‘Golden Lads and Girls’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘Golden Lads and Girls’ was adapted by Brian Finch from the ‘James Herriot’ books. Brian Finch previously wrote the second episode of the series, ‘Dog Days’, adapted from the ‘James Herriot’ books.

The episode was directed by Terrence Dudley. As well as ‘Black Orchid’ in ‘Doctor Who’, he also wrote ‘Four To Doomsday’ and ‘The King’s Demons’. He also directed the ‘Doctor Who’ tale ‘Meglos’ in 1980.

Before we talk about this episode, let’s talk about the DVD releases of ‘All Creatures’. You see, back in 2003, the company ‘Playback’ had a bizarre way of releasing ‘All Creatures’ on DVD for its first two seasons.

Series 1 and 2 were released into two volumes. Volume 1 had the first half whilst Volume 2 had the second half of each season. Also they would have two episodes per disc for a certain three-disc DVD set.

I’m not sure what the logic or reasoning was behind this format of DVD releases in ‘All Creatures’. By the time we’re on Series 1, Volume 2 of ‘All Creatures’, we’re on the last seven episodes of the season.

It’s quite ironic that the second half of Series 1 is dedicated to a significant development in James and Helen’s romantic subplot. The second half of Series 1 is probably my favourite out of the entire season.

The episode begins with…a funeral. Yeah, that’s quite a downbeat note to start off with, isn’t it? The funeral is actually for Billy Dalby who was in the previous episode. Wait, he was in hospital wasn’t he?

So you’re telling me that Billy Dalby is already dead by the time we come to this seventh episode in the series. Wow! That’s pretty sudden! As well as sad. It also sounds pretty harsh with what happened.

I like how Siegfried reacts to the news of Billy Dalby’s death from James who witnesses the funeral taking place. It demonstrates the compassionate moments Siegfried has as well as the eccentric ones.

James goes to visit Janet Davies as Mrs. Dalby to check on how she is. She seems to be taking it rather well, although it’s clear she’s sad from the sudden death of her husband as he keeps a picture of him.

Mrs. Dalby is determined to keep on running the farm and not sell it despite her husband’s demise. But as the episode progresses, Mrs. Dalby has one disaster after another to contend with at that farm.

I’m not really an expert on farming back then and today, but it must be pretty hard work. Having disasters like a herd of cows getting something contagious called ‘husk’ can’t help matters really much.

Janet Davies’ performance as Mrs. Dalby has been brilliant in these episodes she’s guest starred in. It’s certainly a contrast to the comedic performance she played as Mr. Pike in ‘Dad’s Army’, that I know her for.

I like that scene between James and Mrs. Dalby when they’re talking about Helen Alderson. Mrs. Dalby seems to be encouraging James in his pursuit for Helen, comparing her relationship with her husband.

Before we talk about Helen, there’s a certain character in ‘All Creatures’ that I find very amusing. This is Rio Fanning as Mr. Joe Mulligan with his scruffy dog Clancy. Mr. Mulligan visits the vet’s in one scene.

Apparently, Mr. Mulligan’s dog Clancy has been ‘womitin’. Wait, what? That’s right. You heard. The dog has been ‘womitin’ a lot. I couldn’t help giggle when I heard that. Helen couldn’t help giggle either.

Also Mr. Mulligan seems to be hard of hearing when James tries to talk to him and he has raise his voice at times. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Mr. Mulligan and his ‘womitin’ dog Clancy again in future episodes.

Now we talk about Helen who comes to see James at the surgery after Mr. Mulligan’s gone. She comes to invite James to tea. Wow! Well done, James! That’s a good sign. You’re making good progress with Helen.

I did like that scene between James and Tristan when they talk about Helen inviting James to tea. We have the reminders of James’ ‘disaster’ dates with Helen as well as that ‘painful’ double date by Tristan.

And then we cut to…James having tea with Helen and her family at their farm. Wow! That’s fast cutting, isn’t it? Usually we have another sub-plot going on before James is reunited with Helen again.

So how does the tea go? Does it go swimmingly well with a jovial atmosphere? Well…no actually. I mean, don’t get me wrong. The tea’s wonderful. Actually there is a lot of food on that table at Helen’s.

But it’s mostly silent among the gathering of Helen’s family with James. John Collin as Helen’s father, Mr. Alderson, does not say much and James and Helen seem to be the only ones making conversation.

The woman, who I’ve found out recently was Helen’s aunt (not her mother as I presumed her to be), doesn’t say much either. Also Helen’s two younger siblings, brother and sister, are giggling during tea.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but surely Helen’s family would try at least to be friendly with James when he’s invited to tea. Didn’t Helen’s family know about James coming over to tea for that Sunday?

