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This is an ‘All Creatures’ episode I didn’t recall very well when re-watching it for this review. I’m sure I saw it before and having watched it again, I found this to be a pretty solid episode in ‘All Creatures’.
‘Puppy Love’ is adapted by Brian Finch (again) from the ‘James Herriot’ books. Brian Finch previously adapted ‘The Name of the Game’ for ‘All Creatures’. Brain had become a popular writer on this show.
The episode was also directed by Kenneth Ives. Once again, I can imagine a lot of Quark robots from the ‘Doctor Who’ TV tale, ‘The Dominators’, destroyed as a result of not obeying orders from Ives. 😀
In this episode, a visitor comes to Skeldale House to see Tristan. This happens to be Elizabeth Millbank as Alice McTavish, a friend from Edinburgh that Tristan knows when studying for his exams.
Alice McTavish also happens to have ‘wee Tristan’. We’ll get back to him later. Anyway, when Alice meets Siegfried and tells him she has come to see Tristan, she also tells him he has her ‘wee Tristan’.
Siegfried is obviously concerned about this. He jumps to conclusions that Tristan may have had…you know…a thing going on with Alice. Despite that though, he finds Alice to be a pleasant girl to talk to.
By the way, Tristan isn’t there at Skeldale House since he and James have gone off to a conference in London. On the way home, Tristan’s clearly tired and possibly got a hangover from a late night party.
James is annoyed with Tristan about the arrangements they made to go to the conference in London. On the way back, he gets Tristan to take it in turns to drive the car. Not sure it’s a good idea.
They eventually do get back home in one piece. But as James leaves Tristan still dozing in the car, Tristan, who is half-asleep, promptly drives the car forward and he crashes through the garage wall.
I couldn’t help find that hilarious as well as shocking when that happened. Only Tristan would drive through a wall when he’s half-asleep. He’s in one piece of course, but will Siegfried have a go at him?
Thankfully he doesn’t as Siegfried attends to Tristan’s head wound when he’s inside the house. He of course is annoyed that his brother did an idiotic thing like that, but he doesn’t lash out like per usual.
In fact, I think Siegfried is holding back on his temper to ask Tristan about his Edinburgh friend, Alice McTavish, and this ‘wee Tristan’ she has. When Siegfried does ask Tristan about it, it becomes hilarious.
It’s at an opportune moment when Alice visits again and is reunited with Tristan once more. Tristan introduces ‘wee Tristan’ to Siegfried in the living room and it turns out to be a dog. That’s a big relief.
Siegfried is relieved too as he welcomes Alice again with open arms and gets really chatty with her. I thought that Tristan was never going to spend time with Alice with Siegfried at it away with chatting.
Thankfully that doesn’t happen as Tristan and Alice do spend quite a bit of time together. In fact, this TV episode could possibly illustrate a wonderful romance tale for Tristan, without comedic disasters.
In previous episodes, Tristan has had many flings with girls. Sometimes they’re happy ones; sometimes they’re disastrous. Tristan tends to be a flirt, but here his feelings for Alice seem genuine.
I enjoyed it when seeing Tristan and Alice together as they go and see a film at the local cinema in Darrowby. I also liked it when they’re spending time out by a river bank and playing with each other.
The two share things with each other in the episode and seem to know each other well, especially since Tristan goes to Edinburgh to see her when studying. It does feel like a proper relationship here.
Now that does get hampered at times when James and Alice at the cinema and they’re being annoyed by Ray Mort as Mr. Wiggins. He sees himself as a cowboy film fan as he talks like a cowboy.
It was amusing when Tristan and Alice go to see Wiggins at his farm to attend one of his cows and he uses a lasso to get one of his cows to come to him. It does end with some pretty hilarious results. 😀
It’s also hinted that Tristan and Alice can get a little naughty when leaving a car’s headlights on in the garage. This is only to be discovered by Colin Fay as a police constable who calls and Tristan answers.
