‘The Course of True Love’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Here we are on the penultimate episode of Calum’s time in ‘All Creatures’. This episode has more of a focus on Calum and Deirdre’s relationship, especially as their marriage plans become concerned here.

It’s interesting the first episode of Series 6 didn’t feature much of Calum and Deirdre’s relationship whereas this second episode does feature it. We’re right before the episode where they do get married.

‘The Course of True Love’, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Alfred Shaughnessy. This is his first and only contribution to Series 6. It has been a while since he wrote ‘A New Chapter’ for Series 5.

Bob Blagden returns to direct his second contribution to the ‘All Creatures’ TV series in the first production block of Series 6. He only directed four episodes for the ‘All Creatures’ series. Intriguing! 😀

By this point in the series, it’s confirmed what year it is. It’s February 1952. I’ve wondered about the date ever since my parents got into this reboot era. I guessed it was before the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

The introduction of TV sets in the ‘All Creatures’ series for the previous two episodes gave an indication that we are in the early 1950s. There is also another reason to confirm it’s 1952. More later.

The episode begins with James going for a walk with his dog Bodie. They come across another dog called Nip. Nip belongs to Charles Rea as Mr. Potts, whom James knew very well from a long time ago.

I can’t recall if Mr. Potts has been in the ‘All Creatures’ series before. If he has, it currently escapes my memory as to which episode he was in. But it’s nice to see James reunite with an old friend and client of his.

James can’t stay long but he has nice chats with Mr. Potts as they walk their dogs. In their first encounter, Mr. Potts invites James back to his house and see the wife – Gabrielle Blunt as Mrs. Potts.

The subplot featuring James and Mr. Potts walking their dogs is quite sweet. Mr. Potts seem to be on his way out, with bad coughs and having lung problems. But he seems very happy to see James in this.

Mr. Potts is retired after being a farmer for a long while. He has plenty of free time on him. James is the opposite to Mr. Pott as he has to work being a vet. He’s a younger man as opposed to the older man.

The subplot does end on a sad note. As James goes on another walk with Bodie and is looking forward to seeing Mr. Potts with his dog Nip again, he finds him not there. James goes to visit the Potts’ house.

As Mrs. Potts opens the door, James realises that she’s in mourning clothes and that Mr. Potts has died. I found it quite moving when James sat with Mrs. Potts in the house as they talked about Mr. Potts.

James is saddened about the loss of Mr. Potts. Mrs. Pott is reassured about Mr. Potts being in heaven despite being sad. James offers to talk Nip for walks whilst he also has walks with Bodie in the area.

Mrs. Potts is grateful and agrees to this. It’s little subplots where James makes connections to nice, amiable characters in the Darrowby area that make this series, even in a reboot form, worth watching.

There’s another little subplot where Bodie, James’ dog falls in love with Polly, Siegfried’s new dog. I found that sweet. Even if it’s mentioned once or twice in the episode, it was very adorably cute to see.

Mind you, I do wonder what’s become of Siegfried’s other dogs in the series. He had a lot of them in the first three seasons. Are they now living in his home with his wife Caroline? Who we still don’t see!

In fact, we haven’t seen the Herriot children Jimmy and Rosie for a while. What’s become of them? I know they’re mentioned and heard in the background, but it’d be very nice to see them in the flesh again.

Siegfried once again contradicts himself as he complains to James about keeping his lapdog Bodie inside the Skeldale house. This is before he purchases his new dog called Polly to be his own lapdog.

It was amusing when Siegfried kept answering the phone and he was being followed about by Bodie at his heel. Siegfried’s quite annoyed by Bodie following him. I’m just glad he didn’t lash out on Bodie here.

Siegfried is also annoyed when Calum’s on the phone to Deirdre a lot and is having a happy, soppy look on his face when he’s in love. I wonder if Calum does use the phone a lot to talk to Deirdre in the show.

Speaking of which, Calum entertains Deirdre with a romantic evening meal at Skeldale. He hopes to have his way with her. It might have something to do with the glamorous evening dress she’s wearing. 😀

Deirdre however isn’t so willing to have cuddles and kisses from Calum that evening. She’s hoping that she and Calum can talk more whilst they sit on the couch together. They soon end up having a terrible row.

I became concerned for Calum and Deidre by this point, especially after having a terrible row. Yeah. Even after the inconsistences I have experienced in their relationship in the show, I became concerned.

They eventually don’t talk to each other for a while in the episode. It seems Deirdre wanted to talk to Calum about setting a date for their wedding. Deirdre shares this issue to Helen at the Herriots’ house.

