‘Only One Woof’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another ‘All Creatures’ episode I enjoyed from Series 4. Mind you, with that said, it wasn’t difficult to notice some of the flaws featured in this reboot version of the ‘All Creatures’ series here.

The sixth episode of Series 4 called ‘Only One Woof’ is by Johnny Byrne. I don’t want to discredit Johnny Byrne as he is a very good writer. I’m sure he delivers the goods despite these niggles I have.

Incidentally, this episode is the first to be directed by Roderick Graham, who takes over to direct the rest of the season from Peter Moffatt. This is also Roderick Graham’s first contribution as a director.

I don’t know much about Roderick Graham as a director, though he was the producer of ‘Z-Cars’ in the 1970s. The last five episodes of ‘All Creatures’: Series 4 are Roderick Graham’s only contribution.

By the way, I’ve noticed that the end credits for Roderick Graham’s episodes of Series 4 have a different background compared to Peter Moffat’s episodes. They have the Darrowby village in them.

Anyway in the episode, James and Helen with their children Jimmy and Rosie join Siegfried to go and watch a sheepdog trial taking place in Darrowby. My Mum and the internet helped to learn more. 😀

Whilst at the sheepdog trial, James has an encounter with John Sharp as Mr. Biggins. And oh boy does James have a hard time with him. Biggins seems convinced the vets are out to take his money.

James does his best to be patient and calm when trying to figure out whether Biggins wants him to go out to check his animals or not. Biggins becomes difficult and says that it’s up to James to decide.

I wonder why Biggins still keeps looking to James and other vets in Skeldale to attend to his animals. More often, I wonder why James and other vets seem to put up with him in their professional roles.

Anyway when one of Biggins’ cows dies, he claims it is James’ fault for not coming out to attend to it. This is in spite of the fact that James told Biggins to tell him whether he should go out to attend to it.

Mind you, you could look on both sides of the argument. James should’ve taken up on Biggins’ suggestion to check on a cow whilst Biggins should’ve been more urgent in his request for James to attend.

It also comes down to money of course and Biggins not wanting to pay a huge bill to James and the vets. Doesn’t Biggins consider the vets trustworthy enough to attend to his animals in the TV series?

There is a scene where Biggins gets James out to look to his animals when they seem to be all perfectly in good health. James realises that Biggins wants free examinations without having to pay.

James won’t allow it and things get frosty between them. There is a moment when Biggins seems to be making a joke out of it. I’m not sure whether that is sincere or not. Biggins is hard to understand.

Towards the end of the episode, another one of Biggins’ cows seems to have been struck by lightning after a terrible thunderstorm. But as James discovers, Biggins made it look it’d been struck.

This goes to show how unreliable Biggins can be as a client and I can see why James would find him annoying. Honestly, I’d just run away; go in a car and leave Biggins behind, never to see him again. 😀

There is a character I like in this episode when James meets up with Biggins. This is Claude Close as Winston Mallock. Not sure if he’s related to Jeff Mallock when he’s taking that first dead cow away.

But I like how Winston Mallock takes no nonsense from Biggins who tries to get him to pay less for his dead cow. Winston just leaves that dead cow once Biggins makes his demands. James is amused.

It was also Winston who spotted that Biggins’ other dead cow that got struck by lightning had been made to look like that. Sadly this seems to be Winston Mallock’s only appearance in the series so far.

Also in the episode, the vets meet Richard Mapletoft as Seb Wilkin with his sheep herding dog called Jip. Jip happens to be a dog who never barked. That’s surprising as I wondered if he was a mute dog.

Seb Wilkin is proud of being a shepherd and seems to rely on Jip when ordering him to do the sheepdog job he’s meant to do. But it starts to fall apart for Seb as Jip starts to have fits of epilepsy.

Siegfried examines the dog and offers to give some tablets to Seb to ease the epilepsy fits for Jip. Seb though, angered by his dog’s condition, considers putting him down when unfit for shepherding.

I did like that scene when James is angry about Seb considering putting his dog down whilst at the same time worried about Katharine Page as Mollie Minkin and her dog. He shares this with Siegfried.

Fortunately, Seb Wilkin decides to take the tablets given to him by Siegfried and decides to keep Jip as his pet after all. At the end of the episode, Jip seems like he’s about to bark at one sheepdog trail.

Going back to Mollie Minkin and her dog when James visits her at her house, it is a nice little sub-story that only lasts for two scenes. Mollie knows James has done his best when he treated her dog.

Mollie Minkin comes across as a nice old lady who keeps a photo frame of Sir Charles Armitage, the man who saved her life as well as one of John Wayne, her favourite film star. Intriguing combination!

