‘The Female of the Species’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another enjoyable episode in Series 5. It’s another showcase on Callum’s character as he spends time with a student who comes over to Skeldale in Darrowby for work experience to be a country vet.

And this time, it isn’t a male vegetarian as was the case with Willie Bannister in ‘The Salt of the Earth’. There’s even a mention of him in this episode. Thank goodness! I’m very glad that he wasn’t forgotten. 😀

For this episode, the student happens to be…an attractive woman. Yeah! I was surprised to see a female student studying to become a country vet. I’m not sure if it is historically accurate for this case.

I assume it was rare for female vets to be around in the 1950s. It’s interesting how that gets addressed in this ‘All Creatures’ episode and vets like Siegfried, James and Calum react to Emma training to become a vet.

The student is Veronica Smart as Emma, who is the daughter of a friend of Siegfried’s when he comes to Skeldale. I found Veronica Smart lovely as Emma in the episode. She comes across as rather friendly.

Incidentally, Veronica Smart was in an episode of ‘A Very Peculiar Practice’ with Peter Davison called ‘The Big Squeeze’. I can’t make a comment on that comedy-drama series. I haven’t seen it on DVD yet.

Incidentally, Andrea Gibb as Deirdre does make an appearance in the episode, but only at the beginning and at the end. Yeah. She goes off somewhere while Calum attends to Emma in the episode.

I remember Deirdre having more screen-time in Series 4 compared to Series 5 so far. I wish more time was spent on Calum and Deirdre in the latest ‘All Creatures’ season. Why didn’t they do that this time?

‘The Female of the Species’ is the title of the tenth episode of Series 5 in ‘All Creatures’. The episode, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Brian Finch. Yes! Brian Finch is back again for another episode.

This is Brian Finch’s second contribution to Series 5. The first was ‘The Salt of the Earth’. Ah, so that’s why Willie Bannister got a mention in this episode. Because Brian was the writer for Willie’s episode. 😀

This episode is also the second of the last production block of four in twelve for Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. It was directed by Tony Virgo, who directed the previous TV episode ‘Cheques and Balances’.

Like I said, in the episode, Siegfried decides to take on a new student for a bit of practical experience in being a country vet. Early on, Calum is not pretty keen about having a new student come to Skeldale.

He shares his anxieties about it to James when seeing him in the Skeldale surgery. Thankfully when he hears that the student is a close friend’s only child of Siegfried’s, no complaints will be made about it.

Once Calum sees Emma arrive at Skeldale via the back door in the surgery, he’s surprised when Siegfried reveals her to be the student. Like I said, she comes across as friendly when she’s introduced.

Siegfried introduces Emma to James as well and it’s decided for her to stay at the Herriots’ house whilst she’s studying and training to become a vet. This is something James hasn’t got a problem with.

Emma easily gets on well with Helen when she stays with the Herriots at their house. I’m glad the house is big enough to accommodate Emma as well as James, Helen and the children Jimmy and Rosie.

In fact, where are Jimmy and Rosie? We haven’t seen them for a while. I know getting kids to appear in a TV production is difficult, but it would be superb if they had one scene for each episode they make.

Of course, Calum is in a bad mood when Deirdre leaves earlier than planned. I know the feeling. Deirdre has to leave for some emergency at the Ministry of Agriculture where she works in Edinburgh.

I liked it when Calum drives her to the train station and he tells her that he’ll miss her. She says “Good” and reassures him that he’ll see her again soon. I’m glad she lived to her promise at the episode’s end.

Meanwhile, as Emma Styles (yeah that’s her full name) trains to be a vet, she accompanies Calum on his rounds. She also goes with Siegfried on one of his rounds but not on ones with James. That’s quite odd.

During the time Emma spends with Calum, accompanying him on his rounds, they get to know each other. Calum is quite taken with her. She is an attractive lady and good company to have around here.

They even spend time having a drink together in the Drovers. Thankfully Deirdre isn’t around to see that. In all fairness, they do start being friends with each other instead of becoming lovers for this instance.

In fact, if Calum wasn’t in a relationship with Deirdre, I think Emma would be an ideal romantic partner for him. They do laugh together, especially when something goes wrong in attending some farm cows.

Yeah, Calum seems to believe that saying the word “Cush” (I believe) will help to soothe and tame a cow when attending to it. Unfortunately it does not work, as Calum gets attacked and injured by cows.

At least, Calum and Emma have a laugh about it. 😀 Emma does know about Calum’s relationship with Deirdre, but it seems clear that she’s attracted to him once she’s sharing her thoughts on him to Helen.

