‘Calf Love’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

calf love all creatures

I imagine the BBC got the titles mixed up when they came to name the third and fourth episodes of ‘All Creatures’. If you recall, the third is called ‘It Takes All Kinds’. This fourth one is called ‘Calf Love’.

I think ‘Calf Love’ would have been suited to the third episode considering it had a calf in it and it focused on James Herriot’s love for Helen Alderson. There aren’t any calves for this specific episode.

Okay, actually I take it back. There is one calf that James takes out from a cow towards the end of the episode. But there wasn’t a love story in that was there? In fact, the love story part is at the end.

But I’ll get into that more when we get to that part. Anyway, ‘Calf Love’ was adapted by Anthony Steven from the books by ‘James Herriot’. Stop! Wait! Anthony Steven?! He wrote this TV episode?!

For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, Anthony Steven would later write the first ‘Doctor Who’ story with Colin Baker entitled ‘The Twin Dilemma’. Wow! This is a contrast compared to that.

This episode is also directed by Terrence Dudley, who I know very well for writing my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘Black Orchid’. He would write and direct quite a number of ‘All Creatures’ tales.

‘Calf Love’ begins with James tackling a uncooperative pig that squeals a lot. This is Stan Richards as Mr. Charlie Dent’s sow that has an ear infection. This episode should have been entitled ‘Pig’s Love’.

As you can gather, James finds it difficult to get the pig sorted. He insults the sow and hopes her ear ‘hurts like hell’. I don’t blame him. I can see why Peter Davison said pigs are so difficult to work with.

Upon James’ return to Skeldale House, he’s in a smelly state and Siegfried has a young lady friend named Felicity. I don’t know where Siegfried picked this young lady from and she doesn’t say much.

Tristan meanwhile goes out on a night of ‘bell-ringing’, which we don’t see in this episode apparently. Siegfried tells Tristan not to get drunk, but of course you cannot trust him with that task.

Next morning, when James is about to go out on a case to save a cow, he finds Tristan lying drunk in the car. Tristan apparently was sick all over the passenger seat. Very glad we do not get to see that.

I found it funny when Tristan walks back into the house and finds Siegfried standing up there on the stairs waiting for him. Siegfried doesn’t lash out at Tristan since he simply smiles at his little brother.

Tristan and Siegfried also get to discover that James has ‘the hots’ (I know, that’s not in the episode) for Helen Alderson. James tries to deny this, but Siegfried and Tristan seem pretty encouraging of it.

This is from Tristan mentioning that Helen is seemingly going out with Norman Mann as Richard Edmundson. This is apparently a rival for James when he tries to win Helen’s heart during the series.

There’s actually a scene where James meets Richard Edmundson in the surgery when he comes to ask Siegfried to take a look at his mare. Clearly Edmundson is obnoxious and James is not fond of him.

I liked that scene when James comes back after sorting out a cow in a river and Mrs. Hall immediately looks after him with a cup of tea and brandy in the kitchen. Mrs. Hall is a kind lady here.

There’s something about Siegfried’s character I got to address here. When he gets told by Miss Harbottle about a dead sheep, he mishears the farmer’s name as he thinks it’s ‘Heaton’ not ‘Seaton’.

Even James tries to tell Siegfried of his error, but Siegfried is convinced it was ‘Heaton’ not ‘Seaton’. They turn up at the Seatons’ farm where Siegfried and James meet Margaret Heery as Mrs. Seaton.

It plays out for an embarrassing moment when Siegfried gets told by Mrs. Seaton that they do not own sheep at their farm. On their way out, Siegfried tells James that ‘he should have informed him’.

Err…James did tell you, Siegfried?! How can this character be so inconsistent and not admit his mistakes. I found it funny with James’ reaction to Siegfried. He simply smiles and doesn’t say a word.

By the way, Siegfried suggests that he, James and Tristan should have a litter of pigs to look after. This is something Tristan is against as he soon runs out sick, mostly due to his ‘bell-ringing’ night out.

This leads me to talk about Margaretta Scott as Mrs. Pumphrey with Tricki-Woo (hey they’re back again!). In this TV episode, Mrs. Pumphrey now owns a little pig that she names Nugent. Okay, why?!

