‘If Music Be The Food of Love’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

It’s time for the third episode of Series 7 of ‘All Creatures’. I can’t deny this one has been enjoyable episode to watch. But I’m getting the sense the series is starting to wane and not be exciting anymore.

‘If Music Be The Food of Love’ is by Michael Russell, who previously contributed ‘Where Sheep May Safely Graze’ and ‘Big Fish, Little Fish’ in Series 6. He would provide two more TV episodes in Series 7.

The third episode is directed again by Michael Brayshaw. Still having to put up with his opening and closing title sequences for his episodes, but hopefully it won’t last long. They might change them soon.

This episode features another appearance of…John Sharp as Mr. Biggins! (groans) How come he keeps coming back into the series. He sends me up the wrong way, always complaining about expensive bills.

Okay, look, I know I’m being harsh and clearly he’s a popular character among the production team. So maybe there might be something of value to find with his character for this particular episode here.

Well, whilst he is still up to his antics of getting vets out to his farm and not being quick to pay the bills, he does show concern for a stray cat that hangs around his barn. Well, at least he shows concern for the cat.

It’s interesting how he keeps calling out Siegfried, James and Tristan each in turn to attend to his cow and they all have different experiences with him. But it seems Mr. Biggins is not concerned for the cow.

Biggins wishes for Tristan’s help to attend to the cat, even though he specifically asked him to help out with the cow. Why didn’t he ask Tristan to attend to the cat instead of the cow when he asked him?

Biggins even walked into the Skeldale living room to see Trist when he’s having a thing going on with new girlfriend Jane Mercer (more on that later). He can’t walk in and rudely interrupt people like that! 😀

Thankfully Tristan helps out to attend to the stray cat at Biggins’ farm and he invites James Grout as Granville Bennett along. Yeah Granville’s back again (more on him later). Granville’s very willing to help.

Interestingly, Siegfried recommended Tristan for his cat expertise to Mr. Biggins when he met him. Tristan’s clearly not a big cat expert when he invites Granville along. What was Siegfried thinking then?

To be fair, Tristan does help out with attending to the cat whilst Granville’s mainly attending to the operation. It could be Tristan wanted a second opinion and to distract Granville worrying about his dog.

It was very interesting to see Granville and Biggins meet each other for the first time. They’re both completely opposite personalities, yet Granville’s really polite and helpful attending to Mr. Biggins’ cat.

Granville fixes the stray cat and Mr. Biggins is very grateful. He’s so grateful in fact that he even agrees to offer hospitality to Tristan and Granville with a bottle of wine and…you know where this all is going!

Yeah, even Biggins gets drunk and happy when he, Tristan and Granville are celebrating the good cat’s health. It’s a nice change to Biggins’ character that I’ve not before where he’s not grumpy all the time.

Biggins even called James ‘Mr. James’ instead of ‘veterinary’ or ‘Herriot’ as he would usually do. I don’t think this is going to be a long-lasting thing with Biggins, but it was nice to see it here for this episode.

Incidentally, Mr. Biggins’ wife played by Margaret Jackman appears in this episode. Margaret Jackman previously played Mrs. Biggins in the episode ‘Cheques and Balances’. At least they kept that consistent.

James soon turns up to tell the good news about Granville’s dog at Skeldale surgery before he’s soon roped in to join the celebrations. You know James and Tristan end up so drunk in Granville’s company.

Just to go back earlier in the episode, Tristan has been playing loud jazz music on the record player. My Dad says it’s Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddie music. My Dad should know his jazz music. 😀

It’s fascinating how Tristan’s fixated with playing loud jazz music in the Skeldale living room and doesn’t register that it’s too loud for everyone. It even gets on Jean Heywood as Mrs. Alton’s nerves in this.

Just to talk about Mrs. Alton for a bit, I’ve picked up a little more on her character. She comes across as strict in her life with perhaps a religious belief, especially when she sings in the church choir later on.

Mrs. Alton doesn’t care for Tristan’s lifestyle. Her reaction to Tristan ‘perhaps’ playing jazz music on the record player is hilarious. She’s pretty relieved when Tristan’s playing choir music instead of jazz music.

How come Trist is playing choir music instead of jazz music suddenly? Well, it’s because he’s taken an interest in the local choir – or very specifically one of its members – Lesley Nightingale as Jane Mercer.

Jane is a friend of Helen’s in the local choir and she’s quite a spirited young woman. She’s concerned about a donkey that isn’t very well-fed and is rather ill-treated by its owner Roger Walker as Mr. Bullock.

Jane, Helen and Tristan raise their concerns about the dog to Mr. Bullock, but he tells them to get off their land. Why Mr. Bullock would be mean-spirited about his ill-fed donkey is unclear for this episode.

