‘Be Prepared’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

The title of this ‘All Creatures’ episode is also the title of one of the songs in ‘The Lion King’ from Disney! : D But the emphasis of the episode’s title is more serious as our characters prepare for a war.

Yeah this is a theme that echoes a lot throughout Series 3 of ‘All Creatures’ as the prospect of the Second World War gets even closer. It will be emphasised greatly in a future episode, but that is another time.

This episode is adapted by William Humble from the ‘James Herriot’ books. This is William Humble’s second writing contribution to the ‘All Creatures’ as he previously wrote ‘Hair of the Dog’ in the series.

The episode is also directed by Christopher Barry. Chris Barry has directed many episodes in ‘All Creatures’ and he’d direct one episode more after this. He’s a multi-talented director in all areas here.

The episode commences with Siegfried attending to a horse belonging to Hilary Wontner as Major Headingley. He also has a daughter, Josephine Hollis as Deirdre Headingley who fancies Tristan in this

Unfortunately, Tristan doesn’t return the feelings Deirdre has for him. Siegfried even tries to pair Tristan up with Deirdre for one of Major Headingley’s dos, to which Tristan is so against about here.

To be honest with you, I don’t see why Tristan should dismiss Deirdre as a potential love interest. I mean, okay she’s not very attractive but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Tristan’s judgemental.

It doesn’t help matters when Tristan is already interested in one of the barmaids, whom Siegfried thoroughly disapproves of. This happens to be Sue Bond as Lydia. And yes, we do get to see her in this!

Anyway, Siegfried’s determined for himself, Tristan, James and Helen to have a good evening attending one of Major Headingley’s dos coming up soon. That doesn’t happen as hoped, but we’ll get to that later on.

The possibility of war is on everybody’s minds, especially when James does some shopping with Helen and she’s preparing for the privations ahead. This is something James does find a bit frustrating here.

I appreciate the paranoia that goes on in the situation, especially from Helen’s point of view since she wants to make sure they’re ready at Skeldale House in case a war happens. But James isn’t so worried.

James doesn’t seem convinced that a war is coming in the early scenes of the episode. That does change though when news comes that Britain has allied itself with Poland in case Germany invades it.

Eventually, Tristan asks to see James regarding his fears about Siegfried hooking him up with Deirdre Headingley. James does not seem to be of much help, since he takes little interest in Tristan’s worries.

I don’t know what Tristan expects James to do to help him. Maybe he’s expecting James to return favours for him in helping him in his love life with Helen. Something James would prefer to forget here.

I’m not sure, but when Tristan asks James to help out a second time, James doesn’t seem to have given much thought on the issue. This is when Tristan’s tasked to tape the windows in case of bombing.

As a result of James not helping him, Tristan passes the task to tape the windows to James under Siegfried’s orders. This is of course a lie by Tristan, but James doesn’t know and he tapes the windows.

Siegfried comes home to find James frustrated at having to work hard on taping the windows. But he learns from Siegfried that he never asked him to tape the windows since he asked Tristan to do it first.

I just find it amusing how Siegfried and James tolerate Tristan’s childishness in the series. Tristan can vary in terms of a character from being responsible in one instance to being pretty reckless in another.

Siegfried also makes the decision that the Skeldale family should conserve food and heating by eating their meals together. This means James and Helen can’t have meals together in their home in the attic.

This clearly puts James and Helen out as I’m sure they look forward to their meals together when in the attic. 😀 But of course Siegfried’s reasons for economising are justified due to the prospect of war.

But this does backfire when Mrs. Hall takes Siegfried’s instructions to economise a bit too seriously. This happens during their first meal together as the Skeldale family get given ‘tripe’ to eat by Mrs. Hall.

Yeah. Now, I’ve never eaten tripe in my life before. But I can imagine it’s not very nice to eat. Seeing that look on Siegfried’s face as well as on the others confirmed that as well as ‘The Vicar of Dibley’. 😀

I believe Siegfried and Tristan try to find ways of making Mrs. Hall give the tripe to someone else so that they can get another meal from her. Mrs. Hall is clearly put out by this and who could blame her.

Meanwhile, James treats a sick dog named Hamish who belongs to a formidable woman, Joan Young as Miss Westerman. Hamish needs an operation. Miss Westerman gets annoyed about collecting him.

This is because she has to do a coffee morning session somewhere. A local church probably. Miss Westerman gets more annoyed since the operation’s delayed on the morning James is meant to do it.

That’s because James and Tristan are attending to some piglets belonging to Al Gillyon as Mr. Stokill. James tries to give the piglets some injections but the sow seems very over-protective of her offspring.

