‘The Jackpot’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

As I write this, I’ve come back from attending the ‘Film & Comic Con Glasgow 2019’ at the Braehead Arena in August 2019. In this episode, James and his family have come back from their Scotland holiday.

I found that quite a coincidence when I sat down and watched this episode with my parents over a lasagne meal. It also seems Siegfried’s gone off on holiday to Scotland in this episode. No time wasted!

I enjoyed ‘The Jackpot’. This is an entertaining episode featuring a white horse who can run fast and perhaps win horse races. The horse is called the Jackpot. No really! That is the horse’s name – Jackpot.

As a side note, whenever I see white horses in anything drama-related like ‘All Creatures’, I can’t help think of ‘The Moon Stallion’ starring Sarah Sutton. Is every white horse the Moon Stallion in this world? 😀

Anyway, ‘The Jackpot’ is of course the eleventh and penultimate episode of Series 5 in ‘All Creatures’. The episode, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Anthony Steven. Anthony Steven is back again!

So far, Anthony Steven has given two contributions to Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’ including ‘Choose a Bright Morning’ and ‘A Present From Dublin’. ‘The Jackpot’ is Anthony’s third contribution to Series 5.

In fact, all the episodes Anthony Steven’s written for Series 5 has something to do with Calum and Deirdre’s relationship. I know that wasn’t the case for the previous episode since Deirdre didn’t appear in that much.

But in all the episodes Anthony Steven’s written for Series 5, he’s had a focus on developing Calum and Deirdre’s fractious relationship in some manner. I’ll explain more about that later on in the review.

Once again, Tony Virgo returns to direct ‘The Jackpot’ as he makes his third contribution to the TV series. Tony Virgo does come across as a good director, especially in a drama series like ‘All Creatures’.

Anyway, like I said, James and his family have just returned from their two-week holiday in Scotland. James is in shorts when he comes out of the car at the beginning. Quite a surprise to see James wear shorts. 😀

Helen isn’t easy about James wearing shorts when he goes on his rounds. She says that vets don’t usually wear shorts when going to work in the Yorkshire Dales. James doesn’t seem bothered about it.

Now I can appreciate James struggling to re-adjust back to work after enjoying his holiday in Scotland. This is probably the reason why he decides to go about in his shorts instead of usual trousers.

As a result though, James wearing shorts on his rounds causes amusement to local farmers. He gets called a ‘boy scout’ by Mary Wray as Mrs. Meynell and runs a race with a Danny James as Mr. Meynell.

I found it amusing and bizarre that a farmer, amused by James wearing shorts, would make him run for a short distance before they attend to his sick cow. Mr. Meynell has his priorities straight here! 😀

Siegfried even mocks and laughs at James for wearing shorts before he goes for his holiday to Scotland. Thankfully James realises his mistake and soon changes out of his shorts into trousers to do his rounds.

James also has a problem with his car. Yeah it didn’t sound good as he was driving it back to his house. At Skeldale, James asks Siegfried if he could let him use his rover to get on his rounds whilst he’s away.

Siegfried clearly isn’t happy about this and asks James not to damage the rover while he’s away. James of course says yes to this. Seriously, Siegfried. James can’t damage your car like Tristan did once, right?

Actually, now I come to think of it, how come James and Siegfried are going holidays to Scotland? Was this a suggestion made by Calum since he’s a Scot himself? It isn’t explained but it could be the case here.

Regardless, James and Calum are given more extra work whilst Siegfried’s away on holiday. I’m sure the two can cope fine without Siegfried. It’s not like anything awful is going to happen while he’s away.

Deirdre also comes to a spend a week in Skeldale to help James and Calum out. And Calum and Deirdre can get to spend time together before she goes back to her job in Edinburgh. That should be excellent!

It was amusing when Deirdre makes a start on cleaning up the Skeldale surgery, muttering how much of a mess Calum makes. Why should Calum take the blame? It could’ve easily been James or Siegfried?

Anyway, Skeldale receives a visitor whilst Deirdre is in surgery. This happens to be Brian McGarth as Nick O’Brian. He happens to be a charmer and easily attracted to Deirdre when meeting her first time.

It is a pleasant meeting between Nick O’Brian and Calum when they first meet in Skeldale’s surgery. But later on, things get tense when Calum’s clearly jealous by Deirdre accompanying Nick in an emergency.

Yeah, something happens to one of the local animals in Darrowby and James and Calum are out on rounds. Nick steps in to help out in an emergency and asks Deirdre to accompany him in this situation.

When Deirdre and Nick return to Skeldale, Calum is far from happy about Deirdre absconding with him. He is even rude to Nick, not realising there was this emergency on and Nick did a pretty good job.

Nick soon leaves. Deirdre doesn’t talk to Calum after being so rude. I wonder why Deirdre didn’t leave a note to Calum about what’s happened. He left a note for James. How come James didn’t tell Calum?

