‘Advice and Consent’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This ‘All Creatures’ TV episode was again adapted by Brian Finch, who had previously adapted ‘Golden Lads and Girls’, from the ‘James Herriot’ books. This TV episode was also directed by Mr. Peter Moffatt.

I enjoyed this episode very much. It has lots of laughs and drama to enjoy, featuring the ‘All Creatures’ characters. It also begins a brand-new stage in James and Helen’s romance which comes really quickly.

The episode begins with…a title card over some footage of James and Helen walking together by a river. Um…I wouldn’t have used that footage for the title card since it’s for a scene later on in the tale.

In fact, it confuses me why they didn’t start the episode off with a scene of James and Helen walking together. That would’ve been nice to see since it would be a great follow-up to the previous TV episode.

The episode properly begins with Clancy, Mr. Mulligan’s very large dog being seen to by Tristan. And yes, that is a very large dog indeed. Rio Fanning returns as Mr. Mulligan with his really hard-of-hearing.

It seems that Mr. Mulligan’s dog, Clancy, has been ‘womittin’ again. I just love that word! 😀 Tristan is very afraid of the dog as it’s so big. This is odd, considering Tristan’s known that dog since he was little.

Mind you, I don’t blame Trist since it must be difficult attending to that dog especially when he growls a lot. In fact, it takes seconds for Trist to attend to the dog before the prescription is given to Mulligan.

Throughout the episode, Tristan and Siegfried try to find excuses for treating Clancy the dog who’s been ‘womittin’. In fact, Tristan tries to make Siegfried see that large dog on a Monday instead of him.

It’s very funny when both Tristan and Siegfried seem to come up with same prognosis in that Clancy is very ‘lively’ and that it takes seconds for them to deal with the dog. Mr. Mulligan is pretty surprised.

Siegfried and Tristan try to get Mr. Mulligan to bring the dog to them at the surgery for a certain day at 2pm. But Mr. Mulligan has the tendency to be late, which annoys Siegfried and Tristan slightly a bit.

When he is late, Siegfried and Tristan make an excuse to leave Skeldale House to avoid seeing Mr. Mulligan and his dog. This is before Mulligan actually turns up, as Siegfried and Tristan gets to escape.

It was so funny when Siegfried and Tristan keep bumping into each other as they leave Skeldale House. What would’ve been very amusing is that James attends to Clancy and he managed to do the job okay.

Anyway, the highlight of this episode is the follow-up to James and Helen’s newly-formed romance. It seems to be a happy time for the two and I did like the romantic scenes the two share with each other.

Despite the happiness shared between James and Helen, James isn’t convinced Helen’s father thinks highly of him. John Collin as Mr. Alderson remains non-talkative to James whenever he visits the farm.

I like how James shares his anxiety about Helen’s father to her. He even asks Helen what he sees in him when he compares himself to someone like Richard Edmundson. Helen just laughs it off for James.

It is clear Helen prefers James over Edmundson. I really like how those scenes are played out between Christopher Timothy and Carol Drinkwater. They are such tender scenes, well-acted and well-written.

It is a wonder why Helen prefers James over Edmundson. Maybe it’s because she finds him funny or maybe it’s because of his love of animals. Since she is a farm girl, this would make sense as he is a vet.

Helen also makes it clear that ‘money isn’t everything’ when she has a scene with her father, talking about Edmundson. Helen’s father says she’s better off with him, but Helen doesn’t seem very keen.

Norman Mann does make a small appearance (uncredited) as Richard Edmundson in the episode. He meets up with Helen and persuades to drive her home in his new flashy car. She reluctantly says ‘yes’.

Siegfried sees this happen and confides with Tristan over the situation of James and Helen that evening. This is rare to see the two Farnon brothers talk seriously instead of bickering with each other.

They agree that something must be done to save James’ romance with Helen. Even Mrs. Hall advises James to do something about her romance with Helen, since he could lose her to Richard Edmundson.

One evening, Siegfried suggests to James to do something about Helen and even ‘marry the gir’’. But James is reluctant to ask Helen the question, as he’s only known her for a short time and is low on money.

This is something I can appreciate James feeling and think works reasonably well in terms of story. Usually romantic relationships take time to develop. Sometimes it takes years to be something serious.

Yet Siegfried and Tristan are insistent that James pops the question to Helen before it’s too late. It comes round very quickly in the series. I would have expected it to gradually develop in some episodes.

Nevertheless and with some grudging, James takes Helen to visit a castle on one of their dates to pop the question. Not sure where that castle is in the story, but it looks pretty impressive and picturesque.

It’s the perfect place for James to ask Helen the question. They go somewhere private where James tells Helen he loves her. She tells him she loves him. “Marry me?” he asks. “Alright,” she replies. Wow!!!

