Please feel free to comment on my review.
I remember this ‘All Creatures’ episode vividly from watching Series 2. It’s very memorable as James gets to be a duty vet at a local fair. It becomes one of the worst days of his life as we’ll discover here.
‘Judgement Day’ was adapted by Brian Finch from the ‘James Herriot’ books and was directed by Christopher Barry. Christopher Barry previously directed for ‘All Creatures’ in ‘Attendant Problems’.
The episode begins with Tristan about to use a special jar of marmalade to spread on toast before Mrs. Hall stops him. Apparently she’s to use the marmalade jar for the Darrowby and Houlton Show.
Yes this happens to be an annual thing in Darrowby and it’s the first time we see our main characters attend the fair. This is James’ first experience at the fair. It was hoped it’d be he and Helen together.
Helen even purchased some brand new fine clothes for the occasion, hoping to surprise James in her new attractive gear. It would’ve been nice if that happened but sadly it doesn’t for this big occasion.
For you see, Siegfried asks James to be the official vet at the Darrowby and Houlton Show. Usually it’d be Siegfried who’d be officiating as duty vet but he claims that he has another prior engagement.
James is unsure about it at first, but due to naivety he agrees to take on the post. Um, I would actually be an observer at Siegfried’s side first before you take the role full on inexperienced, James.
When James tells Helen about it, she’s clearly dismayed. James doesn’t know about the new clothes Helen’s bought for the event at this point and he’s unsure why she seems to be dismayed about this.
I liked it between James and Mrs. Hall when he asks about Helen after she’s left the room. Mrs. Hall says it’s got ‘nowt’ to do with her, though points out he and Helen never spend much time together.
This is true in the case of their honeymoon in ‘Sleeping Partners’. Despite having the occasional dinner together, James and Helen have not really had their chance to spend plenty of time together.
It could also be due to the fact that James has never officiated at this kind of event before and maybe Helen’s concerned about him. I’d like to think that was the situation but I can be wrong here.
Anyway afterwards, James is called in to attend to a patient in the surgery. It happens to be Boris the ‘gladiator’ cat/’puma’ owned by Sonia Graham as Mrs. Bond who recently appeared in ‘Cats and Dogs’.
Mrs. Bond wants James to attend to her cat due to a certain operation he promised to perform on her. She also says she trusts James to attend Boris. She finds he handles Boris better than the others.
That is a nice compliment from her, although James does have difficulty with getting Boris out of his basket as he’s pretty aggressive when trying to conduct the operation. He even gets a bite from him.
I thought it was naughty of Tristan who peeked in to see James attend to Boris the cat with an amused expression on his face. He was even the one who told James that he was wanted in surgery.
We eventually come to the Darrowby and Houlton Show part of the episode. Like I said, James is naïve about taking on the role of officiating vet since he innocently believes it will be a pleasant day.
But it turns out not to be so pleasant as he finds himself being busy day; having to deal with cheaters and ones who try to enter sick animals. They complain it was never like this under Siegfried’s charge.
Oh and by the way, Siegfried happens to be there at the fair since his previous appointment got cancelled. Personally, I think he used that as an excuse to get James to be the officiating vet instead.
This episode features a lot of returning characters from previous episodes as well as some news ones attending the fair. Some of these characters I was pleased to see and others I was less pleased.
As well as Mrs. Bond with Boris and her other cats, there’s Margaretta Scott as Mrs. Pumphrey with Tricki Woo. Ah, Tricki Woo! We haven’t seen him and Mrs. Pumphrey for a long time. That’s superb!
There’s also Teddy Turner who returns as Hodgekin. He spends a lot of time walking Tricki Woo around the ground for exercise. It seems a lame form of exercise for Tricki Woo but it is still exercise.
Mrs. Pumphrey has entered Tricki Woo for the family pets competition at the fair. This puts James in a tricky situation since he can’t be bias and allow Tricki to win the contest with the other pets about.
There’s also Norman Mann who returns as Richard Edmundson…oh no, not him again! What he’s doing back here? Doesn’t he know Helen’s married?! And he’s trying to hit on with her again?! Why?
I liked that moment in the episode when Edmundson tries to offer a lift to Helen when James and Tristan’s car gets a puncture on their way to the fair. But Helen politely declines Edmundson’s offer.
Helen does manage to stay loyal to James despite Edmundson trying to hit on her throughout the episode. I don’t know what his game is, but he’s clearly being annoying when he gets around Helen.
I think it’s also Helen’s subtle way of making James jealous to which she does manage to succeed on some level. She also tells Edmundson that married life to James is ‘fine’, which I did find rather odd.
