‘Choose a Bright Morning’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

It’s time for the third episode of Series 5 in ‘All Creatures’. This is where things get set up for certain characters including Tristan’s long absence from the series. We’ll get to that once we get to it later on.

Helen is still bedridden for this episode. Is there any indication Helen will be back on her feet anytime soon? And of course, Calum returns after doing that tuberculin testing in Ireland for about two weeks.

Andrea Gibb as Deirdre also comes back in the series. There is a little more exploration of the relationship between Calum and Deirdre in the episode, but I will share my feelings about that later on.

‘Choose a Bright Morning’ is the title of the third episode in Series 5 of the TV series. What I’ve noticed is the titles for these episodes gets said by characters at some point. Here, the title’s stated at the end.

This episode, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Anthony Steven. This is the first contribution in a long while by Anthony Steven for ‘All Creatures’. He wrote a number of episodes for the first three seasons.

These include ‘Calf Love’, ‘The Last Furlong’, ‘Breath of Life’, ‘Fair Means and Fowl’, ‘Faint Hearts’, ‘Pride of Possession’, ‘Merry Gentlemen’ and ‘Matters of Life and Death’. Wow! Quite a selection here. 😀

Anthony Steven has also written the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Twin Dilemma’ with Colin Baker. After this ‘All Creatures’ episode, Anthony Steven would write more episodes. It’s nice for him to come back.

Robert Tronson returns again to direct his third of four contributions as a director to Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. It is interesting how this pattern of directors gets arranged for certain blocks in each season.

The background for the ‘All Creatures’ title card has changed again with less snow this time. However, it’s still snowing according to the ‘Peter Davison as Tristan’ slide when the opening credits are running.

In this episode, there’s a 14-year-old girl who loves riding a white horse. Is it the Moon Stallion? 😀 The girl is Hannah Thomson as Kate Ingram. Unfortunately, the girl has this accident in riding the horse.

The horse jumps over fences and suffers a serious fall when Kate’s riding him. Kate is distressed as she takes the horse back to the owner’s stable. He soon meets Siegfried on the way who drives by car.

Siegfried is very concerned about the horse as he helps Kate to escort it back to the owner’s stable. The horse’s owner happens to be Donald Pickering as Sir Robert. I have seen Donald Pickering before.

He was in three ‘Doctor Who’ stories including ‘The Keys of Marinus’ with William Hartnell, ‘The Faceless Ones’ with Patrick Troughton and ‘Time and the Rani’ with Sylvester McCoy. He’s pretty good.

He was also in the 12-part drama series ‘The Pallisers’. I was delighted to see him in this ‘All Creatures’ episode and he happens to have this good friendship with Siegfried when concerned about the horse.

As the episode progresses, Siegfried does his best but struggles to find a cure for the injured horse. In the end, the horse gets put down which was very sad to see as I watched the episode when it occurred.

But Sir Robert is very determined that the white horse’s ears are pricked up when Siegfried does the actual deed. Kate is made to not attend the moment when Sir Robert actually puts the horse to ‘sleep’.

Incidentally, the horse’s name is Shameless. That’s a rather unfortunate name since it had no shame when it injured itself before it’s put down. I wonder if a lot of people and animals are called Shameless.

The way that the horse is put down is very unusual. A cavalry of red uniformed horse riders with their dogs play their bugles for the moment. The dogs bark and the horse’s ears are pricked up before it gets shot.

This subplot ends with Kate now practicing riding on a new horse, supervised by Henry Drewry as Tom Mariner. Donald Pickering’s character says the episode’s title before the episode finishes on that note.

But let’s go back before we actually finish this review. 😀 With James, there is this subplot where he meets Pearl Hackney as Mrs. Hird! Pearl Hackney! Wow! I’ve seen and heard Pearl Hackney before. 😀

In the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series, she played Mrs. Pike instead of Janet Davies. She’s also been in ‘All Creatures’ before but as a different character since she appeared in the Series 1 episode called ‘Calf Love’.

In this episode, Mrs. Hird brings in a cat that she doesn’t want and she asks James to put her down. But James doesn’t see any need to put the cat down and refuses to do what Mrs. Hird asks him to do.

Mrs. Hird is outraged of course but James makes a good stand against her. He later names the cat Tabitha. Helen is allowed to have the cat on her bed but can’t keep it as it needs to have a new owner.

It was funny when Mrs. Hird came back later on in the episode and demanded to have Tabitha back. But of course James has given the cat away to another owner and refuses to tells Mr. Hird who it was.

Speaking of which, James also gets introduced to a family of cat lovers. They live in a house that is a two hour walk in a field. James goes out to see them. The family is led by Olga Graham as Ruth Bramley.

At first, the reception that James gets when meeting Mrs. Graham’s family and her cats is not so friendly. They do not even offer him a cup after his two hour walk to their house and it is all a quick job.

