‘Promises To Keep’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

And so here we are on the final episode of Series 7 of ‘All Creatures’. It’s not the actual final episode of the TV series, but we’re getting closer. ‘Promises To Keep’ is a decent episode to close off Series 7.

‘Promises To Keep’ is by Johnny Byrne. It’s very fitting to have the last episode of Series 7 by Johnny Byrne. Wish I could say Johnny Byrne wrote the 1990 Christmas Special too, but that’s for another time.

This episode is also the last one to be directed by Steve Goldie. His four episodes have been spread throughout the entire Series 7. It’s a pity, but I do like them title sequences he gives for his episodes.

Speaking of the title sequence, we have Robert Hardy and Christopher Hardy in the credits and Peter Davison and Lynda Bellingham. Thora Hird’s Mrs. Clarke and Jean Heywood’s Mrs. Alton are in it too.

I am puzzled though as to why Thora Hird is credited first before Jean Heywood in the title sequence. Surely Jean Heywood has become one of the regulars now? Thora Hird is this episode’s guest star. 😐

And yes, Thora Hird has been in ‘All Creatures’ before. In fact, she was in the Series 6 season finale called ‘The Best Time’. Interesting she happens to be in both season finales for Series 6 and Series 7.

As well as Thora Hird back as Mrs. Clarke for this episode, we also have Ray Mangion as Franco from ‘The Best Time’. There’s also the return of Jessica Sewell as Mary, Mrs. Clarke’s granddaughter in this.

The episode also introduces us to Caroline Webster as Katharine, Mrs. Clarke’s daughter. Franco and Katharine fall in love with each other, which become significant at the end, but we’ll get back to that.

Anyway, the episode begins with Tristan…treating a sick cow. Whatever was coming out of that sick cow was disgusting and Tristan is not all too happy when he had to attend to it with another farmer.

This all happened one evening leading up to the night. Siegfried returns home to find Tristan in bed and he criticises his little brother for sleeping in. Siegfried assumed Tristan was partying out all night.

James assumed so too since he thought that was where he was going to go after attending to the sick cow. Tristan becomes very upset about this as Siegfried and James are wrongfully criticising him.

He goes into a rant about how Siegfried and James are always giving him the dirty jobs. I don’t blame Tristan feeling this way. Siegfried and James often at times are really unreasonable to Trist in his job.

I know Tristan can often enjoy too many pints at a pub and wanting to be a ladies’ man, but he does think seriously about his job. Surely Siegfried should see Tristan grown-up by this point in the series.

Anyway, when Siegfried dishes out lists of jobs to Tristan and James, Tristan points out that Siegfried seems to be having easy jobs instead of him. Eventually, a compromise is reached regards the issue.

Siegfried and Tristan agree to swap rounds for the day. Siegfried will do his little brother’s whilst Tristan does vice versa. The first job for Tristan instead of Siegfried happens to be a very large pig. 😀

The pig happens to be called ‘our Gracie’, belonging to Warren Clarke as Mr. Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe’s a rather laid-back sort of farmer who lets Tristan get started on Gracie, whom he’s so unprepared for.

It was funny when Tristan saw the size of Gracie and found it a challenge to calm her down when treating her. Siegfried gets on fine with Gracie whenever around as does Mr. Sutcliffe who owns her.

I couldn’t help laugh when Tristan was about to drive off in his car and the large pig smashed her way out in anger through a barn door. I didn’t think it was possible for a pig to do that in real-life. 😀

Tristan also has to castrate to the pig’s litter. This was prearranged by Siegfried for Mr. Sutcliffe. Essentially, what it means is that Trist has to remove the testicles of the piglets. I’m not certain why.

Anyway, Tristan gets on with it the next day, but it has its setbacks too. For one thing, the cats of Sutcliffe’s eat the piglets’ testicles once they’ve been taken out. Ugh! That’s so gross to think about!

It results in the cats being knocked out cold, even falling to the ground from a height in the barn. Tristan is shocked to see this happen, although it doesn’t kill them. It’s just an inconvenience really.

Another instance where Tristan attends to Sutcliffe’s farm is when he has to take out a tooth from ‘our Gracie’ (I think). Siegfried accompanies him this time. Tristan injects something into the big pig.

But instead of Tristan injecting the pig, he injects Siegfried instead. That was so funny to watch. Tristan helps Siegfried back to their car once they finish. ‘Gracie’ did make a lot of noise during that.

I wonder if ‘Gracie’ is always bad-tempered or if that’s a normal reaction for pigs concerning one of their teeth being taken out. Siegfried and Tristan also come to Sutcliffe’s farm in Siegfried’s car here.

This is because Tristan’s car overheated when he was escaping from ‘Gracie’ charging out through a barn door at Sutcliffe’s car last time. Siegfried caught up with Tristan as he saw that car overheating.

