‘The Call of the Wild’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is the last episode to feature John McGlynn as Calum Buchanan as well as Andrea Gibb as Deirdre. In this episode, the two finally get married before they leave together in the series which is really nice.

Over the two seasons and three episodes of Series 6 I’ve seen him in, I’ve grown to like Calum as a character. He had his flaws yes but in a strange way I’ve been quite entertained by the flaws that he had.

‘The Call of the Wild’, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Anthony Steven. It’s rather fitting Anthony Steven writes this last episode for Calum, considering he wrote episodes for him and Deirdre.

Bob Blagden once again returns to direct his third contribution to the ‘All Creatures’ TV series in the first production block of Series 6. Mind you, with the episodes well-made, it’s hard to spot a difference.

This episode also features the return of Peter Davison as Tristan Farnon. I was pleased to see him in this episode. Mind you, he only appears for a brief time in the episode and for one episode of Series 6.

Tristan is still doing tuberculin testing in Ireland apparently. Yikes, does it take a long time to do all that? He comes back to be Calum’s best man in this. Ah well, don’t worry. He’ll return in Series 7 soon.

In Calum’s last episode of ‘All Creatures’, it turns out he had an article published in a vets’ magazine. This is something Calum is pretty pleased with. So is James and everyone else who knows him in Darrowby.

Everyone except for Siegfried that is. Siegfried is rather envious of Calum getting his name in print whereas he and James haven’t had such luck. James is not so bothered about this as much as Siegfried.

Anyway, enough of that. Siegfried drags Calum along to visit Mrs. Bond and treat one of her cats. Yikes! Mrs. Bond is still alive by this point in the series? And still around? She’s been absent for a while.

Interesting how Siegfried describes Mrs. Bond to Calum before they’re about to go and see her. He describes her as being a ‘magnificent woman’. Um, that’s not how I’d describe Mrs. Bond in the series.

Eccentric, yes. Rather impatient, yes. But not ‘magnificent’. During the times James has visited Mrs. Bond in the series, she hasn’t been the most hospitable of people when keeping so many cats at home.

In fact, I’m surprised James wasn’t invited along to see Mrs. Bond instead of Calum by Siegfried. Though to be fair, James would rather not see Mrs. Bond and her cats due to the previous visits he made to her.

Sonia Graham returns as Mrs. Bond in the episode. She’s aged well since the last time we saw her. Her husband’s still around too. Not certain that it’s the same person playing him as in the previous seasons.

And of course, the house is still littered with cats all over the place in the episode. Not sure if it’s the same house as it was from previous seasons. It could be the same. It’s tricky to tell with it all being on video.

As Siegfried attends to one of Mrs. Bond’s cats in the episode – Felix, I believe (No! Not Felix the Cat 😀 ) – he’s shocked and dismayed when he thinks he sees Boris, one of Mrs. Bond very vicious tomcats! Boris?!

Wait! Is this going to be another situation with Tricki-Woo where one of the animals from the original era happens to be alive in the new era? No, it’s not apparently. Siegfried had put down old Boris years ago. 🙂

This new tomcat happens to be…the ‘son of Boris’. So…Boris had a son? Where’s the mother? 😀 This seems a believable situation where an old animal returns compared to how Trick-Woo comes back. 😀

Thankfully Siegfried doesn’t have to attend to ‘son of Boris’ in the episode. Oh no! Calum does! Oh dear! Poor Calum! Calum gets called in by Mrs. Bond to treat him during the second half of the episode.

And to be fair, Calum does a pretty good job in trying to treat ‘son of Boris’ when he becomes difficult and behaving in a panther-like manner. He does injure himself unfortunately when he’s let loose here.

In fact, Mrs. Bond has trouble trying to control ‘son of Boris’ when she gets him out of his box/basket. The husband attends to Calum once he gets injured, giving him a glass of brandy when he’s sitting down.

That’s nice of the husband to do that. I’m surprised the husband doesn’t get given an actor’s credit in the episode’s end credits or a line of dialogue. It’d be nice to know who’s playing Mrs. Bond’s husband.

Fortunately, Calum’s efforts to treat the cat were worthwhile. Apparently, Mrs. Bond discovered ‘son of Boris’ bursting the abscess he had on him with the pus coming out. Ugh! Mrs. Bond seems very grateful to Calum.

Well, that’s good isn’t it? Shame Calum doesn’t stay on to be Mrs. Bond’s cat champion or something. Mind you, Mrs. Bond and her cats don’t return either. This is their only appearance for the reboot era.

Hmm. That’s peculiar. I would’ve thought Mrs. Bond did more than one appearance in the reboot era. Ah well, at least Sonia Graham later makes an appearance in Series 2, Episode 6 of ‘Jeeves & Wooster’.

In another subplot, Calum brings home a mother otter and a baby otter back to Skeldale house. He causes problems when Siegfried walks into surgery, almost tripping over a bucket containing fish in it.