It must have been very uncomfortable for James to go through tea trying to make conversation whilst Helen’s family are uncooperative. Did Helen’s father ignore her daughter’s instructions to be friendly?

Also the topics of conversation during that tea involve mentions of glucose and kidneys. Um, I wouldn’t have chosen those topics of conversation for James to get to know Helen’s family during tea.

Well at least James and Mr. Alderson have a conversation in the living room after tea…oh wait they don’t. At least James struggles to try to get a conversation out of Mr. Alderston who is smoking a pipe.

There is then an emergency as one of Mr. Alderson’s cows has collapsed. It’s good James was there when he gets his vet’s kit. Hopefully he can save the cow’s life and win his father over…oh wait he doesn’t.

Yeah, sadly James’ attempts to save the cow don’t get achieved as the cow dies before he gives it the injection. Helen tells James it wasn’t his fault, but James is not convinced as her father is disapproving.

Back at Skeldale House, Siegfried’s inconsistency comes into play when he criticises James’ ‘lack of communication’ over a certain case. Siegfried believes James said ‘pneumonia’, to which James denies.

I liked it when James’ frustration with Siegfried’s inconsistency goes to a limit and he shouts, asking why he never listens. Siegfried sees that James is preoccupied. Tristan informs him ‘her name’s Helen’.

I also liked it when James and Tristan are out in the Yorkshire Dales somewhere. James is drinking his sorrows over Helen and the loss of Mr. Alderson’s cow whilst Tristan tries to reassure him about it all.

There’s then a hilarious moment when Tristan goes to fetch some more bottles of beer from the car and the handbrake releases (not sure how that happened). Thus the car goes off rolling down the hill.

James and Tristan eventually see the car rolling off and chase after it. But it’s too late as the car smashes into the shed of the local golf club. By the way, it was Siegfried’s old car before he got a rover.

Of course, Siegfried hears about it in the papers. I love it when James and Tristan are embarrassed to tell anything about it. This is all before Siegfried deduces it for himself and he gives Tristan a fierce look.

But the car carnage isn’t over yet. Oh no! For you see, Siegfried gets the flu in the second half of the episode. James also gets his arm in a sling with his hand infected. Actually, isn’t that a bit of an overkill?

Surely James doesn’t need his arm in a sling if it’s just his hand that’s infected. I’m no medical expert, but is the infection contagious that it stretches to James’ arm as well as his hand? I’m not entirely sure.

Anyway, Tristan and James need Siegfried’s rover, due to James’ car (that formerly belonged to Siegfried) is out of action due to the braking faults. Clearly Siegfried is reluctant to give his rover over.

No, let me guess. Tristan and James manage to convince Siegfried to let him have the rover. Siegfried then asks for his trousers; Tristan gets them for him and Siegfried takes the rover’s keys out for Tristan.

Then Siegfried is about to give the keys to Tristan before he pulls him closer and threatens to kill him if he scratches his car. Why am I telling you that I’m guessing all of this? This is exactly what occurs here.

So yeah. Tristan is told not to scratch Siegfried’s rover when he and James are driving it. What does he do? Drive the car fast at a very high speed and crashes it into a wall after he avoids a flock of sheep.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at that moment of hilarity with Tristan crashing Siegfried’s rover. Ah well, Siegfried is bound to forgive Tristan and not ‘kill him’…oh, he goes into a rage once told about it.

This episode also features the return of Nicholas McArdle as Mr. Worley, who was previously in ‘Out of Practice’. He’s the landlord of the Drover’s local pub. Mr. Worley has more dialogue in this episode.

Mr. Worley asks James to come over to the Drover’s to see his sow whose milk isn’t coming out. Worley is clearly a pig lover. James sees to the sow and fixes her instantly to which Worley says, “Nay!”

Mr. Worley also seems to give the indication that Siegfried and Tristan are pig lovers just as much as James does. That’s not the impression I got from watching the previous six ‘All Creatures’ episodes. 😀

The episode also features Ivor Salter as Gobber Newhouse who was in the previous episode. There’s also John Hallet as P.C. Smith, who comes over to the Drover’s to stop the ruckus, hyper-drunk activity.

‘Golden Lads and Girls’ comes to a conclusion with James and Tristan attending a local ball in Darrowby. This is another double date set up by Tristan, but thankfully it’s not disastrous like last time.

The dates in question are two nurses including Angela (don’t know who the actress is) for Tristan and Rita Giovannini as Daphne for James. Daphne seems to be all over James before she finds another man.

Helen Alderson also turns up with her family and ‘him’. No, really. That’s what James calls him in the episode. ‘Him’. For those of you who don’t know, ‘Him’ is ‘really’ Norman Mann as Richard Edmundson.