It was tense and slightly amusing when Calum tried to talk to Deirdre. She hoovers in Skeldale’s living room and he switches the hoover off. Deirdre is in a foul mood as Calum tries to make peace with her.

Thankfully Calum and Deirdre make up with each other. But the issue resurfaces again when Deirdre prepares an evening meal for herself, Calum and Nick. Calum has to go out for this emergency though.

Calum tells Deirdre to phone Nick to cancel the evening. But Deirdre is reluctant to since she prepared good food for their evening meal. But Calum’s insistent as he tells her to phone Nick before going out.

Upon his return home though, Calum finds Deirdre and Nick together in the living room having just had the meal. Calum is pretty bitter after failing to save a cow’s life, getting the wrong end of the stick.

But after clearing up misunderstandings, it turns out Deirdre did try to phone Nick but he had already left. Deirdre couldn’t turn down Nick here and invited to have the meal anyway whilst Calum was out.

Thankfully, Calum forgives Deirdre and the two reunite in a passionate embrace and kiss. Calum tells Nick to stay once the misunderstanding’s being resolved. I’m very glad that the bitterness passed here.

It could’ve been easy to have a subplot where Nick was taking advantage of Deirdre, making Calum jealous all the way through. Thankfully the episode did not do that and I’m glad it was done believably.

I also like how Nick admits to Calum that he finds Deirdre a beautiful woman but can’t take a chance with her since she belongs to Calum. It’s good Nick is honest in this instance whilst being charming too.

Also in the episode, James attends to the injured dog of Wanda Ventham as Mrs. Ridge. Wow! Wanda Ventham is in this episode. I’ve seen her in a few ‘Doctor Who’ stories as well as other TV productions.

The ‘Doctor Who’ stories she’s done are ‘The Faceless Ones’, ‘Image of the Fendahl’ and ‘Time and the Rani’. She’s also done episodes of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Saint’. I’ve also seen her in ‘A Family At War’.

I enjoyed the subplot where James helps Mrs. Ridge with her dog Joshua who got injured. It takes a while for Joshua to get better. Even when Joshua’s on the road to recovery, he seems quite depressed.

I did wonder what was going on as I watched the episode. But thankfully, when Mrs. Ridge’s car gets stolen one day, Joshua regains his wits and he barks wildly away. That somehow got him to feel better.

Wow! That’s a miracle! Even James was surprised by that! 😀 Mrs. Ridge is very grateful to James for his efforts and they both drink a toast to her little dog’s recovery. I’m glad everything worked out fine.

Eventually, James gets persuaded by Mrs. Ridge for he and his wife Helen to attend the local horse races. And this is where the Jackpot horse come in. And James happens to know the horse’s owner. 🙂

Jackpot’s owner happens to be Anthony Havering as Mr. Tansy. He also happens to be good friends with James. He shares with him about the new horse he’s purchased for the races and invites him to see it.

The horse gets ridden by Robert Falconer as Jack, Mr. Tansy’s son. And the horse turns out to be a very fast runner. James is impressed. Perhaps Tansy’s horse might actually be a winner at the races. 🙂

And it turns out he is! At the local horse races themselves, James places a bet on the Jackpot on behalf of Mrs. Ridge as well as a bet for himself. The Jackpot wins the race. Mrs. Ridge and James are pleased.

Later on though, an accident occurs when the horse’s van containing Jackpot veers off to one side off the road. Jackpot might be injured. James uses Siegfried’s rover to pull the horse van back on the road.

I like how Mrs. Ridge is instrumental helping to get the horse van back on the road. She’s very assertive when she’s instructing James to pull the van back onto the road with getting the car to go into reverse.

Thankfully, they get the van back onto the road and the horse turns out to be okay. But it turns out Siegfried’s rover was damaged in the process. Helen is worried about how to pay for the car’s damage.

It’s unfortunate by the time we come to the end of the episode that Siegfried returns a day early before he was meant to return after his holiday ended. Helen gently breaks the news regarding the rover.

Siegfried is almost about to lash out at James for breaking his promise on damaging the car. But James doesn’t seem too bothered about the problem. In fact, he’s very confident he can pay for the damages.

Helen and Siegfried are agog as to what James is on about. James then reveals his winnings from the horse races to Helen and Siegfried before throwing it up in the air. Yeah. He is going to have to pick it all up. 😀

There’s another subplot featuring Calum where he attends to the farm animals of Noel Cameron as Robert Corner. He has this dog named Jock who likes to race Calum to the end of the road as he leaves.

It was so amusing to see that, especially when it happens three times. First with just Jock; then with Jock and the puppies and then finally with Jock. Calum seems pretty okay with racing Jock as he leaves.

‘The Jackpot’ has been another enjoyable episode in Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. The friction between Calum and Deirdre gets intriguing in this episode and it was good James managed to win at the horse races.

‘The Jackpot’ rating – 8/10

Go back to

Go next to

Return to All Creatures Great and Small
Return to Drama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.