‘Hail Caesar!’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Okay, I admit it! I actually did enjoy this episode when I saw it. It’s an improvement on what I’d seen before in the previous four episodes. I must be getting into the new regular ‘All Creatures’ set-up here.

The fifth episode of Series 4 of ‘All Creatures’ called ‘Hail Caesar!’ is by Alfred Shaughnessy, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books. Alfred previously penned the second episode of Series 4 – ‘Barks and Bites’.

Peter Moffatt returns for the final time in Series 4 to direct this episode. As I’ve said in another review, Peter Moffatt directed the first five episodes of Series 4 whilst another director directed the final five.

This episode begins with a bus driving in the countryside at night. On board are the bell ringers group including Tristan. So, Tristan’s still a bell ringer member. They all sing a musical jaunt on the way home.

It’s the repetitive children’s song ‘Ten green bottles hanging on the wall…’ Mind you, Tristan and the bell ringers are roaring drunk as they are on the way home. So, I would expect them to be childish. 😀

But the bus has an accident when it hits and kills a stag. This is serious when all the passengers of the bus get out to see. Of course, Tristan is a vet. So he should investigate to confirm that the stag is dead.

But Tristan in his drunken state doesn’t give a very qualified vet’s verdict and disregards the dead stag on the ground. He goes back on the bus afterwards to sleep away his drunkenness! Good on you, Trist! 😀

Compared to the previous four episodes, this episode presents us a Tristan that could’ve come from the old days. Tristan definitely comes across as mischievous, reckless and irresponsible in this episode.

This is a bit of a surprise regression of his character considering that he has qualified as a vet over the years. Not that I mind. It is good to see there’s still a bit of the old Tristan Farnon in him these days. 😀

However Siegfried isn’t happy with Tristan’s recent behaviour as he challenges him about the incident, telling him that the stag belonged to Lord Brawton. Siegfried often rides with Lord Brawton on a horse.

We even get to see a scene of Siegfried with John Hart Dyke as Lord Brawton riding on horseback. Tristan tries to deny any responsibility in the matter, saying that he wasn’t driving during the incident.

But Siegfried points out that he should’ve done more to report the accident. And I actually agree with Siegfried on that point. Tristan should have been in a proper state of mind to report this stag incident.

I’m pretty sure people who are drunk can come out of it in a moment of shock when something like a bus hitting and killing a stag happens. I’m surprised Tristan didn’t. He must’ve been pretty drunk then.

After Tristan admits some responsibility for what had occurred, venison is soon available on the market. This sounds very dodgy. Thankfully Helen refuses Mrs. Greenlaw’s suggestion of buying some.

It’s interesting that venison gets sold in the Darrowby area and no-one seems concerned enough to report it. I’m surprised the episode didn’t have Siegfried raise his concerns about venison getting sold.

The venison issue becomes a concern when James visits Margaretta Scott as Mrs. Pumphrey with Tricki-Woo in the episode. Yeah! Tricki-Woo’s back! I always like it when I see Tricki-Woo in the series.

When James attends to Tricki-Woo, it seems that he’s gone completely cracker dog according to Mrs. Pumphrey. James is concerned about the diet Mrs. Pumphrey’s been giving him as he said no sweets or treats.

But Mrs. Pumphrey says she has followed James’ instructions to the letter and has been giving Tricki a strict diet. James gets puzzled before he and Mrs. Pumphrey smell something odd in the living room.

The source of the smell happens to be a piece of leftover venison. Mrs. Pumphrey is surprised as she hasn’t been giving Tricki-Woo venison lately. But if she didn’t give the dog venison, who gave it to him?

James works out that it was…Teddy Turner as Hodgekin who gave Tricki-Woo the venison. How exactly he came to that conclusion is never explained here. But it turns out James is correct that it was Hodgekin.

Once he worked that out, James gives Hodgekin a stern warning about feeding food bad for Tricki. He says he’ll have him sacked by Mrs. Pumphrey and reported to the RSPCA should he do that ever again.

Hodgekin is clearly disgruntled and annoyed by this once James leaves. So Hodgekin did try to kill Tricki with bad venison! Wow! Um, I’m not sure that I like Hodgekin anymore as he tried to kill a little doggie.

I know Mrs. Pumphrey can be eccentric in her ways with dotting on Tricki-Woo too much. But Hodgekin has worked for her for many years. He should know better not to mistreat that little animal.

Wait! I just realised something! Series 4 is supposed to take place during the 1950s. Yet Tricki-Woo has been around since the late 1930s. Um, shouldn’t Tricki-Woo be dead by this point in the TV series?

Dogs are meant to live for 10 to 13 years or so. I’m not sure how long Mrs. Pumphrey’s had Tricki-Woo, but it must have been for a very long time. Surely Tricki-Woo is now an elderly dog by this point.

I don’t know, maybe I’m over-speculating. But I’m not sure what stage of his life Tricki is at and whether he’s going to die at some point in the series. Not I wish for this, but it could happen you know.