Calum profusely apologises for leaving the bucket on the floor, but Siegfried goes into a rant and criticise Calum for having wildlife in the surgery. Um, I think Siegfried is being quite harsh on Calum regards this situation.

I mean, I know Calum can be reckless at times and perhaps have wild animals unannounced in Skeldale House. But at least he’s passionate in the work he does concerning animals and being the vet for them.

Then again, Siegfried could still be sore over the article by Calum being published in the latest vets’ magazine. Calum and James acknowledge this being a possibility once Siegfried has left the surgery. 🙂

I like how Calum saves the mother otter’s life in the episode as well as the baby otter. That baby otter looks so small I did not realise that it was an otter. I’m surprised there are otters in the Darrowby area.

In terms of preparations for the wedding, Deirdre is hoping for a small event whilst Calum maybe hoping for something larger. They also think that they’re going to be staying within the Darrowby area.

But then Calum receives the job offer of a lifetime. Thanks to his article published in the vets’ magazine, Calum gets offered the job to become the vet of a wild game reserve in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Wow! That’s a high calling for Calum! Lucky him! It’s a job offer he cannot refuse. I like how unsure he is about accepting the offer. He’s worried for Deirdre and her opinion as he tells her about it later on.

Deirdre of course is anxious about leaving her mother in Edinburgh should she go with Calum to Canada. They still celebrate that Calum has been offered the amazing job whilst Deirdre thinks it over.

Siegfried meanwhile eavesdropped over Calum and Deirdre talking about going to Nova Scotia. At least, he said that he overheard Calum and Deirdre talking about it when he sees James in the surgery.

Siegfried feels regretful over his actions to criticise Calum for having wildlife in the surgery. He believes he’s driven Calum to accepting the job in Nova Scotia because of him being so critical and hard on him.

When Siegfried sees Calum in surgery to discuss this, Calum reassures him that he didn’t drive him to go for the job as he was offered it. At this point, Calum tells Siegfried he hasn’t accepted the offer yet.

Later, Deirdre tells Calum that her mother’s alright about her going with him to Canada and that she’s given her blessing. Well, that’s a relief. I wondered what would happen if Deirdre’s mother said ‘no’. 😀

There is a nice little subplot where James helps Christine Kavanagh as Barbara Hazlit. She wants to be certain that her sheepdog pet has been properly trained as a sheepdog before she uses him on a farm.

Christine Kavanagh is an actress I’ve come across before in ‘Doctor Who’ circles. She had a brief appearance in ‘Timelash’ with Colin Baker and she’s played Patience in the Big Finish audio adaptation of ‘Cold Fusion’.

I found it sweet that James helped Mrs. Hazlitt (who insists she’d be called Barbara) to find out whether her dog is sheepdog material. She seems to be a nice and a pretty friendly lady with a bit of class to her.

Thankfully, her sheepdog Shep (is that John Noakes’ dog from ‘Blue Peter’? 😀 ) happens to be sheepdog material when tested on the grounds of Tony Melody as Mr. Skipton the farmer. Lucky that!

Barbara Hazlitt also happens to be a good whistler when she asks for tips from Mr. Skipton on how to guide Shep the sheepdog on a farm. I’m surprised Barbara and Shep didn’t return for future episodes.

Eventually, Calum and Deirdre’s big day dawns. Tristan also returns back in time for the wedding as he agrees to be Calum’s best man. Yeah. I suppose everything is forgiven between Tristan and Calum here.

I say that because didn’t Tristan date Deirdre once and fail miserably before Calum came along? Doesn’t that get addressed here? Apparently not. Ah well, no matter. Tristan is happy to be best man.

On the night before the wedding, James, Siegfried and Tristan decide to give Calum a stag party. Calum’s not sure about this but the other gents are insistent upon it. So they go and have the stag party.

On the wedding day itself, James, Tristan and Calum are rather hung over from the stag party. It was amusing to see Siegfried firing on all cylinders while the other three seem to be pretty worse for wear.

Thankfully though, Calum and Deirdre do get married and they return to Skeldale to have their little wedding reception. They even have maîtres and maids serving the glasses of champagne and food. 😀

The episode concludes with Calum showing a letter published in a latest edition of a vets’ magazine. It says how grateful he is for the time he spent in Darrowby. James and Siegfried’s names are in print at last.

I think Tristan’s name is in print too. Siegfried is speechless about the kind gesture Calum’s done to put his and James’ names in print. They all toast to Calum and Deirdre before they go off for their honeymoon.

It turns out Calum and Deirdre are going to go on a cruise ship for their honeymoon. My parents couldn’t help but joke and refer to the ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ Christmas Special which had the QE2 in it. 😀

Incidentally, I think Siegfried’s wife Caroline makes an appearance in the episode. Even though we don’t get to hear her speak and we don’t see her credited in the episode’s end credits. She gets hidden at times.

‘The Call of the Wild’ is a good swansong episode to feature Calum and Deirdre as they depart from the series. It’ll be strange to not have them around. I’m pleased they got married and a good send-off.

‘The Call of the Wild’ rating – 8/10

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