Helen is in a glamorously beautiful blue dress for the ball dance that night. James tries to ask Helen for a dance, but she tells him he can’t as she’s promised a dance to Edmundson. Perhaps later on, James.

Oh wait, he can’t now since Mr. Worley’s phoned up to ask James to come over and see to his sow again at the Drover’s. That’s such a blow, isn’t it? Or maybe not since chance happens again for James.

Just as James is about to leave, he bumps into Helen…and then literally bumps into her when someone pushes him. James asks Helen to come with him and she accepts. They go back to Skeldale House first.

There, after James gets his stuff from the surgery, both he and Helen share a tender but passionate, deep loving kiss with each other in the corridor. I felt tingles down my spine whilst watching that scene.

After seeing to Worley’s sow, James and Helen leave the Drover’s together. James asks if she wants to go back to the ball. She asks if he does and says ‘no’. Helen also says ‘no’. They are of like minds. 😀

James tells Helen, “I love you!” Helen replies, “I know that!” Admit it! That was a better scene compared to the Princess Leia and Han Solo scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Sorry, ‘Star Wars’ fans.

This must be the longest review I’ve ever written on an ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ episode. That means I really liked it, right? 😀 I wonder what’s going to happen next as James and Helen’s romance blossoms.

‘Golden Lads and Girls’ rating – 9/10

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4 thoughts on “‘Golden Lads and Girls’ (TV)

  1. darrowby85

    Hi Tim,

    That’s interesting about the DVDs. I managed to get a box set containing the whole 7 series from HMV at a discount price so I was very lucky. 🙂 At the full price they would have been very expensive. My box set is a no-frills one and just contains the episodes, which are all cut to 50 minutes. Apparently there are box sets out there which contain the full hour-long episodes and have audio commentaries from the actors for some of the episodes. Do you have any of that in your sets? It seems that it’s possible to get a German box set that contains the 45-minute episode that was broadcast on German TV dubbed into German, and the remaining part in English (but I don’t know whether that’s the extra 5 minutes to make it up to the 50-minute episode, or the extra 15 minutes to make it up to an hour) Perhaps if it’s the 15 min, that’s something for the completist, but the German box set costs from €42 which is rather a lot for an extra 10 min per episode!

    I think the reason that Billy Dalby died between the episodes is probably so that they wouldn’t have to pay the actor to appear in another episode, similar to how Nyssa didn’t appear in most of Kinda because she had only been contracted to appear in a certain number of episodes in that season (if I have understood things correctly).

    This was a good episode again, and I’m glad that the James-Helen romance has now progressed. Hopefully there will be fewer cringe-inducing run-ins with Richard Edmundson from now on!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Vicky.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Golden Lads and Girls’.

      Now that’s interesting. I’ve now got the complete box set of ‘All Creatures’ and the DVDs are structured in the same way the individual DVD box sets were. Discs 1-3 comprise of Series 1, Volume 1 whilst Discs 4-6 comprise of Series 1, Volume 2 with two episodes per disc. That goes on for Series 2 but not for Series 3-7 thankfully. I don’t know what was going on with ‘Playback’s re-releasing of those DVDs when they decided to re-release the series in a complete box set. For the original DVD releases of Series 1 and 2, they had animated menus with video clips in the background. For the re-releases, they don’t have that. It’s just a still of the original DVD covers (I think) and the menu options. ‘Playback’ did that when they re-released ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ and ‘Allo Allo’ in complete DVD box sets. I really have no idea why this was done. Also, since these were BBC released products, wouldn’t it make sense to have them released by the BBC on DVD? ‘Playback’ was a part of ‘Universal’, you see. An American company! Clearly they wanted to sell these products aboard but I can’t understand why the BBC were able to do that. A lot of BBC products are/were released like that. ‘The Moon Stallion’ for example was released on DVD in Germany. I don’t know why ‘The Moon Stallion’ can’t be released here in the UK. They did it on BBC Store once, but that’s shut down and they haven’t re-released it since.

      Speaking of which, I don’t think my family’s complete DVD box set of ‘All Creatures’ has the DVD special features like commentaries as on some other editions. I’m not sure about the variance of episode lengths of ‘All Creatures’ episodes on certain DVDs since I didn’t think that was the case. I thought the episode lengths on our ‘All Creatures’ DVDs were the ones that were originally shown on TV back in the 1970s. Mind you, ‘Playback’ also released BBC products like ‘The Duchess of Duke Street’ and the original 1970s ‘Poldark’ in feature-length forms on DVDs in their 3-disc sets. Not sure why they did that considering they would’ve been originally one hour long episodes instead of three-hour long features on the ‘Playback’ DVD releases. This is the same for ‘The Moon Stallion’ when released by Germany. I’ve seen the original version via BBC Store and it was originally a six-part story in half-hour episodes. But on the German released DVD, it’s three hour-long episodes instead. It’s just so weird, isn’t it?

