Please feel free to comment on my review.
It wasn’t very long when my parents and I continued watching ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ in the second episode of the series. This is where everything came together, especially with the main cast.
It’s also the episode that would introduce me to the actor that I would enjoy seeing in years to come – Peter Davison. Back in 2003, ‘All Creatures’ was the first time I watched Peter Davison in anything.
‘Dog Days’ was adapted by Brian Finch from the books by ‘James Herriot’. Brian Finch was a renowned TV writer at the time. He almost contributed a ‘Doctor Who’ lost story meant for TV called ‘Leviathan’.
This episode was also directed by Peter Moffat. Peter would go on to direct a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories in the 1980s, including three with Peter Davison’s Doctor. I’m pleased he directed this.
Anyway, ‘Dog Days’ follows up what happened in the previous episode with Siegfried going off to do the post mortem on the horse James shot. This is at Lord Hulton’s farm where Mr. Soames’ present.
George Selway reprises his role as Mr. Soames in the episode. It is clear Soames was careless in his actions to look after the sick horse for Lord Hulton and is determined to prove James Herriot wrong.
But Siegfried puts a stop to this as it turns out James was correct in his diagnosis and putting the poor animal out of his misery. It was tense when Siegfried returned. He was silent first before James.
Then it turns out he was teasing James before revealing the good news. I’m sure many newcomers to jobs would feel like that if they find they had a hard job to do and wondered whether they failed.
Siegfried then sends James off to do some ‘trouble-free’ cases (yeah right), whilst he goes off to do something else. Probably visit his ‘mother’ perhaps. He also asks James to pick up his brother Tristan.
Tristan is Siegfried’s younger brother and is coming home from taking exams at veterinary college. Siegfried essentially describes Tristan as a younger-looking version of himself. I debate that though.
Anyway, James goes off to sort out a case of a cow who won’t get up after calving. This cow belongs to Peter Martin as Mr. Handshaw who calls his cow a ‘bitch’. Whoa! Strong language, Handshaw!! 😀
When James meets Handshaw, he and two other farmers have theories on how to get the cow back up on her feet. This does go on a bit, including some ‘shouting’ before James conducts his diagnosis.
James soon concludes that the cow has a broken pelvis; will never get up again and suggests Handshaw sends her off to the butcher. It transpires James left the gate open and the cows escaped.
Seriously, how come James forgot to close the gate behind him when he went into Handshaw’s farm? Surely he would have known the animals would have ‘walked about’. Handshaw is not happy.
After that, we meet the star we’ve all been waiting for – Peter Davison as Tristan Farnon. It’s amazing this actor would have a huge impact on me in later years when I watched this back in 2003.
Peter Davison’s so young-looking in ‘All Creatures’ and this is what made him famous. Well, at least before he became famous again in some other series about a Doctor who travels in time and space.
James picks up Tristan from the railway station. From what I’ve seen in his first episode, Tristan is a reckless, youthful, almost juvenile person. He fancies the ladies; loves his drink and he smokes a lot.
In the first episode, Tristan and James get on well with each other, although it’s not an immediate buddying relationship. Tristan also has this tendency to play pranks on James during the TV episode.
Back home, later that night, Tristan is reunited with his brother Siegfried, although the reunion is rather tense, especially in that living room. James has yet to know the relationship between the two.
Tristan reveals that he did well in his parasitology exam but failed in pathology. James is clearly the peacemaker in the room when Tristan shares his news. James says Tristan did very well in his exams.
Yeah, of course! Tristan did well in parasitology. It doesn’t matter if he failed in pathology. I mean, he can always reapply for his exams and do them again for Christmas. No need to worry about this…
“You’re sacked!” says Siegfried to Tristan. Okay, maybe Siegfried’s not so forgiving. Yeah, Siegfried erupts in anger after being silent for a bit and gives Tristan a right ticking off. And then he fires him.
Well, that was a short stint for Peter Davison in ‘All Creatures’ after Siegfried tells him to get out. Siegfried even calls Tristan a ‘parasite’ after he leaves. Brotherly love – is it? This is a good start, hey?
James then visits Tristan in his room to tell him how sorry he is that things haven’t worked out. James wonders where Tristan is going to go. Tristan tells him he’s staying. James gets confused here.
Apparently Siegfried is always sacking him and forgets about it afterwards. Inconsistent character, Siegfried is. Peter Davison and I laughed when talking about those scenes in Folkestone, May 2018.
Eventually we then come to the second big star of the episode – the cute dog Tricki-Woo, owned by Margaretta Scott as Mrs. Pumphrey. Tricki-Woo was often the highlight for me during ‘All Creatures’.
When James goes to see Tricki-Woo with Mrs. Pumphrey, the dog happens to have ‘flop-bott’. This comes from the over-eating Tricki has given to him by Mrs. Pumphrey. She clearly dots on her Tricki.
Mrs. Pumphrey also seems to treat Tricki-Woo as a real person instead of a dog. She comes across as very eccentric when chatting to James. But she’s very nice and comes across as harmless in the story.
There’s a lovely scene where James phones Mrs. Pumphrey to thank Tricki-Woo for the stilton cheese delivered to him and he even talks to the dog. I do that every time with my cuddly toy dog. 😀
There’s a funny moment when Tristan plays a prank on James by disguising his voice as a Yorkshire farmer who wants him to sort out his horse single-handed. He does it whilst he’s inside a phone box.
Tristan also has a girlfriend with him. It was funny when Tristan and his girlfriend burst into laughter inside the phone box and James realises it’s him. James gets pretty annoyed by Tristan’s prank here.
Thankfully James gets his own back on Tristan as he plays the same prank in a phone box. He calls Tristan up, disguising his voice as a farmer wanting a cow job done that Tristan does not want to do.
I found it funny when the next day, in the surgery; Tristan tells James that he’ll get back on him someday. It is without the scene where Tristan realises James played the prank on him as he did him.
There’s George Malpas as Mr. Dean who loses his dog but gets a new one; Teddy Turner as Hodgekin who works for Mrs. Pumphrey and also Georgina Melville as Diana Brompton, Siegfried’s lady-friend.
I’ve said a lot about this episode. I clearly like ‘Dog Days’. It is a great second episode in ‘All Creatures’. This one features a great introduction to Tristan Farnon as well as to Tricki-Woo and Mrs. Pumphrey.
‘Dog Days’ rating – 9/10
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