‘Pups, Pigs and Pickle’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This ‘All Creatures’ episode is pretty good for the most part. I wouldn’t consider it a favourite, but there are some bits in it including James having to deal with a pregnant dog and having a fatty breakfast.

‘Pups, Pigs and Pickle’ is adapted by Terence Dudley from the ‘James Herriot’ books. Oh he’s back for ‘All Creatures’, is he? I haven’t heard from him in a while. And he’s writing instead of directing for this.

In fact, this happens to be Terence Dudley’s first writing contribution to ‘All Creatures’ in Series 2 whereas he was a director in Series 1. This TV episode is also Robert Tronson’s fourth one as a director.

In the episode, Siegfried is driving along in his car where he almost runs over a pig and a man chasing after it. Siegfried becomes really agitated as he could’ve almost run the man and pig over with his car.

He goes out to confront the man who happens to be…oh my goodness! Stop the episode! I can’t take it seriously! It’s Gordon Kaye as Kit Bilton. Gordon Kaye would later go on to star in ‘Allo, Allo’ as René.

I’d only just seen that sitcom series in early 2018 after Christmas 2017. It was so surreal to see Gordon Kaye in a drama series like ‘All Creatures’. And most importantly, he’s not playing a French man here. 😀

Gordon Kaye’s character of Kit Bilton is that he’s an amiable, mild-mannered local framer who fattens a pig for slaughter ever year. However, Kit’s problem happens to be that he’s very fond of his animals.

He becomes an emotional wreck when he has to do the deed when the time comes. Um, couldn’t he have done a different job instead of a pig farmer to slaughter them? He could be an egg farmer instead.

It’s clear when Kit’s such an emotional wreck once he’s in the local pub and Tristan with his girlfriend, Rita Giovannini as Daphne, tries to comfort him. Tristan tries to help Kit to see things in a different light.

I’m not sure if Tristan was trying to make fun of Kit Bilton or if he was genuinely helping him. It could be both of course, but it does the trick as Kit starts to see things in a positive manner in slaughtering pigs.

What’s funny is that Kit Bilton makes reference to his wife and her opinion on the matter. I’m surprised that we didn’t have one scene where Kit was with his wife and he called her, “You stupid woman!” 😀

I don’t think there was enough of Gordon Kaye in the episode as he was such a joy to watch and an appealing factor throughout. This is all before Gordon Kaye made his fame in the ‘Allo, ‘Allo’ BBC sitcom show.

After Siegfried sees Kit Bilton in the first scene, he gets confronted by a police officer, Stephen Riddle as P.C. Leach, who informs him the tax disc on his car is out of date. Siegfried challenges him upon that.

It is clear Siegfried’s trying to back out of taking the blame for not renewing his tax disc, blaming the police for incompetence. But the police officer is taking no nonsense and is simply performing his job.

Siegfried gets very frustrated and angry that he has to go through the drawers to look for the tax forms which he evidently didn’t fill in. It seems he filled in the incorrect forms once James had given them to him.

It was funny when Tristan seemed to be repeating his brother’s words which got on Siegfried’s nerves. It was hilarious when Siegfried had inadvertently repeated Tristan’s words and Tristan caught him out.

By the way, Helen is sadly not in this episode of ‘All Creatures’. This isn’t the first time this has happened as she was absent in ‘Tricks of the Trade’. I’m saddened Helen’s not in this. Her presence is reassuring.

Apparently Helen is away taking care of her sick aunt, which is something that happened in ‘Tricks of the Trade’ too. In this, James is persuaded by Mrs. Hall to sleep in his old bedroom while Helen is absent.

James also gets persuaded to go on a pub crawl with Tristan in the episode. This is because Tristan wants to impress his new girlfriend, Daphne. James however refuses as he is of course a married man.

Now let’s talk about Tristan’s girlfriend Daphne, who happens to be a nurse. First off, didn’t Tristan previously have a romantic relationship with Alice McTavish and had he considered marrying the girl?

He seems to have got over her very quickly with another girlfriend, hasn’t he? Secondly, Daphne does seem to be a bit gobby, doesn’t she? Our Tristan has some strange tastes with his woman, doesn’t he?

Siegfried seems taken with Daphne though as he manages to hit it off with her when he meets her in the living room. This is when Tristan had spilled his beer in the pub and had to return home to change.

That’s partly Daphne’s of course. When Tristan sees Siegfried and Daphne getting on so well with each other, he clearly becomes jealous. Tristan and Daphne are just about to go the pictures to see a movie.

The movie in question happens to be ‘It Happened One Night’ with Clark Gable. My Dad happens to have the DVD of that movie. He and Mum soon watched it after we saw this ‘All Creatures’ episode. 😀

After one night of a pub crawl, Tristan and Daphne return to Skeldale House late at night. Apparently Daphne got locked out of her own hospital where she works. Tristan allows her to take the spare room.

The spare room happens to be the old bedroom where James is sleeping in now. I did find it funny when Daphne saw James in the bed and she tries to wake him up. Thankfully she didn’t scream in this.