Emma remarks that Calum’s quite a ‘character’ to Helen. It’s clear on Helen’s face that she senses more to Calum and Emma’s friendship. She shares that to James when seeing him in Skeldale’s surgery.

Even James hears it from Calum about how he seems torn over the love he has for Deirdre and the attraction he has to Emma. This is after Calum receives a postcard from Deirdre after one week’s gone.

But problems ensue between Calum and Deirdre in the episode when her training to become a vet gets questioned. This happens once the two attend to someone’s horse at a farm within the countryside.

Calum’s jeep breaks down on the way and he tells Emma to go on ahead to tell the farmers that he’ll be there as soon as he can once he replaces the punctured tyre with a spare tyre. Emma agrees to this.

But when Emma offers to help and attend the horse upon arrival, she gets ridicules by the farmers there. Calum does not help much once he finally does arrive and Emma gets upset and angry with him.

Earlier on, when Calum and Emma had a drink in the Drovers, Calum did question about whether it’s practical for a woman to be involved in heavily animal work. This resurfaces in this particular instance.

Calum tries to be fair and reasonable when Emma’s upset and angry, but it just makes thing worse. And to be honest, I don’t see why Emma should’ve been unreasonable towards Calum in this instance.

I mean, how was Calum not to know that Emma got ridiculed by the farmers when he wasn’t there to witness it? I think Emma was being unfair when she said to him that he did or said nothing to help her.

Then again, she does say ‘sorry’ to him for being ‘silly’ to him later on in the episode. And it must’ve been in a heated moment when it happened. But it did make things tenser between Calum and Emma.

Calum doesn’t even speak to Emma once they meet each other the next day. I mean, come on, Calum. You could have at least said “Hello” and acknowledge Emma, even if you were in a bad mood with her.

Thankfully, redemption is in the air when Emma gets to prove her worth as a vet in training. This happens when James requires the assistance of Calum and Emma to attend to one of Mr. Biggns’ cows.

Yes, John Sharp as Mr. Biggins is back in this episode. Oh no, not him again! And guess what? He’s whiny and moany as ever, complaining about the bill he has to pay to the vets to do the work they do.

James seemed to think that it would require a lot of man power to move Mr. Biggins’ cow. Biggins gets one of his men – just one mind – to help out whilst James brings Calum and Emma along with him. 😀

But it turns out Emma can do it by herself with one gentle touch – or one gentle whisper (not sure which) – and the cow moves along without the blokes’ help. Wow! Even I was pretty impressed by that. 😀

Biggins uses Emma’s miraculous cure on the cow to try to persuade James to not send him the bill. James however is resilient, and he tells Biggins that he will be receiving a bill whether he likes it or not.

I found it funny when Biggins gives James the angry glare through the car window. Don’t give him the angry glare, Biggins. Calum and Emma and eventually James laugh this off while they’re inside the car. 😀

I liked it when Calum and Emma reconciled things between each other and saying sorry to each other. There is still an attraction between them though. Emma knows it while she asks Calum about Deirdre.

Eventually, Emma announces to Siegfried that she’s leaving and going back home to her father. This comes as a surprise to Siegfried since she was meant to do two weeks and she hasn’t done all of them.

Calum eventually drives Emma off to the train station instead of Siegfried. At the station, Calum tries to persuade Emma to stay. But Emma knows it’d be difficult keeping her attention on her vet training.

Both become aware of the attraction they have to each other and through no bitterness, they agree to part separate ways and remain friends. I did like how that farewell scene for Emma gets handled here.

There’s a little subplot in the episode where the dog of James Warrior as Jack Sanders doesn’t seem to be recovering from a fairly minor cut. Unfortunately, the dog dies which was pretty sad to see here.

Jack Sanders and his wife Gillian Hanna as Betty also have another dog who seems to be giving up the will to live once the other dog has died. The two dogs were so close to each other in terms of company.

Fortunately, when Jack and Gillian Sanders get another dog similar to the one died (and they name him Leia as well), the dog losing the will to live gradually recovers. This was really sweet to watch here.

The Sanders couple do come across as very nice and understanding when Siegfried attends to their dogs. I like how things get resolved with a bittersweet happy ending for the dogs they own in the story.

The episode ends with Deirdre back with Calum and they spend a romantic moment together in the pub. It is a shame things didn’t work out with Emma, but Calum is pretty pleased to have Deirdre back.

‘The Female of the Species’ has been an enjoyable ‘All Creatures’ episode. I like how it showcases Calum’s character again and it provides an intriguing scenario where he’s attracted to another woman.

‘The Female of the Species’ rating – 8/10

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