Even James is surprised Helen readily accepts his proposal of marriage. Look at him. It’s all in that one expression. I’d be surprised too if Helen said ‘yes’ to marry me. I wish all the girls I’ve met are like that. 😀

Siegfried and Tristan are delighted to hear the news that James and Helen are getting married. Tristan wants to be the ‘best man’, but Siegfried already has that job. You can see how disappointed Tristan is. 😀

John Sharp returns as Mr. Biggins in the episode. Mr. Biggins first appeared in ‘Horse Sense’. Haven’t seen him for a while. He only has one scene with Tristan at the Drovers pub and it’s so amusing indeed.

Biggins shares with Tristan about a problem with one of his cows who’s walking funnily. It’s so entertaining since Biggins actually demonstrates to Tristan how it’s walking funnily by doing it himself.

Everyone in the pub is entertained by Biggins’ antics including Tristan. Surely Biggins’ can see he’s being made fun of here. He doesn’t even notice that everyone’s laughing whilst he’s talking to Tristan.

Tristan too mimics Biggins’ motions of what the cow does in the Drover’s. He must be having a whale of time here. It is a comedic scene that is played out well without ending in any brawls or fights.

Janet Davies also returns as Mrs. Dalby in the episode. She comes to Skeldale House to see James, but she sees Siegfried instead. There’s still a problem with Mrs. Dalby’s herd of cows and she asks for help.

Siegfried reassures Mrs. Dalby that he’ll send James out to have a look at the herd. Mrs. Hall then comes in with some tea and scones and Siegfried…makes Mrs. Dalby pour out the tea for them. What?!

Okay, where do I start with this? First off, Siegfried, pour the tea out yourself! You’re the host, Mrs. Dalby’s the guest. I know this is the sort of thing she does in her house, but not in anyone else’s house.

Even better, have Mrs. Hall pour the tea for Siegfried and Mrs. Dalby. If Siegfried’s too proud to pour it out himself, at least have Mrs. Hall do it instead of the guest. How come Mrs. Dalby doesn’t protest?

James meanwhile visits the herd on Mrs. Dalby’s farm (and doesn’t get to see her in the episode sadly) and struggles to come up with a diagnosis. There doesn’t seem to be a way to rescue this herd of cows.

Thankfully, James comes up with an inspired idea to save the cows when he’s with Siegfried at Skeldale House. This occurs when there is a raging rainstorm at night. James goes out in that rain with the cure.

The episode comes to a conclusion when James goes over to Helen’s home and ask her father to have permission to marry her daughter. I’m certain this was a very nerve-wrecking experience for James here.

Katharine Page returns as Aunt Lucy and seems delighted about James coming over to visit as well as Helen. Mr. Alderson isn’t very keen. Helen tells him James is coming and he does not even register it.

Just as James is about to go out to visit the Alderson’s farm, Tristan stops him and suggests he has another bath. This time though, he’s to have ‘all’ of Mrs. Hall’s pink bath ‘stuff’ to make him smell ‘nice’.

Okay, first of all James, don’t take any advice from Tristan. For one thing, using Mrs. Hall’s pink bath ‘stuff’ isn’t a good idea. I know it was meant to get rid of James’ ‘mucky’ smell, but this does not work.

For one thing, it makes James smell rather…well, odd. This is something Helen notices when she sees him. Helen’s father even notices as well as one of the farmers. It makes him smell…well, not masculine.

I don’t know why Tristan would suggest James uses Mrs. Hall’s pink bath ‘stuff’ to make him smell nice for Helen. Does Tristan use the stuff himself when he has a bath? Not that would surprise me, but still.

Anyway, James has to endure a silent Mr. Alderson before asking the question about marrying Helen. This is before Mr. Alderson’s best cow has a problem and James uses his vet kit to help rescue the day.

Thankfully the problem is solved and Mr. Alderson is overjoyed that James saved his cow. This seems to make Alderson look fondly of James and highly of him. He even has a drink with James. Wow again!

All the time that Alderson’s been silent and not too friendly with James, it was saving the cow that won him over. I mean, Mr. Alderson thinks more about his cow than he does of other people, doesn’t he?

With Helen’s father in a good mood, James uses this opportunity to ask his permission to marry his daughter. It sets Helen’s father into a hesitant mood and even makes him have more drink in his glass.

But it doesn’t make Helen’s father go livid as you would expect. In fact, Helen’s father takes kindly to James, telling him of Helen’s mother; sharing what it was like marrying her and compares her to Helen.

After James takes Helen’s father up to bed, he comes back down to see Helen. James tells Helen her father didn’t say ‘yes’ to give permission to marry her, but seems certain everything’s going to be fine.

Just as James is about to kiss Helen, she asks him what that smell is. James tells Helen not to ask him, since he’s going to ‘kill’ Tristan when he gets back. I do like how it ends on a very romantic funny note.

‘Advice and Consent’ is another brilliant episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. It’s again funny, well-acted, well-written and is pretty enjoyable to watch. What will happen for James and Helen next time?

‘Advice and Consent’ rating – 9/10

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