James wakes up surprised to see Daphne in the room, before he soon goes to Tristan’s room, taking her with him to confront Trist. It was so funny when James got so annoyed with Tristan’s antics in this.

James refuses to have anything to do with Tristan and Daphne as he decides to go back to bed and sleep the night away. Trist complains James is acting like Siegfried. James admits he does feel like him.

Thankfully Tristan does the honourable thing of sleeping downstairs on the sofa whilst letting Daphne have his room. After two phone calls during the night, Siegfried wakes up getting annoyed with Tristan.

Fortunately James answered the first phone call and Siegfried answered the second. When Siegfried goes to wake up Tristan in his bedroom with a sponge, he is very surprised to see Daphne in the room.

Siegfried almost becomes angry, believing Tristan to have behaved dishonourably. Fortunately, Daphne explains it all to Siegfried what’s just happened and he is all laughs and smiles in the morning.

It was so funny when Siegfried introduces Daphne to Mrs. Hall early in the morning for breakfast before Mrs. Hall and Daphne find Tristan in the living room. Clearly Tristan had a really awful night! 😀

Meanwhile James helps to attend a call with a local farmer involving one of his pregnant cows. The farmer happens to be…Colin Douglas as Mr. Horner. Oh no! Now I can’t take this episode seriously! 😀

Colin Douglas is well-known for starring in the TV drama series, ‘A Family At War’ back in the early 1970s. He’s also been in the ‘Doctor Who’ stories, ‘The Enemy of the World’ and ‘Horror of Fang Rock’.

It was nice to see Colin Douglas in this episode, although it’s ironic to see him play this particular character. This is especially because I remember this scene from this ‘All Creatures’ episode very well.

After attending to the pregnant cow, which James manages to do very well, he’s invited by Mr. Horner for a spot of breakfast. James agrees as he goes back to the house to meet Nora Fulton as Mrs. Horner.

It was interesting but slightly ironic when Mr. Horner and James talked about an upcoming war before breakfast. I mean, Colin Douglas should know ‘there’s a war coming’ as he was in ‘A Family At War’. 😀

Anyway the breakfast James has in the episode…oh my goodness, ugh! James has a bit of bacon and it happens to be…pure fat. And it’s not even heated up. It’s just cold fatty bacon with a big mug of tea.

I’m glad I had my bacon butty earlier that day when I saw this episode in the evening. I like having bacon, but to have too much fat on it is disgusting and hard to swallow. James has a go at swallowing it.

He even uses pickle to help with getting it down and make it edible. Not sure if helped much. James even tried feeding some to the dog Ben, but Mr. Horner caught his dog and wasn’t letting him have it. 😀

It was also surreal to hear Mr. Horner belch away as he seemed to enjoy his bacon whereas James wasn’t. It was funny when James finished his breakfast and excused himself to check on the cow again.

What James actually wants is to go away and be sick as he tries to find somewhere to do it. Fortunately with his running, that spasm of sickness doesn’t come out, saving us from seeing a very gross scene. 😀

But Mr. Horner doesn’t let James get away with it as he offers to him some bacon and a jar of pickle to take home. You can see the pained expression on James’ face. It’s clearly something he wanted. 😀

James also attends to a little dog called belonging to Avril Angers as Miss Dooley…whose name kept changing in the episode somehow. 😀 Avril Angers is well-known for starring in the ‘Dad’s Army’ series.

That is in both the TV and radio series, usually as a telephone operator. I didn’t realise it was Avril Angers until the very end of the episode. It was fun to see her, although she does seem unreasonable.

The reason for James calling on the dog is that she’s going into labour, although it happens to be late coming. Miss Dooley is convinced that the right treatment for her little Cindy is some sort of injection.

James however isn’t convinced as he believes more time is needed for the little dog to go into labour. Miss Dooley doesn’t understand this since this isn’t the first time that Cindy the dog went into labour.

The first time was when Mr. Grier attended to the dog and had performed the injection instantly. You may recall Mr. Grier from the two Series 1 episodes, ‘Sleeping Partners’ and ‘Practice Makes Perfect’.

Despite Miss Dooley’s protestations, James refuses to give the injection she wants her dog to have. Miss Dooley grows to dislike James, calling him ‘nasty’ to her Cindy when she won’t have the injection.

James gets pestered by Miss Dooley now and again to perform the injection on her little Cindy as the episode progresses. But James still refuses and is increasingly frustrated by Miss Dooley’s phone calls.

Eventually Siegfried attends to Miss Dooley’s dog whilst James is occupied elsewhere and gives the injection to the dog. Apparently the injection was needed since Cindy has her little puppies in the end.

The episode ends with James calling on Miss Dooley for one last time before giving her a jar of pickle to her dog Cindy after seeing her eat Mr. Horner’s bacon. James throws the bacon in a bin as he drives off.

‘Pup, Pigs and Pickle’ is a pretty good episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. I know I’ve said a lot about this episode, but I do feel Helen’s absence makes me enjoy it less despite some pretty funny moments.

‘Pups, Pigs and Pickle’ rating – 8/10

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