James tries to herd the sow into a sty someplace else with a broom, which doesn’t work, until Mr. Stokill uses a bucket to do it. It was amusing to watch that scene as they could’ve used the bucket first.

Anyway, James performs the operation on Hamish the dog, which was rather gruesome to see. Honestly, I had to look away a number of times seeing James use bloodied cardigan buttons to do this.

Thankfully the job is completed but only until late at night. Tristan is tasked to oversee Hamish’s recovery in the living room. This means he has to miss out on the evening do the Skeldale family are going to.

This is something that Tristan is rather happy about. But Siegfried’s annoyed since he wanted all the Skeldale family to have a good time and he also wanted to hook Tristan and Deidre during the evening.

Eventually Siegfried relents and agrees for Tristan to stay home to look after Hamish recovering from his operation. Tristan takes an opportunity to invite Lydia round while everyone is out for that evening.

But Siegfried’s plans for a night out with the Skeldale family worsen in not going according to plan. For you see, Colin Fay as P.C. Blenkiron phones James to tend to one injured stray dog at the police station.

P.C. Blenkiron has been in ‘All Creatures’ before since he was in the Series 1 episodes, ‘Nothing Like Experience’ and ‘Puppy Love’. This is the third and final time Blenkiron appears in ‘All Creatures’ itself.

I also discovered that Colin Fay played Condo in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Brain of Morbius’ with Tom Baker. I wouldn’t have recognised Colin Fay here from that since he looks so different and ordinary.

Anyway, James decides to go and see to the injured stray dog with Helen accompanying him. Siegfried gets angry about this, as he selfishly forgets his veterinarian duties in wanting to have a posh evening.

At the police station, James sees to the stray dog and it looks very serious. The poor dog looks pretty bad and it seems like James has to work all night and forgo the posh evening altogether in this instance.

It’s such a shame as Helen also looks lovely in her blue evening dress whilst James and Siegfried look posh in their dinner suits. Siegfried soon comes in and James asks him to help him attend to the animal.

Siegfried, reluctantly and grudgingly, eventually puts his vet duties first and attends to the dog. Seeing Siegfried’s determination to attend to the dog along with James was pretty awe-inspiring to see here.

Meanwhile, Tristan enjoys his evening with Lydia in the episode. Unlike the previous two occasions where Tristan had relationships with girlfriends we never saw on TV, we actually get to watch this one.

It was funny beforehand when Tristan was setting things up for a romantic evening with a darkly lit room and music in the background before Mrs. Hall entered. Mrs. Hall sees two glasses full of brandy.

I like how Mrs. Hall doesn’t say anything whilst Tristan gently tries to get rid of her. After Mrs. Hall is gone, Tristan realises Mrs. Hall saw the two glasses on brandy on the table and he sighs in annoyance.

The romantic interludes we see between Tristan and Lydia are fleeting and thank goodness for it quite frankly. I don’t know what Tristan sees in Lydia really as she does come across as rather common here.

When James goes back to collect something from the surgery for the injured stray dog, Tristan clearly panicked as he sent Lydia out of the house through the French windows, thinking that it was Siegfried.

When he realises it wasn’t Siegfried and that it was James all along, Tristan gets annoyed about it. But he becomes more panic-stricken when he loses Hamish who ran out with the French windows opened.

It was so amusing to watch those scenes where Tristan looks for Hamish out in the dark. He does not get the nice reception from Lydia, who returns to lay on her annoyance and frustration at Tristan here.

The comedy escalates when Miss Westerman enters the open-doored house whilst Tristan is out looking for Hamish. Miss Westerman sees that Hamish is gone and gets so angry with Tristan about it.

Thankfully James brings in Hamish back for Tristan and gives him to Miss Westerman. Apparently Hamish was found and brought to the police station to be collected, which is a superb relief for Tristan.

Unfortunately Tristan is called an ‘idiot’ by Miss Westerman who takes Hamish with her as she leaves Skeldale House. James repeats Miss Westerman’s words and calls Tristan an ‘idiot’ too. Poor Tristan. 😀

Tristan is not out of the woods yet as Siegfried learnt of Hamish being found and brought to the police station whilst he was attending to the injured stray dog. Thankfully Siegfried doesn’t lash out on Trist.

The stray dog also gets a new owner in P.C. Blenkiron once he’s healed by James and Siegfried. I thought it was very good of P.C. Blenkiron who was willing to own the stray dog who didn’t have anyone.

‘Be Prepared’ foreshadows things to come regarding our ‘All Creatures’ regulars when the prospect of war is imminent. The episode also features some good comedy when Tristan has lost Hamish the dog!

‘Be Prepared’ rating – 8/10

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