‘CATS AND DOGS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Series 2 of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ begins with all of the main cast back together again. Clearly Series 1 was such a huge success on BBC TV that they had to do another TV season full of lovely stories.
It’s lovely to look back on those times when I was watching ‘All Creatures’ on DVD back in 2003. Clearly my parents and I loved watching Series 1 of ‘All Creatures’ as we had to get Series 2 in its two DVD box sets to enjoy.
The first episode of Series 2, ‘Cats and Dogs’, is by Brian Finch, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books. It is also directed by Peter Moffatt. Clearly Brian Finch and Peter Moffatt are favourites in ‘All Creatures’!
The episode begins with Carol Drinkwater as Helen Herriot looking at a newspaper, seeing a headline about Hitler and Nazi Germany. Knowing what’s to come, it’s so clear our main characters are worried.
I like how this aspect of the episode gets touched upon now and again. This is especially when James and Helen are together and hear a plane flying overhead. Helen is worried whether they will be a war.
James is equally concerned about it but claims there’s nothing they can do about it. The first three seasons of ‘All Creatures’ are all based on ‘James Herriot’s books, leading up to the Second World War.
Anyway, Robert Hardy as Siegfried enters the surgery where Helen is reading the newspapers before she puts it away. By the way, the surgery’s redecorated with a beige colour on the walls instead of white.
Siegfried looks to see the surgery waiting room full of people including Rio Fanning as Joe Mulligan with his dog Clancy. ‘Womitin’ again, has that dog? Well, no actually. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.
Being told by Helen that James has gone out and Tristan is still in bed, Siegfried goes upstairs to wake his little brother up. Peter Davison as Tristan hasn’t had a very good night last night. Bell-ringing again.
By the way, we haven’t seen Tristan do any of this ‘bell-ringing’ yet. At this point, I’m pretty sure he and James go off to do ‘bell-ringing’ in a future episode. When is that going to happen in the TV series?
But yeah, Tristan’s not feeling up to it despite Siegfried forcing him out of bed to get down and do some work in the surgery. Tristan gets up and goes to open the window where he tells a singing bird to ‘shut up’.
What has that bird done to you, Trist? Eventually Tristan goes downstairs to see Christopher Timothy as James who comes back from seeing Mrs. Pumphrey and her dog Tricki Woo who has just been sick.
Don’t get your hopes too high about Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo making an appearance in this episode. They don’t. I was rather disappointed. We haven’t seen these two for a while now, have we?
Tristan attends to see Mr. Mulligan and his dog Clancy. Apparently there’s something wrong with its foot and a strange smell comes from it. Tristan inspects Clancy’s foot before he goes off to be sick. 😀
James, who’s in the surgery doing something else, eventually goes and inspects Mulligan’s dog in Tristan’s absence. Apparently Clancy’s foot is suffering from a form of sweating which is very unusual.
By the way, I noticed in the end credits for this episode that the series now has veterinary advisors. I’m not sure if they were present during Series 1, but I guess they must have been uncredited for that.
Tristan meanwhile intends to come up with a way to look busy when Siegfried turns up to find him. This is to prevent him spotted being lazy as well as having cigarettes and having a drink once in a while.
I don’t think it’s clear in the episode what Tristan’s doing to achieve this, but it seems to work for a short while. This is until Siegfried catches Tristan in the act of sleeping with some assistance from James.
I found it funny when Siegfried tells James to be quiet upon his return and to time him in sneaking up on Tristan in the living room. This is before James enters with a bang on the door and wakes Tristan up.
Siegfried uses all forms of demeaning words on Tristan, calling him ‘feckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ (I think). Tristan tries to explain but Siegfried tells him to “Shut up!” before he gives his brother a chance.
I found it funny when that happened and James found it funny too when he meet up with Helen in the hall. I think it’s fair we have got used to Siegfried and Tristan’s ‘brotherly’ relationship by this point.
In the episode, Siegfried gets James and Helen together and talks to them about moving out of the cramped room they’ve been sleeping in. James and Helen are rather perturbed by Siegfried’s request.
They assume Siegfried wants them to leave to find a new house. But it turns out Siegfried wants James and Helen to have a flat at the top of Skeldale House. He gets to show the flat to them in order to reassure them.
I just like that build-up where James and Helen are anxious and annoyed that Siegfried wants them to move out but instead wants them to stay in the top of the house. It’s pretty well-handled in the writing.
James and Helen seem to like the idea of living in the flat at the top of Skeldale House. I’m surprised that was there all this time in the series. The flat has two rooms and need to be decorated and refurbished.
