‘NOTHING LIKE EXPERIENCE’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘Nothing Like Experience’ was adapted by Johnny Byrne from the ‘James Herriot’ books. Goodness! Johnny’s become a regular writer, hasn’t he? 😀 This episode was directed by Mr. Christopher Baker.
The episode follows up what happened in the previous episode. Helen comes to visit the vets’ surgery to have her dog Dan seen to. She specifically asks for James when Tristan sees her first thing.
James however is embarrassed about seeing Helen considering what happened last time during the dance in the previous episode. But thankfully it seems to be alright and all is forgiven between them.
Helen even gets to be James’ ‘assistant’ when he tends to Dan dog’s injuries. I like the interaction between James and Helen in the scenes in the surgery, since it is beautifully written and performed.
James even plucks the courage to ask Helen out to the movies once the treatment for Dan is over. Helen readily agrees. It’s clear Helen’s into James as much as James’s into Helen during the TV series.
The movie that James has in mind is a romantic sort of film set in the Hebrides in Scotland. On the night itself, James is certain there won’t be any disasters with him and Helen compared to last time.
Err…I wouldn’t put too many high hopes on that one, James. Anyway, James and Helen go to the Darrowby Plaza to see the film. Does it become disastrous in the end? Um…yeah, I am afraid it does.
You see, James and Helen aren’t the only ones there at the cinema. There’s also Ivor Salter as Gobber Newhouse…hey, wait a second. Ivor Salter was in three ‘Doctor Who’ stories as well. Wow!!!
(clears throat) Anyway, Gobber Newhouse seems to disrupt James’ evening with Helen by whispering ‘no hanky panky’ in the courting seats’ to him. He also laughs and falls asleep a lot there.
Gobber Newhouse also seems to lash out at James when he wakes up during the film’s screening. 😀 I’m assuming James has encountered Gobber Newhouse before, although we didn’t get to see that.
There’s also Peter Martin as Mr. Handshaw who’s seated in front of James and Helen in the cinema. If you don’t recall, Mr. Handshaw was in ‘Dog Days’ when his cow wouldn’t get up by James Herriot.
In fact, that’s what Handshaw says to James when he faces him in the cinema without a “Hello.” Is Handshaw keen to ridicule James’ prognosis with stating his cow would never get up again forever?
To top up to ruining James’ evening with Helen, the film shown is not what James wanted. Instead of the Scotland film, it turns out to be ‘Arizona Guns’. James is pretty annoyed by the change of movie.
Helen says this happens when cinemas don’t tell people that the screenings of films change but nobody seems to mind it. Um…was this a common thing for cinemas in rural areas during the 1930s?
Anyway, after Gobber Newhouse’s lash-out at James in the cinema, both James and Helen decide to leave and go somewhere. I’m hoping they’ll have a quiet evening meal where nobody disturbs them.
Also in the episode, James gets to meet the Dalby family who run a hillside farm in the country. This includes Cyril Appleton as Billy Dalby; his son Stephen Bratt as William and…am I seeing things here?
No I’m not! Apparently Janet Davies guest stars as Mrs. Dalby in the episode. Janet Davies! I was surprised and delighted to see her here. Janet Davies played Mrs. Pike in the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series.
Wait a minute! That means the two actresses who played Mrs. Pike in ‘Dad’s Army’ both on TV and radio have appeared in the same season of ‘All Creatures’. Pearl Hackney guest starred in ‘Calf Love’.
Anyway, Mrs. Dalby is motherly, kind-hearted soul. She especially dots on James when he comes to visit the house on the farm. She treats him to a little homemade pie and a cup of tea in the episode.
I really like the scenes James has with Mrs. Dalby, especially when they talk about her husband and the work on the farm. Janet Davies’ performance is very different to how she plays Mrs. Pike here. 😀
Sadly by the end of the episode, Mrs. Dalby’s husband Billy goes into hospital for pneumonia. Yikes! That was unexpected. It doesn’t get resolved what happens in the episode since it’s saved next time.