      Regarding Billy Dalby – Yeah I suppose that would make sense considering this was a TV series being produced. Mind you, this series was based on the ‘James Herriot’ books whereas ‘Doctor Who’ is an original TV series, so it sadly makes sense that Sarah Sutton/Nyssa would be contracted not to appear in ‘Parts Two and Three’ of ‘Kinda’. I’ve not read the ‘James Herriot’ books, but did Billy Dalby’s death get depicted at all? Is the reason why his sudden death in this TV episode because his death never got shown in the books?

      I’m really looking forward to seeing how the James/Helen romance progresses in the next episode. It’ll be interesting to review when I come to watching that episode tomorrow. Yeah hopefully the Edmundson stuff will appear less and less in the series from now on. I recall he makes a return in one of the Series 2 episodes. Not sure which one. I believe it’s one about a fete.

      Thanks for your comments, Vicky. Glad you enjoyed my review.

      Tim. 🙂


      1. darrowby85

        Hi Tim,

        Yes, it’s weird how the editions vary so much from one country to another. The German editions of All Creatures seem to have the commentaries and extra features on them so it seems ironic that ours don’t when the series came from Britain in the first place! I’m not that bothered about fancy packaging and making-of documentaries and so on (although I am intrigued how they managed to get the animals to look ill without actually hurting them) but at least one of the episode commentaries features Robert Hardy, and it would be really special to hear his thoughts on it, particularly since he is no longer here to share any further thoughts with us.

        Re. Billy Dalby, I have read the Herriot books but it is such a long time ago that I don’t remember this particular story, although I do remember certain stories such as Tricki-Woo and Mrs Pumphrey (how could anyone forget them?). I think what probably happened was that, since they had a certain amount of freedom on how to organise the scripts, they wrote the script so that Billy Dalby only appeared on screen in a single episode. Perhaps they thought that showing his death on screen would be too upsetting for a teatime audience that might include small children, I don’t know? And I suppose since the books were written from James’s perspective, he probably wasn’t close enough to the family to actually visit Dalby in hospital and his experience probably was equivalent to what’s shown in the episode – hearing of his illness and then of his death. One of the slight downsides of Siegfried and Tristan being such larger-than-life characters, wonderful as they are, is that sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s actually James’s story. I wonder whether they considered having a narrative voiceover like on, say. Call the Midwife. (I think that works really well to remind viewers that the stories are based on Jenny’s memoirs.)

        I get the feeling that the episodes are often organised with ‘indeterminate amounts of time’ passing between episodes and even between incidents within the episodes and that this is probably deliberate. There are not often any seasonal or time indicators with the exception of the 1937/1938 continuity thing that we discussed in a previous episode (not sure whether they just messed up with the continuity, there, but the intention was clearly to tell the audience that the action was taking place just before WWII) and occasional things such as snow, lambing etc. The Herriot stories themselves, if I remember correctly, are written in an episodic sort of way rather than in any kind of strict chronology. There will be a chapter introducing someone like Mulligan and then maybe later in the chapter Herriot will describe a subsequent meeting with him that may have taken place some weeks or months later… so when the scriptwriters wrote the series, they must have had to weave these stories together and decide whether the story of a specific character should be told over several episodes (risking the audience forgetting who they were between episodes, I suppose) or in just one. Of course there are also characters who recur throughout, such as Mrs Pumphrey, Biggins and so on.

        Re. Edmundson, yes, he reappears at a show or something and his father is also there – a bit of a continuity blooper since his father is reported as being dead in one of the Series 1 episodes. Clearly news of his demise was much exaggerated!

        Vicky 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tim Bradley Post author

        Thanks Vicky.

        The episode Edmundson returns in is ‘Judgement Day’, which according to IMDb is Series 2, Episode 5. Apparently he makes an uncredited appearance in the next episode of this series, ‘Advice and Consent’, but hopefully that’s a cameo.

        For those of you who want to find out more about what Vicky means regarding the 1937/1938 continuity blunder and the Edmundson father continuity blunder, check out her reviews on ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ on her site here – https://darrowbyeightfive.wordpress.com/

        The 1937/1938 continuity blunder is on Vicky’s review for ‘Nothing Like Experience’ – https://darrowbyeightfive.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/series-1-episode-6-nothing-like-experience/

        The Edmundson father continuity blunder is on Vicky’s review for ‘Calf Love’ – https://darrowbyeightfive.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/series-1-episode-4-calf-love/


        Tim. 🙂


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