In fact, isn’t that the Colin Fay who played P.C. Blenkiron in ‘Nothing Like Experience’ in Series 1 of ‘All Creatures’? He’s not called that in this episode. Why isn’t he called P.C. Blenkiron in this episode?
Alice seems to be clearly interested in Tristan just as he is very keen on her. He even asks Alice to stay on for one more day with him, to which she agrees. She is meant to see a friend in Manchester.
I liked that scene between Tristan and Helen when he shares with her about his feelings for Alice. He’s thinking about making some permanent arrangements with Alice, as he’s fallen in love with her.
Helen is concerned about Tristan making a decision like that and offers some helpful advice on how to achieve that. He can even apply for his exams again to make an excuse and go down to Edinburgh.
Meanwhile with James, he attends to seeing a dog belonging to a married couple called the Barratts. And they’re not a happy couple. It was interesting how these two get developed as characters here.
David Daker guest stars as Mr. Barratt in the episode. David Daker has been in ‘Doctor Who’ in the TV tales, ‘The Time Warrior’ and ‘Nightmare of Eden’ as well as the audio tale ‘Creatures of Beauty’.
It’s a rather sad story that goes on here in this episode between the Barratts. They’re an unhappy couple on the verge of separation and the only thing that they share in common is their special dog.
I found the Barratts’ dog rather cute and it was sad when James diagnosed that the dog it has kidney trouble. Eventually, it amounts to one thing when James suggests they put the dog out of its misery.
Mr. Barratt isn’t one of the friendliest of people you can meet. He’s a rather sad man, smoking his pipe and can be very abrupt when he doesn’t mean to. He struggles as his and his wife’s dog’s dying.
Mrs. Barratt isn’t a very happy person either and wants to leave her husband and be off somewhere, since she’s got her suitcase ready. But she does not leave yet, since her dog is still in a pretty ill state.
When James makes his diagnosis, Mr. Barratt asks for Siegfried Farnon to give a second opinion on the matter. James agrees and Siegfried comes around to see the dog and makes the same diagnosis.
Mr. Barratt however refuses to have the dog be put down. Mrs. Barratt is shocked by this; unable to comprehend why he’s behaving this way. But I can guess the reason for why it seems to be the case.
As Mrs. Barratt is about to leave him, the only thing that’s stopping her leaving is the dog still alive. Mr. Barratt clearly doesn’t want his wife to leave him, but he won’t admit feelings freely before her.
Eventually, Mrs. Barratt visits Skeldale House to ask James to put their dog down. It seems Mr. Barratt has agreed to this as well. James agrees and he eventually comes round to put the dog down.
It was quite heartbreaking to see the scene where James puts the Barratts’ dog down. There are moments of silence throughout that scene. It is handled well with how the dog was being put down.
It was a nice moment when James and Mr. Barratt share their married lives to each other. James seems happy in his marriage to Helen whereas Mr. Barratt has had his marriage gone downhill lately.
After James leaves, Mrs. Barratt is on her way to leave her husband behind, taking her suitcase with her. Mr. Barratt asks his wife not to leave him, but she says she has to, wanting to find some peace.
It’s really sad how Mrs. Barratt leaves her husband. It doesn’t end in a happy ‘all is forgiven’ scenario as you might expect. It is proper drama as it’s a sad fact that some married couples don’t end happy.
The episode concludes when Alice McTavish visiting Tristan for one last time, telling him she has to return home as her father’s ill, having a heart attack. Tristan goes with Alice to walk to the bus stop.
At the bus stop, Tristan and Alice say a heartfelt goodbye to each other. Mrs. Barratt is in the bus watching Tristan and Alice as they kiss goodbye to each other. Alice then gets on the bus and leaves.
Tristan remains at the bus stop watching Alice go in the bus, just as the end credits music plays. I wonder if Tristan will ever get to see Alice again. It seemed the two were really well with each other.
‘Puppy Love’ is a very good episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. I liked the romance story going on with Tristan and Alice in this one and I did find it a sad story with the Barratts and their dog that dies.
‘Puppy Love’ rating – 8/10
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