Wouldn’t Helen have said married life to James is ‘great’ instead of ‘fine’? Maybe she was trying to politely back Edmundson off and let him know there is no chance he can have her as she is married.
Helen even tells Edmundson that he’ll find someone else but he says there was only one girl in his life. Really? Was it really just Helen? Maybe it’s Edmundson patching things up with no hard feelings.
This episode also features John Rolls as Mr. Edmundson Senior, Richard Edmundson’s father…stop! Continuity error here! Apparently Richard Edmundson’s father is supposed to be dead by this point.
According to Tristan in Series 1, Edmundson’s father died a few years ago when he took over his business. Here in this tale, Edmundson’s father is alive and is president of the Darrowby Farm Show.
Whoops! How come they made a big continuity error in the series? If Edmundson’s father is supposed to be dead in Series 1, how come he’s now alive in Series 2? It makes no sense at all here!
This episode also features Georgina Melville as Diana Brompton. She appeared in the first two episodes of Series 1 of ‘All Creatures’, though she had only briefly appeared as Siegfried’s girlfriend.
In this episode, Diana Brompton is one of the horse riders who attempts to get into riding in a race at the fair. When she gets turned down by James, she is unhappy, believing him unfit as the duty vet.
There’s also Michael Brennan as Mr. Meeker, who coordinates the show and who James works under at the vet. Meeker’s not a very nice man and he seems to berate James in his decision-making.
He also seems to have this prejudice against vets. In fact, what is it with this prejudice against vets in the series? A lot of the people in Darrowby seem to be ungrateful when it comes to the veterinaries.
There’s Geoffrey Reed as Mr. Griffiths who insists that James keeps rechecking his white dog after it’s diagnosed he’s sick. But James refuses to let Griffith’s dog into the contest which gets him angry.
Frank Birch returns as Mr. Mallock who previously appeared in ‘Nothing Like Experience’ during Series 1. Mallock’s fine and he seems to approve when James gets pretty firm in his decision-making.
Peter Martin returns as Mr. Handshaw in the series. Handshaw seems to be a jerk in this episode as well. Not because of repeating his favourite cow story, but not letting James into the tent to have lunch.
There’s also Fred Gaunt as Mr. Smithers and Charles Booth as Young Smithers who try to enter their horse for a contest. But like Diana Brompton before them, James won’t allow their horse to enter in.
Whilst James is having a bad day so far, Tristan tries to woo a pretty barmaid in the beer tent. This is Kathy Jones as Beryl. And to be fair, Tristan seems good in charming the ladies despite getting drunk.
It seems to go fine for Tristan when he gets on well with Beryl in the beer tent. But then she’s sent home by Bert Oxley as the Barman. Why did this happen? Because she is actually the Barman’s wife!
Tristan is understandably shocked by this. He checked that Beryl had no wedding ring on her finger. But it turns out she doesn’t wear her wedding ring when she washes up the dishes in that beer tent.
Okay, if that’s the case, why didn’t she tell Tristan that she was married? It would’ve saved an awful lot of bother! Maybe something was going on between Beryl and her husband that’s not mentioned.
Well at least it was a perfect misunderstanding…oh, okay. Tristan gets a punch in the eye by the Barman. Poor Tristan! All he did was try be charming to a barmaid who he didn’t know was married.
James conducts the final competition of family pets. Meeker isn’t pleased with the choices James has made. For these choices made by James are for the white rabbit, the guinea pig and the goldfish.
The goldfish gets the first prize and everyone ‘boos’ and throws fruit at James for this. Apparently the goldfish belongs to Richard Edmundson’s brother. It surprises James since he did not know this.
Everyone believes James made a bias choice, despite him saying he didn’t know. In fact, why didn’t Meeker tell him before he made the announcement? Meeker is very mean-spirited for this episode.
I liked the last scene between James and Helen where he’s pretty rattled by the whole day, finding it to be the worst in his life. Helen simply laughs and says how much she loves him which is nice of her.
The episode ends with Siegfried having a riding competition with Edmundson. Unfortunately Siegfried loses and has to give Edmundson a bet of £10. That’s so steep! Never make bets, Siegfried!
Everyone drives home with James, Siegfried and Tristan being very unhappy. Mrs. Hall is happy however as she won her trophy she wanted for her best marmalade jar at the fair. Good for her! 😀
Wow I’ve said a lot about ‘Judgement Day’, haven’t I? I clearly enjoyed this episode and it’s one of the best featured in Series 2 of ‘All Creatures’. I am so looking forward to watching the next episode.
‘Judgement Day’ rating – 9/10
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