The flat’s covered in dust and the walls are rather tatty. But James and Helen see to it to have the place redecorated with new wallpaper and have a new fireplace. I like how this is progressed in the tale.
There is a scene where Tristan seemed to be flirting with Helen for a moment in front of James in the flat. But Helen nicely backs Tristan off. That look of concern on James’ face was hilarious to watch.
The episode also introduces us to Sonia Graham as Mrs. Bond with her husband Michael Lees as Mr. Bond. Mrs. Bond is a woman obsessed with cats. She’s dedicated her home to looking after stray cats.
Mrs. Bond has this one cat called Boris, who seems to be a ferocious beast and is a problem when James, Siegfried and Tristan try to give him an injection. This was a very funny situation to watch here.
James later describes Boris as a miniature puma masquerading as a domestic cat. I’m not sure if Boris is actually a puma, but the way he behaves erratically throughout the episode does make some sense.
One wonders why Mrs. Bond keeps Boris as a cat, considering he’s a problem. One also wonders how Mrs. Bond manages to keep him. She must use those gauntlets a lot to protect herself being scratched.
James is the first vet to have a problem with Boris. He can’t give Boris his injection and gets scratched on the finger. Siegfried and Tristan scoff at James in that he can’t handle giving an injection to one cat.
I liked that scene in the surgery when Helen attends to James’ scratched finger and it’s an almost maternal when he’s seems to be acting like a ‘baby’. There’s even a moment where Helen gives James a sweet. 😀
The challenge is then made by James to Siegfried to try and give the injection to Boris. Siegfried takes on the challenge, but he finds it a struggle to give Boris an injection especially when climbing a ladder.
By the way, Mr. Bond sits in his chair all day in the house and doesn’t say anything apart from giving words of caution about Boris to James. The way Tristan handles Boris is…well, I’ll save this for the end.
The episode also features the return of George Malpas as Mr. Dean who previously appeared in ‘Dog Days’ during Series 1. If you don’t remember Mr. Dean, he once had a dog who had sadly passed away.
But then Mr. Dean had a new dog and even gave James a cigar when he was happy. In this episode, Mr. Dean seems to be on his way to dying. Dean sees James about giving his dog a new home after he dies.
James agrees to make sure this is carried out. It’s a sweet little story in the episode especially when Mr. Dean does die and a little boy comes round to give the dog to James upon the dying man’s request.
James has the dog with him when they’re attending Mr. Dean’s funeral from a distance. It’s sad to watch this, but hopefully (and I’m sure this has happened) James finds a new home for the dog once it is over.
Also in the episode, James sees to a farmer’s newly purchased and very expensive bull calf. This farmer is Robin Scobey as Harry Sumner. Harry seems a nice chap, but gets concerned when his bull calf is ill.
James examines the bull calf, but has trouble trying to find a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment. He even works late at night in order to find that diagnosis and treatment he needs to give to that calf.
Soon James has his ‘eureka’ moment, almost waking up the whole house when Helen tells him to keep quiet. James even phones up Harry Sumner to tell him the good news before he goes over to see him.
At Harry’s farm, James helps to save the bull calf by taking out a…I’m not sure what it is…some sort of stone perhaps. But anyway, James takes it out, getting his hand rather bloodied in saving the bull calf.
I’m glad this didn’t end the same way as in ‘Bulldog Breed’ with another situation involving cows. Harry seems happy that James saved his bull calf. James is rather pleased about it too when he chats to him.
The episode ends with Tristan seeing to Boris the cat inside the Bonds’ house. And he does it in the most extreme way possible by chasing Boris around and getting angry in the process, smashing plates.
I couldn’t help but get a thrill of excitement, entertainment and comedy from watching that scene. Peter Davison really goes for it in chasing Boris around the room and you can really feel his frustration.
He climbs up onto the cabinet containing Mrs. Bond’s finest china plates to chase Boris. The cabinet then topples over and ends up smashing the plates, just when Mrs. Bond enters to see all the mayhem.
As they leave, Tristan apologises for the damage to Mrs. Bond. But as he walks off, Mrs. Bond outwardly tells James to never to bring that young man again. I couldn’t help feel a pang of pain for Tristan there.
But as James and Tristan leave in the car, they laugh over the hilarity of that situation. I just think that’s such a great way to end the episode, especially in how the two vets share their experiences over Boris.
‘Cats and Dogs’ is a great beginning to Series 2 of ‘All Creatures’. I like how James and Helen move into their new home atop of Skeldale House and the storyline of Boris ‘the nightmare cat’ was very amusing.
‘Cats and Dogs’ rating – 9/10
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