Maybe this is a different Tricki-Woo. Perhaps Mrs. Pumphrey purchased a new dog and called him Tricki at some point in the series. If this is a new Tricki, I don’t think it is clearly established in Series 4.

Meanwhile Tristan and Calum are continuing to vie for Deidre’s affection in the episode. So Calum’s been trying to get Deidre attracted to her now, even though he was supposed to help Tristan win her.

I’m not sure I understand Calum’s motivations as a character, but he seems to a pretty confident vet and is very proud of his Scottish heritage. This is especially when he goes looking for animals on moors.

There is a scene where Calum goes to examine a dog who has a flea problem at somebody’s house. Well at least he is doing some veterinary work rather than just being Tristan’s rival for Deirdre’s heart.

Calum also likes to ride a motorcycle when he goes to and fro to get to cases he needs to get to. A bit unusual especially when James, Tristan and Siegfried prefer to use the car. But each to his own I guess.

Tristan, to be fair, has a good go at trying to win Deidre’s affections especially when he gives her a lift from the Ministry of Agriculture. This is especially when Calum is delayed to come over to pick her up.

I’ve also realised that Deidre is a Scottish girl herself. I didn’t register that when I saw her in the first episode of Series 4. Maybe it’s why she seems to prefer Calum over Tristan in the series as they’re both Scottish.

Deidre is grateful to Tristan to give her lift when they go to find Calum who has her dogs. But she seems willing to go with Calum off to some moors to find some animals and leave Tristan behind in his car.

I don’t blame Tristan for going off in a huff despite Deirdre thanking him before he goes. James finds Tristan in the Drovers to drown his sorrows. I’m beginning to think it’s not worth it for Deidre, Tristan.

I did like that scene between Deidre and Helen though where they talk about who Deidre prefers. Deidre seems to find Tristan sweet enough but it does seem like she prefers Calum over Tristan here.

Tristan still has a go trying to be impressive towards Deidre when he attempts to take an interest in Scottish dancing as well as anything else Scottish. Oh yeah! There’s Scottish dancing in this TV episode.

This is all part of a fete that takes part in Darrowby and which Helen has some part in the organisation of it. One of the attractions at the fete is for Darrowby members to perform some Scottish dancing run by Calum.

I enjoyed the Scottish dancing part of the episode as it seems we’ve moved into ‘Monarch of the Glen’ territory. 😀 Even James and Helen’s children, Jimmy and Rosie, take part in the Scottish dancing itself.

On a side note, I’m surprised Tristan hasn’t taken an interest in all things Scottish before. Didn’t he take an interest in another Scottish girl from Series 2 of ‘All Creatures’ – Alice McTavish from Edinburgh?

The Scottish dancing rehearsals seem to go well, although Tristan does get tired and annoyed with Calum for making the group practice endlessly. The tea breaks do not seem long enough in rehearsals.

To complicate things however, Helen and James receive an invitation to a little party by Mrs. Pumphrey to celebrate Tricki-Woo’s remarkable recovery in the episode. This is on the day of the fete.

Helen and James are worried that they’ll be late to join in the Scottish dancing item happening at the Darrowby fete on that day. But Mrs. Pumphrey reassures them they’ll be alright and on time to dance.

Trouble ensues though when James gets a flea from the dog Calum examined earlier on in the episode when he examined it himself. Um, should James have gone into that house with the flea-infected dog?

Anyway at the party, James gets an itch and soon discovers he has the flea off that dog. He tries to hide it from Mrs. Pumphrey and her guests when it ends up on the table. I don’t know if he hid it well.

I did wonder if James and Helen were going to be late for when the Scottish dancing took place at the fete. Thankfully they did and quite out of the blue just when the dancing started. That’s lucky, isn’t it?

Mrs. Pumphrey also attends the fete too! I suppose James and Helen gave her and Tricki-Woo a lift in their car. Probably why she invited them to her little party. Tricki’s got an itch though as he scratches. 😀

I did like Siegfried’s little subplot in the episode where he treats the dog of Amanda Waldy as Mrs. Westby. It was amusing when Mrs. Westby first brought the dog in and he had a baked bean tin over his mouth.

It was worrying though when Mrs. Westby’s dog was suffering from a severe bout of pneumonia on a second visit to the vet’s. Fortunately, Siegfried uses a new solution concocted by Calum in the episode.

The episode also has James and Tristan attending to a cow who goes into labour and using a rather risky procedure to get the calf out. It’s supposed to be a method Tristan is pretty familiar with as a vet.

But as it turns out he only knows the theory of it and has never done the procedure in practice. Tristan and James become concerned after delivering the calf out of the cow. But it turns out to be alright. 🙂

‘Hail Caesar!’ (not sure why the episode’s called that) is an improvement in Series 4 of ‘All Creatures’ so far. It doesn’t make the reboot era as good as the original run, but I’m glad I gained something here.

‘Hail Caesar!’ rating – 8/10

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