‘HAIR OF THE DOG’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is an ‘All Creatures’ episode I was looking forward to very much in Series 3. This was after I became a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. This story would feature not one but two actors who played the Doctor.
‘Hair of the Dog’ is adapted by William Humble from the ‘James Herriot’ books. This is the first time I’ve come across William Humble as an ‘All Creatures’ writer. He’d do three more episodes after this.
The episode also directed by Christopher Barry. He is an ‘All Creatures’ veteran already. Mind you, the consistency of writing and directing is flawless and unnoticeable when watching these episodes.
The episode begins with Siegfried and Tristan driving home in the car on the way to have breakfast. Just hearing Siegfried mention what is on that menu for breakfast makes me pretty hungry for it. 😀
Siegfried almost runs over a hobo who carries his dog in a pram on the way. The hobo happens to be…Patrick Troughton as Roddy! Wow! Patrick Troughton is in an ‘All Creatures’ episode! Incredible!
For those of you who don’t know, Patrick Troughton played the Second Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’. His appearance in ‘All Creatures’ is way before he works with Peter Davison again for ‘The Five Doctors’.
Patrick Troughton looks amazing in his hobo make-up with long hair and looking pretty weather-beaten. You’d think that he was on the rough side and Patrick could easily have done a put-on voice.
But Roddy happens to be a gentle soul that seems to have this positive outlook on life. Roddy seems to be well-trained in handling animals, especially when he assists James during some of his vet cases.
This is when Roddy handles some sheep for James to inject some special medicine into them and when he helps sort out a cow belonging to Alan Hulse as Mr. Willis. He’s quite a man of talents here.
Roddy also seems to be a man who doesn’t drink alcohol. This is something James admires in Roddy and the two get on well with each other in this episode. James is hoping to emulate Roddy’s lifestyle.
Throughout the episode, James tends to quote Roddy whenever he interacts with Siegfried, Tristan and Helen. Tristan clearly gets annoyed with James’ quoting of Roddy, but I do not think that is right.
Tristan clearly needs to follow Roddy’s example in life. After all, Roddy couldn’t end up being Tristan just like two incarnations of a sci-fi character in a TV show. But of course this can’t happen, can it? 😀
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hall has problems of her own. She needs to go and visit a couple of sick relatives for a few days, including her sister and her husband. Siegfried insists that Mrs. Hall goes right away.
Despite Siegfried reassuring Mrs. Hall that the men can handle things whilst she’s away, Tristan gets assigned the duties of chief cook and bottle washer. This is something Tristan’s not very happy with.
Mrs. Hall leaves Tristan a list of tasks for him to do whilst he’s doing her duties about the house. One of things includes ‘no smoking’ whilst doing the washing up. Something we should all be thankful for.
But of course, Tristan finds it difficult to cope when Mrs. Hall is not around. As well as having to do the spring cleaning and cooking the meals, he also has to put hours in the surgery at the same time.
There’s a funny moment when Tristan spills the kitchen sink when it overflows with water. He should have turned off the tap when he went to answer the phone. That way, it wouldn’t be overflowing. 😀
Speaking of the telephone, Tristan is in conversation with Mrs. Hall who checks up on how he’s doing. It doesn’t end very well as Tristan almost offends Mrs. Hall just when she hangs the phone up.
Don’t worry though. Siegfried manages to sort things out with Mrs. Hall by reassuring her that the Skeldale family wants to have her back. I’m sure she returns in the next ‘All Creatures’ episode here.
Also on the telephone, Tristan has a disagreement with the local butcher when he complains about a certain slice of meat not having enough ‘fat’ on it. Tristan decides not to use that slice of meat at all.
Instead, he uses some meat that he found in the lower quarters of Mrs. Hall stores. When cooking the meat and trailing it out between him and Siegfried, it’s not quite what Tristan’s been hoping for.
The meat that Tristan found happens to be the dog meat for the dogs. Siegfried is of course fuming. Thankfully James and Helen don’t have that ‘dog meat’ meal, but we’ll get to that later in this review.
Of course, Siegfried is less sympathetic when Tristan complains about all of the work he has to do when Mrs. Hall’s around. Tristan is in a bad mood when Siegfried and James return home from work.
Tristan of course takes a break from doing work when Skeldale House has a visit from James Grout as Granville Bennett. Oh no! Not him again! Granville Bennett has appeared in ‘All Creatures’ before.
He appeared in two episodes from Series 2. He was the vet that got James heavily drunk when they visit the local pub after a certain veterinarian case. Oh I hope James won’t get too drunk in this story.