But it turns out Mrs. Graham is quite a nice soul as she goes to the trouble of seeing James at Skeldale surgery rather than him going out to see them all their house. She even catches a bus to visit James here.

Mrs. Graham takes on James’ advice to see that the cats are well-tended to. James even gives Mrs. Graham a special kind of new medicine for the cats. It turns out to work fine in the end, which is great.

James soon gives Mrs. Graham the cat Tabitha to look after once it’s fully better. Mrs. Graham willingly takes Tabitha back home with her since she is a cat lover. Hasn’t she got enough cats at home already? 😀

Like I said, Calum is back from Ireland. He must be relieved not to have to do anymore tuberculin testing. He’s equally thrilled to hear when Deirdre comes to spend a week in Darrowby. It sounds nice.

This episode highlights Calum and Deirdre’s relationship in an interesting way. Although they’re happy to see each other again at the railway station when they meet, the two do end up getting edgy in this.

Calum was hoping to spend more time with Deirdre, but the week doesn’t go quite as planned. Deirdre finds herself having to take on a lot of responsibilities in Skeldale House whilst Helen has her back out.

Calum gets frustrated when Deirdre doesn’t seem to be paying more attention to him in the episode. There’s also the tension that Tristan might be trying to woo Deirdre again which was intriguing to see.

In Series 4, Calum literally stole Deirdre from under Tristan’s wing. It’s interesting how this gets readdressed and how Calum and Deirdre end up having arguments with each other in their relationship.

I did like the conversations Deirdre had with Helen when they talk about her feelings towards Calum. Deirdre gets anxious when she feels she and Calum are getting edgy whilst Helen tries to reassure her.

Just on a side note, Deidre brings in meals for Helen whilst she’s still lying in bed in that uncomfortable position. Again, isn’t it going to cause quite a spillage when Helen eats and drinks lying in that position?

Calum was hoping to propose marriage to Deirdre at some point in the episode. It doesn’t quite help when Calum ends up getting drunk at the Drovers. James is there with Calum when he’s getting drunk.

Pretty soon, Calum has it out with Deirdre in his drunken state. Deirdre soon ends up leaving Calum and going back to Edinburgh. I wonder if Calum and Deirdre will reunite together again later in the series.

I know I’ve criticised Calum and Deirdre’s relationship in Series 4 in terms of how it was handled. But for what it’s worth, I do at least care about them and I hope something interesting will get developed.

I’m not sure what the direction of Calum’s development as a character is in Series 5, but it’s certainly different to how Calum was developed during Series 4. Maybe it will help with Tristan out of the way.

Speaking of which, Tristan has a tough time in this episode. He has to treat a dog belonging to Kay Mellor as Mrs. Butterworth with her family of children, including Sarah Stubbs as Wendy Butterworth.

It was amusing when Tristan still had his cup of tea in his hand when Siegfried called him to attend the Butterworths’ dog. Tristan wasn’t keen to go out. He must’ve been relaxing once Siegfried called for him.

I think Tristan used mustard to make the dog better. Not sure how that worked. But anyway, the dog gets better and seems to take great joy in biting Tristan. What did Tristan do to upset that dog in this?

When Tristan visits the Butterworths’ house for a second time, the dog gets a chance to bite him in the heel. I fully appreciate Tristan’s frustration about this. I wouldn’t like a dog to bite me in the heel. 😀

Tristan has more problems when his car breaks down in the middle of the snowy countryside. Tristan has to walk all the way with his recent bad heel. Thankfully someone comes in a car to take him home.

I like how Siegfried shows concern for his brother when he’s wrapped up in a warm blanket and sitting next to the stove in the kitchen. Tristan also has some nice conversations with Deirdre in this episode.

Tristan even gets to see Deidre off at the railway station when she leaves Calum after having an argument with him. Tristan hopes he didn’t cause any trouble but Deidre reassures him that he didn’t.

Later on, Tristan shares with Siegfried how he hopes to take a holiday sometime. He subsequently learns that he must go to Ireland for the next month and continue all that tuberculin testing Calum did.

Tristan is outraged about this as it’s something he didn’t want to do in the first place and he tried to avoid doing it. I thought it was cruel of Siegfried to do that and it means we won’t see Trist for a while.

As Tristan makes his way back into the house, he gets attacked by the Butterworths’ dog again as it bites him and he loses his temper. Siegfried laughs when he sees Tristan argue with Mrs. Butterworth.

After talking to James about it and receiving a fourth (yes, fourth!) attack by the Butterworths’ dog, Tristan decides to go to Ireland after all. Don’t worry. We’ll see him in the next episode before he goes.

‘Choose a Bright Morning’ has been a good episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. My parents and I are enjoying these episodes as we go through them, but it won’t be the same once Tristan leaves for a while.

‘Choose a Bright Morning’ rating – 8/10

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