Why would Mrs. Pumphrey own a pig as well as a dog in her own household? Apparently it’s to keep Tricki-Woo company. Well, why couldn’t she get another dog? A female breed of Tricki-Woo’s kind?

James firmly tells Mrs. Pumphrey that she can’t keep the pig inside the house, since he would get ill if he wasn’t outside. I loved it when the housemaid is delighted to hear this news. I’m sure many are.

This episode also features the final appearance (thank goodness) of Madge Ryan as Miss Harbottle. Siegfried has been trying to avoid Miss Harbottle in this story as thankfully it comes to the last straw.

During a phone call Miss Harbottle takes, Siegfried tells her that he’s ‘not in’ to a certain caller (a colonel I think it was). But Miss Harbottle refuses to lie on Siegfried’s behalf. He has to take the call.

Siegfried is outraged by the caller’s phone call as well as Miss Harbottle’s disobedience. He eventually tears up two sheets of paper in front of Miss Harbottle’s face, which does scare her a lot.

The next day, Tristan receives a letter from Miss Harbottle to say she’s resigned from her services. Siegfried is clearly delighted and he goes off in the car, singing, saying it is a ‘beautiful day’ today. 😀

Tristan also has his success in the episode. Instead of going out for a dance night in his fine clothes, Tristan is ordered by Siegfried to go out and sort Mr. Dent’s troublesome pig. Siegfried is cruel here.

Later that night, Tristan returns home in a smelly state and informs James he succeeded in sorting out the pig’s ear. This involved ‘booting her arse’. Tristan’s so different to the Fifth Doctor here, hey?

This episode also features George A. Cooper (who I’ve seen in a lot of BBC sitcoms and dramas) as Mr. Crump. After sorting out Crump’s horse, James is offered to try some of his specially made wine.

After Pearl Hackney (who I’ve just discovered was in this episode and she voiced Mrs. Pike in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series) as Mrs. Crump leaves with her kids, James agrees to try Mr. Crump’s wine.

What follows is a hilarious scene where James and Mrs. Crump are completely drunk. Christopher Timothy’s so good playing a drunken James in ‘All Creatures’. This is before he goes and sorts a cow.

Yeah. James, in his drunken state, sorts out a pregnant cow and manages to do it rather well. It’s funny to watch with James dropping the soap. He then puts his arm up a cow. I had to look away. 😀

The last scene has James with Carol Drinkwater as Helen (yeah she’s in one scene of this episode) at the Darrowby Music Society where he asks her out. She agrees before they drop a cup on the floor.

Yikes, I’ve said a lot about this episode. Clearly I enjoyed it. It might have an inappropriate title (it should have been called ‘It Takes All Kinds’ instead), but this had a lot going on and was fun to watch.

‘Calf Love’ rating – 9/10

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2 thoughts on “‘Calf Love’ (TV)

  1. darrowby85

    Ah, so I suppose there is a calf and there is love. But the name still fits the previous episode far better, whereas ‘It Takes All Kinds’ could be safely applied to pretty much any All Creatures episode, since it implies eccentric characters, of which there seem to be plenty in the vicinity of Darrowby!

    I had forgotten that Tristan mentioned ‘booting [the pig’s] arse’. Tut, tut! I certainly can’t imagine the Fifth Doctor using that kind of language. I seem to remember that the language was even fruitier in the Herriot books, but had to be toned down a bit for Sunday tea-time viewing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Yeah I agree. The episode title ‘Calf Love’ would have suited the third episode more despite there being a calf being delivered by James and one love scene between him and Helen at the end. I’m not sure what the logic behind these episode titles was all about, but I guess it was a struggle for the production team to come up with them whilst adapting ‘James Herriot’s books into certain episodes during Series 1.

      I’m surprised you forgot Tristan booted the pig’s ‘arse’ in your review of this episode. Yeah that is a shock Peter Davison using language like that, but then again I suppose it was tame for Sunday evening entertainment. Interesting insight you have there on the language used in the James Herriot books.

      Thanks Vicky. Glad you enjoyed my review on the episode. See you for the next one.

      Tim. 🙂



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