Because Siegfried can’t drive back home with what Tristan injected him with, Trist has to drive Siegfried’s car back. I hope Siegfried can trust his brother to drive his car back home this time round.

Let’s go back to Mrs. Clarke’s story in the episode. Apparently, Siegfried has to deal with Mrs. Clarke’s lambs that are failing. There’s not much to say about this as it gets sort out fine in the end. 🙂

But the lambs aren’t the issue. It seems that Mrs. Clarke own health may not be what it used to be. She works too hard nowadays and her daughter Katharine and her granddaughter Mary are worried.

Mrs. Clarke is a fiercely determined woman to keep up with the work at her farm before she dies. She loves her daughter and granddaughter devotedly and is very concerned about their futures too.

It was nice to see scenes between Siegfried and Mrs. Clarke where they talk about the future of her farm as well as her children. Siegfried is pretty supportive of Mrs. Clarke in her plans for the future. 🙂

It was also nice to see how Katharine’s introduced in this episode as part of Mrs. Clarke’s family. She wants to go to Africa and run her own hospital. But she’s torn about leaving her mother behind too.

This is where her relationship with Franco comes into play. They must’ve known each other for quite some time in the period Katharine had left her nursing job to return and assist at her mother’s farm.

Franco is a genuinely good man from a foreign country living in the Yorkshire Dales. He wants to marry Katharine, but is fearful of Mrs. Clarke not granting the marriage due to his foreign heritage. 😦

I was puzzled by that since I thought Mrs. Clarke had made her peace with Franco in the previous episode. But Helen does point out having a foreign neighbour as one of the family is a different thing.

I liked it when James met up with Franco at his farm to help out with his sheep at first (I believe) before asking him on advice on how to propose marriage to Katharine. It’s a very nice written scene.

It seems Franco’s marriage proposal customs are quite different where he comes from to where he is now. I’m sure that’s true. I wonder what falling in love with French or Italian women would be like. 😀

It’s also interesting that Franco even considers going with Katharine to Africa and run a hospital. James’ advice is pretty sound. He doesn’t even realise Franco is in love with Katharine by this point.

Eventually, a crisis ensues during the night at Mrs. Clarke’s farm. Apparently something happened to Mary’s cat. Siegfried and Tristan go out to Mrs. Clarke’s farm to see if they can salvage the situation.

But it’s too late as the cat is already dead. This is rather sad for Mary as she and Tristan take the cat out to be buried. It leads to an emotional scene and Mrs. Clarke’s concerns for the future are raised.

Katharine reveals to her mother she’s staying behind to look after her and the farm. She’s not going to Africa after all. Mrs. Clarke won’t have anything of it, as she doesn’t want to deny Katharine’s future.

Katharine then hints to her mother that she may have found someone to marry. With Mrs. Clarke confused, Siegfried sends Katharine out to prepare her mother for what news her own daughter has.

Eventually, Katharine re-enters with Franco at her side. Franco asks permission from Mrs. Clarke to marry her daughter. This all leads into one of the most beautifully well-handled scenes in any drama.

Mrs. Clarke doesn’t say anything as she looks back to the photo of her son that died during the war before answering. She then reaches her hand out to Franco and Katharine, accepting their marriage.

This was nicely done and I’m glad there didn’t need to be any dialogue for this scene between them. It shows how Mrs. Clarke accepts her daughter and Franco together, through her emotions and such.

There’s also a nice ending for Mary too in the episode. Apparently Tristan took one of Mr. Sutcliffe’s cats from his farm and gave it to Mary as a present. This is something Siegfried greatly approves of. 🙂

Eventually, weeks later I presume, we then have the marriage of Franco and Katharine at a church. Yikes! That came around so fast! Everyone is there at the wedding including Mrs. Clarke and Mary. 🙂

There’s also James, Helen, Siegfried, Mrs. Alton and Tristan too. Though Tristan’s distracted by a girl he just met – Sarah Dangerfield as Judith. Yeah, that is rather late in the episode for a Trist romance.

It was funny when Tristan was distracted in the group photo at the wedding and didn’t look at the camera. Eventually, Franco and Katharine are off their honeymoon and everybody is saying goodbye.

I found it cruel of James and Siegfried taking Tristan away from Judith when he seemed to be getting on well with her. Even though she didn’t come by her own car and she went off with somebody else.

She probably had her own boyfriend that Tristan didn’t even know about. Typical! The episode ends with Siegfried and James dragging a reluctant Tristan back to their car so they can all return home. 🙂

‘Promises To Keep’ is a good episode to end Series 7. My parents and I enjoyed it. There is one more episode left to look at in the ‘All Creatures’ TV series. It’ll be intriguing to see how it all comes to an end.

‘Promises To Keep’ rating – 8/10

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