‘Pride of Possession’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another very good ‘All Creatures’ episode from the series. The first three seasons of ‘All Creatures’ feature some of the best episodes of period comedy drama as they were a highlight for me.

‘Pride of Possession’ is adapted by Anthony Steven from the ‘James Herriot’ books and was directed by Christopher Barry. It is amazing that Anthony Steven writes well in period drama as opposed to sci-fi.

The episode begins with James being summoned to help by Geoffrey Bayldon as Mr. Roland Partridge. Wow! Geoffrey Bayldon is in this ‘All Creatures’ episode. I didn’t recognise him at first when I saw him.

Geoffrey Bayldon has guest starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Creature From The Pit’ with Tom Baker. He was also in the 1973 BBC production of ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ with Sarah Sutton.

It was nice to see Geoffrey Bayldon in this. Here he plays a lonely man who has a sick dog, hence why James is summoned to help him. The dog is called Percy and is such a cute-looking dog in this episode.

James checks on Percy and discovers that he has some growth on one of his hind legs. He tells Roland Partridge that it is nothing serious but asks to let him know if it gets bigger. Partridge agrees of course.

But as the episode progresses, James and Tristan notice from a distance that Percy the dog’s walking is getting difficult. When James sees Partridge again and checks Percy the dog, the growth’s got bigger.

James calmly reminds Partridge that he should’ve told him sooner about Percy’s growth. But Roland Partridge is afraid about his dog Percy having a surgical operation performed on him. Percy’s all he’s got.

This is something James sympathises with as he contemplates whether there are alternatives to give Percy treatment rather than a surgical operation. Thankfully Siegfried helps, giving James a pamphlet.

Apparently there’s a medical treatment that Percy can have instead of undergoing medical surgery. This treatment is given first as an injection by Tristan to Percy and later as medical tablets by Partridge.

However the medication given to Percy has an unusual side effect in the process. Apparently it raises Percy’s hormone level and causing other dogs to be attracted to him. I don’t fully understand it either.

Thankfully it’s only temporary and Percy gets cured by the medical treatment. I was hoping to see more of Percy by the end of the episode. Sadly this didn’t happen which is a shame as he’s so cute. 😀

As well as attending to his dog, James also notices that Mr. Partridge is a gifted amateur painter. He even purchases one of Mr. Partridge’s paintings of a horse. This is before it is about to be painted over.

James takes the painting home and puts it on the living room mantelpiece for all to see including himself, Siegfried, Tristan, Mrs. Hall and Helen. Yes! Carol Drinkwater returns as Helen Herriot for this.

I did feel her absence when watching the previous episode, ‘Tricks of the Trade’. She doesn’t have a major part to play in this episode, but she did have a few scenes with James which were a joy to watch.

The scene I’m thinking of is when she finds James working late at night in the living room and comes down to tell him to come to bed. It was nice to see when James gets anxious and Helen supports him.

Mrs. Hall seems to have a low opinion of Mr. Partridge compared to James, Siegfried, Tristan and Helen which is peculiar. She seems to know a lot about Roland Partridge when he was just a small boy.

This never gets dealt with in full detail as to why Mrs. Hall has a low opinion of Mr. Partridge. I’m not entirely sure I understand it. It would’ve been nice to have one scene between Partridge and Mrs. Hall.

Because James rates Mr. Partridge’s paintings so highly, he arranges for him to paint a portrait of a new prize bull owned by Paul Dawkins as Bill Ogilvie. Mr. Partridge is amazed James has arranged this.

Partridge had originally intended to work for Mr. Ogilvie at a small fee. But when James negotiated for him, he told Ogilvie that he work at £30. That must’ve been quite a lot of money back in them days.

Again, Partridge is amazed by this amazement but he soon gets to work on painting Mr. Ogilvie’s prize bull. We even have one scene where Partridge paints the canvas with the bull standing in front of him.

It was nice when James got to see Partridge working hard in the sunshine before leaving him to his work. But as the episode progresses, it seems Ogilvie is growing less enthusiastic regards the painting.

At first, Ogilvie is keen about his new prize bull despite it coming from Germany. This is something that is raised by his neighbour Gerald James as Charlie Rudd, who refuses to allow the bull on his land.

Yeah by this point in the series, there was the prospect of war with Germany becoming more dominant under the control of the Nazis. Charlie Rudd seems to have this prejudice regarding Ogilvie’s prize bull.