In the episode, Siegfried comes back from an early morning call and accuses Calum of pandering to panicky clients as he tells them to call the vets anytime, day or night. Calum defends himself on this.

And I’d have to side with Calum on this matter. As far as I’m concerned, vets are supposed to be on hand, day or night. So why Siegfried should be complaining as he lets his frustration on Calum is odd.

Mind you, Siegfried could be testing Calum in that regard as he contradicts himself and his ‘inconsistency’ returns. Later on in the story, Siegfried reverses those words he said to Calum earlier.

I suppose Siegfried is doing to Calum what he did to James in the early seasons when training him to be a professional vet. With that said, I am not feeling that with Calum as with James in early seasons.

In fact, I’m really struggling to get into Calum’s character in the series. I just don’t know what his angle is and he seems to be his person when taking control of situations without consulting anyone.

He also doesn’t interact with the other main ‘All Creatures’ characters on the same level as they interact with each other. He’s rather distant from them as there isn’t the family feel between them.

In fact, I think that is one of my issues with the ‘All Creatures’ reboot. In the first three seasons, Siegfried, James, Helen and Tristan gathered at the table to have lunch and dinner in the living room.

In Series 4, we don’t have that anymore. James, Helen and the two children have their dinner in the kitchen instead of the living room. Where did the family feel of ‘All Creatures’ go before this reboot?

Also, I’m not really feeling the relationship between Calum and Deirdre in the series so far. It’s rather forced, especially when they have a picnic and look for deer. Calum even had Deidre climb up a tree.

And he leaves her there. How come Calum forgot about her when he went to look for deer before he met Ernest Clark as the Duke of Mannerton who had an interesting proposition for him in this story?

I don’t blame Deidre for being angry with Calum, especially when she climbed down from the tree and twisted her ankle. She should’ve chosen Tristan as he seems nicer and considerate than Calum.

But that seems to pass when Deidre seems to have forgiven Calum, despite him teasing her about climbing the tree again. Honestly, I’m not getting this relationship between Calum and Deirdre here.

I know Tristan didn’t get anywhere with Deirdre earlier in the series, but I felt more for that than I do with Calum and Deirdre. Also Calum stole Deidre from Tristan when he should have helped win her.

By the way, the subplot with the Duke of Mannerton that seems to set something big for the rest of the series. Well, guess what? This is the Duke of Mannerton’s only TV appearance. What’s the point?

Meanwhile with Tristan, he assists Sheila Tait as Mrs. Jean Derrick who wants advice on raising goats. And there seems to be something going on between them, despite her being married already.

I’m surprised Tristan seemed rather keen on Mrs. Derrick since I thought he’d be more respectable than that. Mind you, she’s a charming lady and was the one that invited Tristan to have some dinner.

Apparently Mrs. Derrick’s husband is retired and Tristan assumes him to be an elderly gentleman which a pretty young wife. But when he’s about to go and visit Mrs. Derrick, he gets told otherwise.

Siegfried and James tell Tristan that Mr. Derrick happens to be a younger man. In fact James says he’s the same age as Tristan. Tristan is quite taken aback, but he goes and sees Mrs. Derrick anyway.

Tristan then meets Freddie Fletcher as Bob Derrick, the husband who comes back and has words to say to him. Mr. Derrick’s angry with Tristan about the advice he gave to his wife about goats to keep.

Apparently the goats ate his tomatoes whilst he’s away. You can see now why Mrs. Derrick seemed to be charming towards Tristan. Living with Mr. Derrick must be a pretty hard life for her very lately.

There’s also the subplot where Helen takes a liking to a stray cat and her kitten when they stray into the garden. Actually my parents wondered about that. Does the Skeldale back garden look different?

I’ve checked and Cringley House in Askrigg, Leyburn, North Yorkshire was used as the location for Skeldale House in all of ‘All Creatures’. But the back garden does differ to the first three TV seasons.

Maybe it’s a continuity error but I’m sure there was a place where our main characters kept chickens and pigs one time. Or maybe the place has changed over time and this also includes the back garden.

Anyway, the stray cat and her kitten go missing for a while and Helen becomes worried. This is before the kitten returns and it is injured when James finds it. Helen wants James to cure that kitten.

I think Helen’s a little obsessed with the stray kitten and its mother here. The kitten soon runs off again. The episode ends when the kitten returns but Helen seems grumpy about it not coming back.

‘Only One Woof’ is okay as an ‘All Creatures’ episode and I did enjoy watching it. But once again, this does not feel the same as the original run of ‘All Creatures’ where I could feel for the characters.

‘Only One Woof’ rating – 7/10

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