It’s interesting how Deirdre shares her relationship problems with Calum to Helen in the series. It’s going to be strange for that to be absent when Calum and Deirdre eventually leave the series together.

I liked it when James eventually entered to find Helen and Deirdre talking to each other. James knows of the situation happening between Calum and Deirdre. He even makes his suggestion to resolve it all.

James’ suggestion isn’t very helpful as Helen criticises it. Ah well, at least James helps Deirdre to think positively about it. He at least offers Deirdre a lift home once she’s about to leave the Herriots’ house.

Deirdre eventually meets Siegfried at Skeldale and shares her problems to him over a brandy and with a hug. Despite the inconsistences, I do like how emotional dramas are tackled for the show’s reboot era.

Calum however didn’t know why Deirdre was acting the way she was when they had their row after their evening meal. Their stubborn pride prevents them talking to each other, which becomes an issue.

Calum does sulk for most of the episode after having his row with Deirdre. He even makes a mistake that Siegfried and James were talking about him and Deidre as they were talking about the ‘lover dogs’.

Siegfried suggests to Calum to write a letter to Deirdre and apologise for his attitude towards her. Calum does just that; but doesn’t get an immediate reply from her. To be fair, he did leave it rather late here.

It’s interesting how Siegfried responds to this situation regarding Calum and Deirdre’s spat with each other. He decides to take it upon himself to play the matchmaker and get the two back together here.

Siegfried arranges a surprise celebration at Skeldale to which he invites James, Helen and Calum along. James, Helen and Calum are unaware of what Siegfried has in mind, but they soon find out what it is.

I like how it gets unveiled in the episode from Calum’s point of view. As he closes shop within the Skeldale surgery, he eventually goes into the living room where he finds…Deirdre there. The surprise!

Calum and Deirdre happily reunite with each other before they apologise and forgive each other. Calum also suggests that they get married as soon as possible…well, ‘now’ actually. Calum’s very keen.

Deirdre eventually suggests that they get married in three weeks’ time. Calum agrees. Siegfried, James and Helen then come in. It seems that this surprise celebration was arranged by Siegfried and Deirdre.

The five in Skeldale have glasses of champagne and raise toasts in celebration. They celebrate the memory of the departed King George VI (more on this in a moment) and Calum and Deirdre’s reunion.

Yes, as I said. This episode features everyone reacting to the sudden death of King George VI. Everyone is sad by this news. James and Helen hear the news while they listen to the wireless in their own house.

In the episode, Mrs. Potts revealed to James that her husband Mr. Potts died at the same time as King George VI did. She was reassured by her husband going to heaven and his majesty King George VI too.

Incidentally, the news of the king’s death was read by John Snagge and was an archive recording in the episode. John Snagge was also the reader for the announcements in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series.

I like how the king’s death gets addressed in the episode to establish where the series takes place by this point. Pretty soon, we’ll be having the Queen’s coronation in 1953 shown on every TV set no less.

The episode’s end credits features footage of the Queen inspecting royal guards. I assume this was recorded before she gets crowned in 1953. I’m not sure. I don’t have the information to confirm that.

The episode also features a small subplot where Siegfried attends to the piglets of Alex Robinson as Mr. Bush. Incidentally, pigs must be very loud when they screech as Siegfried picked one of them up.

I wonder if that happens a lot when a farmer picks a little pig up. They seem docile from a distance but when you pick one up, they can screech as loud as hell. I don’t believe picking up a little pig is safe.

Nevertheless, Siegfried picks one pig up to examine it and finds that all the pigs need the medical treatment they deserve. Mr. Bush isn’t so concerned but Siegfried stresses how very important this is.

Siegfried seems to dread seeing Mr. Bush at his pig farm since he doesn’t seem the type to do as vets says when getting prescribed medical treatment for his animals. It seems Mr. Bush won’t play his part.

Thankfully though when Siegfried visits Mr. Bush’s farm a second time, the litter of pigs are feeding up to their mother. Siegfried is so pleased and delighted the litter of pigs have responded to treatment.

Mr. Bush however doesn’t seem overjoyed as Siegfried is. I guess he hasn’t changed his attitude despite agreeing to adhere to Siegfried’s instructions. He just wants to get those pigs to be bacon and sausages. 😀

I enjoyed ‘The Course of True Love’. It’s a good episode showcasing Calum and Deirdre’s relationship where they break up for a bit and reunite thanks to Siegfried’s match-making. This is very good drama.

This is of course where the beginning of the end takes place for Calum and Deirdre as they’re about to leave the series. What will their final ‘All Creatures’ story be like? I don’t know here. I’m keen to find out.

‘The Course of True Love’ rating – 8/10

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