Ogilvie’s enthusiasm starts to wane when the bull himself doesn’t perform his ‘duties’. Meaning the bull won’t mate with any of the cows in his farm. It worries him as he wonders why the bull is reluctant.

There’s even a moment when Siegfried has Ogilvie’s bull wear a straw hat, making him look silly and unusual. Not sure what that is supposed to do to assist Ogilvie’s bull with mating with one of his cows.

Anyway it doesn’t work for a while until Ogilvie’s bull starts getting into the field of Charlie Rudd’s farm as it fancies one of the cows. Charlie Rudd is so outraged when he sees Bill Ogilvie regarding this.

It’s good this should happen as Ogilvie was considering not taking Partridge’s painting before he hears his bull mating with Rudd’s cows. Ogilvie tells Partridge how brilliant the painting is before he takes it.

Also in the episode, James attends to another Mr. Rudd (I think) with his newly acquired cow. This is Niall Padden as Maurice Rudd. Mr. Rudd’s cow is called Strawberry and has this terrible abscess on her.

In the first instance when James treats Strawberry, he has Tommy Edwards as a non-speaking Farmhand (also called Tommy I think) helping him. James asks Tommy to press his weight on the cow.

But at the sight of blood, Tommy faints and falls on top of James just as he treats Strawberry. This was very funny to see as Mr. Rudd was getting James out from Tommy before getting Tommy to wake up.

Unfortunately, Strawberry seems to getting worse as her breathing becomes heavier and she collapses onto the ground. Fortunately James works hard on finding a way to get Rudd’s cow back onto her feet.

It was quite gross when seeing James managing to get rid of Strawberry of her abscess and having puck all over his fingers. Thankfully he didn’t put it in his mouth. Shouldn’t he be wearing gloves though?

The last subplot to talk about is of course with Tristan. It’s actually an amusing one and rather sweet too. With Tristan, he treats to the dog of Madeline Smith as Angela Farmer. She seems a sweet widow.

In their first scene together, you think that Tristan and Angela are getting on well as they call each other by their first names. But then he has to give her dog one injection. You know where this is going.

Instead of injecting the dog, Tristan injects Angela instead. Quite frankly, Angela shouldn’t have carried the dog in her arms for Tristan to give the injection. He should’ve done it on the table like he suggested.

Thankfully Tristan doesn’t do it a second time as he learns his lesson from this when attending to Mr. Partridge’s dog in the episode. But Tristan is pretty shaken and distraught by this accident that he’s had.

It was when Siegfried walked in and saw the incident that gets Tristan down about it. He hoped he was getting on well with Angela, finding her a completely sort of breed of woman compared to his nurses.

He shares his anxieties with James when he’s fretting over them. But thankfully James helps him to overcome his anxieties and gives him encouragement to see things in a different when seeing Angela.

Thankfully Tristan takes on James’ encouragement and even sees Angela again, although it’s a few times off-screen when this happens. This is one scene however when Tristan sees Angela at her home.

This is when Angela’s worried her dog might be expecting. But when Tristan examines the dog, it doesn’t seem to be ready yet. Thus this scene for an almost romantic interaction between Tristan and Angela.

And it turns out Tristan does nothing in the time he spends with Angela. Nothing romantic or anything. This is unusual as Tristan would go for any girl in that tender situation. He shares it with James at a pub.

Tristan doesn’t seem happy that he didn’t get anywhere with Angela and thinks he’ll never have a chance like it again. James again gives some more words of wisdom and encouragement to dear Trist.

The episode ends with Siegfried seeing everyone over dinner and saying that Angela has requested to see Tristan for tea on Saturday evening. The Saturday evening is when Tristan is on duty in the surgery.

Tristan asks James if he would mind doing surgery instead of him. James agrees and Tristan is happy. Even Siegfried seems to be laughing ecstatically over Tristan and Angela before the end credits roll up.

By the way, there’s a funny scene where Tristan and James are about to have Mrs. Hall’s scones whilst Siegfried and Helen are out. Tristan is about to have those scones while James attends to pouring tea.

‘Pride of Possession’ is a pretty good ‘All Creatures’ episode in the series. I enjoyed seeing Geoffrey Bayldon in this as well as his dog Percy. It was also nice to see Tristan have his sweet romantic subplot.

‘Pride of Possession’ rating – 8/10

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