Anyway, Granville stops in at Skeldale House wanting the vets (or more specifically Siegfried) to care for his dog, Pheebles (Feebles)…oh sorry, Phoebe. Actually, why didn’t he call her Phoebe first here?
As Tristan entertains Granville, they have too much of the strong stuff (whiskey I believe), before Siegfried returns home. He finds there are people waiting in the surgery with Tristan not attending.
Siegfried becomes angry with Tristan when they meet up in the corridor, giving him some pill and telling him to go in and sort the clients waiting. It does not stop Siegfried entertaining Granville next.
Thankfully Siegfried attends to Granville’s little dog called Phoebe as he gives her a minor operation. Granville soon invites Siegfried to see his new ‘garden’. He also insists James comes for the ride too.
James of course refuses when Siegfried mentions the invitation to him as well as the spot of lunch. Now James should stick to his guns as he seems to have taken an oath to not drinking anymore here.
But of course Siegfried tricks James into coming along and James falls for the obvious lie that Siegfried makes to him about Granville’s garden. Why could not James have been so strong on this?!
The next day, James and Siegfried meet Granville at his home and see his garden. And it’s very unimpressive. It’s not even a garden! It’s a…actually I don’t know what it is. This is all just dried grass.
But of course, it’s not the garden that Granville wants to show James and Siegfried. It’s the little bar he’s got somehow conveniently at the back of his house. Is Granville really so obsessed with drink?!
James is reluctant to partake for drinking and wants to have lunch as soon as possible. He asks for a small gin and tonic, but Granville gives him plenty of gin and not enough tonic! That feels very cruel!
Of course, James ends up being really ‘happy’ after he drinks so much and at first seems to enjoy being in the company of Granville and Siegfried. James clearly isn’t used to all this heavy country life.
I’m amazed at how he gets drunk so quickly. I know I shouldn’t be so surprised, but it astounds me when James manages to get so drunk in a short space of time and with Granville and Siegfried’s help.
Pamela Salem returns as Zoe Bennett, Granville’s wife in the episode. Zoe must enjoy being married to Granville, especially as she seems pretty understanding and knowing of her husband’s pleasures.
James, in his happy mode, tells Zoe that he’s not drunk. Gee, you could have fooled me, James! Zoe says of course she ‘knows that’. I’m not sure if she was being sincere or just playing to James’ state.
There’s a really funny scene where Granville’s driving the car with Siegfried and James inside, on their way to have a curry I think. But Granville’s driving is very awful, even when in his drunken state.
Thankfully Siegfried suggests to Granville that they should do this another time with going for a meal somewhere. Granville laughs it off with Siegfried and James in tow. Well, time to head home isn’t it?
No! They return to Granville’s bar and have some more drink and food to get James increasingly drunk. They even try out Zoe’s new champagne drinks that she’s made. I wonder how James copes.
When they return home, James is in a pretty terrible state. Thankfully James doesn’t try out Tristan’s ‘dog meat’ meal without knowing it as he’s about to go off and be sick. I know that feeling very well.
Helen also doesn’t have Tristan’s ‘dog meat’ meal when she goes after James, concerned for him. I like how understanding and caring Helen is when James is in a pretty bad state as he moans about it.
In fact, Helen has some interesting moments in this. She at first seems to be in a bad mood when she seems a bit fed up with her new job and feels she and James aren’t spending enough time together.
James helps Helen with seeing the lighter side of things, especially when he quotes Roddy and his way of life. Helen might have wanted the secretary job to do more in life when James is not around.
I can imagine that married life as vet is difficult for James. He clearly wants to spend more time with Helen, yet he gets caught up with the work he does in caring for animals that he has not the time to.
Helen also practices her first aid skills on James in the episode. This is in case of an emergency when the prospect of a world war is approaching. I did think James had really injured his arm at one point.
The episode concludes with Roddy bringing his dog to Skeldale House. The dog’s ill as it has a pebble in his mouth. Siegfried and Tristan attend to the dog when James is upstairs, so sick from his ordeal.
I actually did wonder if James would meet Roddy and see him in his drunken state. Thankfully that does not happen as James comes downstairs moments after Roddy has left with his dog back intact.
This is also one of the rarest times when two Doctors from ‘Doctor Who’ are in the same scene. This is when Patrick as Roddy is seeing Peter as Tristan and Robert as Siegfried attending to the dear dog.
‘Hair of the Dog’ is a very good ‘All Creatures’ episode. I loved seeing this episode with Patrick Troughton’s appearance in it and it was pretty enjoyable with James’ trouble with Granville Bennett.
‘Hair of the Dog’ rating – 9/10
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