The biggest high point of the episode is the ghostly Monk of Raynes Abbey. It starts when Tristan shares to James about the recent ghostly appearance of the Monk. James does not believe it though.
But even Mrs. Hall seems to believe in the ‘superstitious’ nonsense that’s being aroused after Tristan mentions it. There of course can’t be any truth in it. Can there? Well, that’s what James discovers in the story.
You see, on the way back from a case at night-time, James passes Raynes Abbey in the car and sees the ghostly Monk before him. James is clearly terrified as he drives over to the pub to wash his fears.
The next time James encounters the Monk is when he’s with Colin Fay as P.C. Claude Blenkiron. They’re in the car and the two spot the Monk. They chase after it as the Monk flees from the abbey.
The pursuit leads to a riverbank away from the abbey where the Monk falls into the river. Well, that’s the last James has seen of that apparition, isn’t it? No! For the Monk turns up back at Skeldale.
Oh dear! James is going to have the fright of his life when the Monk turns up at the door and looks through the window, showing his face and…oh wait, it’s Tristan. I knew that was him all the time! 😀
It was really funny when the Monk turned out to be Tristan and James was fuming with rage when he opened the door to let him in. I couldn’t help but laugh here and neither could my Mum and Dad.
James doesn’t see the funny side to Tristan’s prank of dressing up as a Monk, which is understandable. James must have been frightened out of his wits in first seeing Tristain as the Monk.
There were some funny moments with Siegfried’s character as well in the episode. His inconsistency as a character returns when he ridicules James for failing to remember his veterinary medical toolkit.
Siegfried tries to give James a technique to remember things as he claims to always form a ‘mental image’ of where he left things. This gets contradicted when Siegfried seems to forget things himself.
I found it amusing when Siegfried and James visit Dickie Arnold as Mr. Kendall’s farm to see to his cow. It turns out Siegfried left things behind on his previous visits to Kendall’s farm which is amusing.
It certainly amuses James when he teases Siegfried, telling him that he’s used the ‘mental image’ technique given to him and that it works for him. Siegfried is clearly not amused as James teases him.
There’s one more sub-plot to talk about with the episode. It concerns James’ visit to Jack Watson as Mr. Cranford who claims his cow was ‘struck by lightning’. As James checks the cow, it’s not the case.
This episode also features the first appearance of Frank Birch as Mr. Mallock. Mallock comes to take the cow away so that James can conduct a post-mortem on the animal. The result’s straight-forward.
Apparently the cow died of natural causes. But Mr. Cranford seems insistent that his cow was ‘struck by lightning’. I didn’t understand why Cranford would be obsessed with his cow ‘struck by lightning’.
But my parents explained to me that Cranford wanted to get the money off his insurance for the cow. Having that cow die of natural causes would mean Cranford would have to pay money himself.
Cranford is not happy with James’ efforts and refuses to let him set foot on his land again. You’d think that would be the last we see of Cranford, right? Nope. Apparently Siegfried later visits Mr. Cranford.
Siegfried’s visit to Cranford involves a boar that has some ‘rash’ on it. After attending to the boar, Siegfried advises Cranford to rub ointment into the boar four times a day which he will send via post.
Now here’s where another moment of comedic muck-ups occurs in the tale. Siegfried assigns Tristan to send the ointment to Cranford and send some ‘infected cow dung’ to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The episode ends with Siegfried seeing Tristan in the surgery and telling him that Cranford got the ‘infected cow dung’ instead of the ointment. Thus, Cranford ends his business with the Farnon vets.
Surprisingly, Siegfried doesn’t erupt in anger before Tristan as you’d expect. He’s absolutely delighted since he calls Tristan ‘a genius’ and that he ‘got rid of the old vulture at last!’ What a relief!
This episode is again another excellent entry in the ‘All Creatures’ series. I look forward to seeing the next episode, since I know a special friendship between James and Helen become something better.
‘Nothing Like Experience’ rating – 9/10
|Go back to||Go next to|
|Return to All Creatures Great and Small|
|Return to Drama|