Mr. Bullock continues to let out his anger on Tristan and James about his donkey when in the Drovers. He’s probably drunk, but it’s odd why farmers like Mr. Bullock would be less caring about their animal.

Jane encourages Tristan to support her in restoring the donkey to full health. Tristan struggles to maintain his professionalism and he soon goes well beyond the call of duty to attend to this ill donkey.

It angers Mr. Bullock greatly but Tristan and Jane manage to persuade him to take his donkey to be restored to full health, even paying it for it. Mr. Bullock reluctantly agrees and the two take him away.

Or rather Tristan takes the donkey away whilst Jane goes in his car to meet him at Mr. Mercer’s place. Rather unfair that, is it not? To leave Tristan behind to drag a donkey up the hill to Mr. Mercer’s place?

Siegfried even mocks Tristan when he’s driving up in his car alongside him with the donkey. Thankfully Tristan gets the donkey up to Geoffrey Banks as Mr. Mercer’s place and they attend to the poor animal.

Jane is grateful to Tristan and…I suppose it means the two of them can start having a relationship together. Yeah, that was fast work that! Tristan doesn’t waste much time with the ladies, does he? 😀

It doesn’t last long though as Jane has to go off in the morning somewhere. It’s a pity Tristan doesn’t have really long-lasting relationships in the series compared to James who married Helen in Series 1. 😀

Now let’s talk about Granville Bennett. It’s been a while since we last saw him in the series. I was expecting him to get James ridiculously drunk. This of course does happen by the episode’s conclusion.

But surprisingly, it wasn’t all about that. Yeah, they added something extra with Granville’s character when he becomes concerned about his sick dog Persephone. Yes! That’s the name Granville gives him!

I wonder if Persephone the dog is going to star in ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ or something. 😀 Joking aside, it is nice to see how Granville becomes concerned for his dog as James and Siegfried attend him.

There is a mention of Zoe in the episode by Granville, but we don’t get to see her at all. How come Pamela Salem didn’t return to the ‘All Creatures’ TV series. We haven’t seen her for a while either. 😀

Helen becomes concerned about James getting drunk with Granville when attending to the dog Persephone. But surprisingly, Granville doesn’t want to drink much as he’s worried for his very sick dog.

Helen is surprised by this as well as James. James is relieved of course as he redoubles his resolve to not go over-the-top with the drinking side of things. For a while, I thought it would be very long-lasting.

James has his apple or orange juice whatever it is when he’s in the Drovers, waiting for Granville to come. I don’t think Granville came that night. He was fast asleep in the living room later in the evening.

Granville doesn’t want to leave Persephone’s side as he, James and Siegfried attend to him. Every time he’s offered to go down to the pub with James, he politely refuses. Amazing to see him do that in this.

Of course, it’s not to last. Despite James’ reassuring news of Persephone’s recovery, Granville encourages James as well as Tristan and Biggins to enjoy a good hearty drink and good hearty food. 🙂

It ends quite disastrously when James and Tristan turn up at the church during the choir singing in a tiddly manner. Helen, Jane and Mrs. Alton see James and Tristan coming in whilst they’re singing away.

I was worried James and Tristan would go raucous during the choir singing. Thankfully they don’t as they just end up falling asleep in the church. Clearly, they cannot pay attention whilst the choir sings away.

It upsets Mrs. Alton who had high hopes for Tristan when he began listening to choir music. She shares her disappointment with Siegfried who compliments her on her singing in the choir as she’s leaving. 🙂

Helen and Mrs. Alton don’t seem concerned when seeing James and Tristan asleep in their pew. They might be quietly amused. Siegfried is quite amused when seeing James and Tristan in that drunk state.

Tristan wakes up to realise he forgot to take the cheque with him, written by Mr. Biggins at his farm once asked him for it. He’d left it back at the farm as he, James, Granville and Biggins were celebrating.

But Siegfried doesn’t seem bothered about Tristan forgetting the cheque. In fact, Siegfried is delighted that things have gone back to normal, especially with Granville to his over-indulgence of hospitality. 😀

For a while, Siegfried was concerned about Granville not taking to heavy-drinking much during the time he was concerned for Perseophone. He was surprised to see Tristan and Granville awake at breakfast.

He’d expected them to get hangovers during the previous night before. He shares his bafflement with James in surgery as well as a little girl who just had her rabbit attended to. It was amusing to see that!

Siegfried is even more surprised by Biggins’ phone-call who tells him and Helen that James might be delayed with coming back in time for the church choir singing. This is something Biggins would not do.

Overall, ‘If Music Be The Food of Love’ is an enjoyable and entertaining ‘All Creatures’ episode. I’m sensing things dwindling in ‘All Creatures‘ by Series 7, but the episodes still continue to entertain here.

‘If Music Be The Food of Love’ rating – 8/10

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