly relationship formed with Calum and these Cundalls.

I like that Calum’s skills as a vet are put to good use here. He comes across as likeable in this episode and not as smug and arrogant as he appears to be, especially stealing Deirdre from Tristan in Series 4.

In fact, Deirdre doesn’t appear in this episode at all. I wonder if Tristan has got over Deirdre by this point. It seems to be the case especially when he is going out with Rachael Bosworth for tennis in this.

I enjoyed it when Calum meets up with the Herriots on a day-out picnic or something. Calum came by motorbike of course and he helps the children Jimmy and Rosie to find some fish in this nearby stream.

Rosie is hoping to find a whale. Not sure why she should considering they’re huge and wouldn’t be in small river streams. Jimmy and Rosie also fire lots of questions to Calum about his ‘fish-catching’ skills.

I liked it when James and Helen offer Calum a lift to go back to Skeldale House and he agrees, joining them in the car. Calum soon realises that he left his motorbike behind. I laughed at that amusing moment.

‘Ace, King, Queen, Jack’ (not sure why it’s called that) is an enjoyable episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. There are times when Series 4 can have its high moments as well as it low ones during the series.

‘Ace, King, Queen, Jack’ rating – 8/10


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