‘THE NELSON TOUCH’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Here we are on the first episode of Series 6 to not feature Calum in it. It’s strange that both Calum and Deirdre are gone. Whilst Tristan still in Ireland, James, Siegfried and Helen are the only main leads left.
I’m not sure how the rest of the season is going to work with James and Siegfried left to manage things. They might get a temporary person to work in Calum and Tristan’s absence. I hope it’ll be all worth it.
The title sequence has changed with just having Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy and Lynda Bellingham’s names in it. The title sequence will change again by the time we get to the next episode. 😀
‘The Nelson Touch’, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Roger Davenport. This is Roger Davenport’s first contribution to the ‘All Creatures’ series. He would pen four more episodes after this.
This is also Bob Blagden’s fourth and final contribution to the ‘All Creatures’ TV series. The next four episodes of Series 6 will be directed by a different director as much as the final four of Series 6 will be.
For this first Calum-less episode of Series 6, James has to attend to the farmhands of Lord Hulton’s estate. At first, James finds it difficult to make conversation with the farmhands. They’re not talkative.
I did wonder where this storyline was going to go since James seemed to be repeatedly visiting the farmhands with no luck of getting a conversation out of them. I’d be easily frustrated as James was. 🙂
Siegfried however advises James to apply the Nelson Touch with these farmhands. Not sure what he meant by that considering I don’t know much about Nelson to begin with. Something to do with leadership.
Eventually though, James manages to win favour with the farmhands when it turns out he can win football pools. James makes a joke to the farmhands that he manages to win football pools every time.
They think that James is being serious when he tells them he wins every time for the football pools. They ask him to put a bet on for them. James agrees to it and it transpires those three farmhands won.
Wow! That was lucky! The farmhands ask James to put another bet on them for them. James reluctantly agrees, telling them he can’t guarantee them winning a second time. Yeah. That’s unlikely.
But it turns out they do win a second time. Double wow! How can these farmhands be so lucky in gambling? I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen in real life. I wouldn’t even dare try to gamble like that.
On one occasion where James has a snack and a bottle of something (beer I think) before going on a round (don’t drink and drive, James!), he’s met by the three farmhands again. Oh dear, oh deary me!!!
You can guess what the three farmhands want, don’t you? Yes, that’s right! They want James to place another bet for them. James gets frustrated by this point, telling them he joked on winning every time.
You can see how put out the three farmhands are when James refuses them at first. Eventually James agrees to place one more bet for them, as he tells them that this must be the final time he’ll do this for them.
And it is the final time he does this for them, thankfully. By the way, did one of the farmhands drink his bottle of beer whilst James placed a third bet for them. That’s so rude for that farmhand to do that!
Now you would think the farmhands would fail in winning a third bet placed by James, wouldn’t you! Well, it turns out they won a third time! I honestly don’t think people are that very lucky with gambling here.
When James and Siegfried visit the farmhands again, James asks Siegfried to check out one of the horses. And the farmhands completely ignore Siegfried when he’s attending one of the horse’s hooves for them.
James is regarded favourably the farmhands whilst Siegfried’s being ignored. Thankfully James makes sure that Siegfried is not completely ignored by the farmhands when they attend to one of the horses.
After doing a double check on one of the horses’ hooves, James insists that Siegfried finishes the rest of the job much to the farmhands’ dismay. How come these farmhands are so ignorant of Siegfried now?
Beforehand, Siegfried was regarded favourably by the farmhands instead of James. Now it’s the other way around. It was interesting and entertaining how this particular subplot was played out in the tale.
In another subplot, Siegfried calls upon the Blackwoods to attend to a sick dog – a Border Collie named Nell. Nell actually happens to be alright in the episode as well as her pups when Siegfried tends to her.
But it turns out another member of the household is in need of care. That happens to be John Atkinson as Mr. Blackwood. His wife Sheila Mitchell as Mrs. Blackwood is so concerned for her husband’s health.
Once Siegfried sees Mr. Blackwood not being well and hearing Mrs. Blackwood share her concerns to him, she arranges for the local doctor to pay a visit. This is after seeing him in the Drovers one evening.
The doctor is Richard Butler as Dr. Allinson. James is annoyed to see Siegfried in the Drovers with Allinson, since he was made to see the farmhands at Lord Hulton’s by Siegfried once he made his excuses.
Anyway, Siegfried and Dr. Allinson see Mr. Blackwood one day and Mr. Blackwood isn’t happy about being examined by a doctor. But when Mr. Blackwood has a funny turn, he lets Allinson attend to him.
Not much is dealt with in terms of the aftermath of Mr. Blackwood’s illness. But it’s clear the Blackwoods cannot run their farm anymore and they have to move on and sell their house if necessary.
Whilst that’s going on, Siegfried also attends to David Cook as the very odd Mr. Hopps. As I understand it, Hopps is a naturalist who has been watching the Blackwood farm for some time in using his binoculars.
Siegfried meets Hopps when driving up to see him via car. Hopps clearly isn’t a nice man and is rather eccentric in his way. It turns out Hopp has taken advantage of the situation with the Blackwoods’ farm.
In the second half of the episode, Mr. Hopps visits Skeldale surgery to seek advice from Siegfried about the care of his dog. But Siegfried struggles to attend to Hopps when he doesn’t bring the dog with him.
As Siegfried hears from James, it seems that Hopps may not have a dog at all. Siegfried homes his advantage to challenge Hopps that he doesn’t own a dog and he has been making enquires for himself.
The conditions Hopps implied for his dog included constipation and diarrhea. Hopps doesn’t like Siegfired saying those words to him in surgery as if they’re swear words. Not sure why they should be.
Anyway, once Siegfried implicates that Hopps was asking for himself and not a dog because he didn’t want to see a doctor, Hopps is speechless and walks out in a huff. Siegfried tries to run after him here.
After hearing from Mrs. Blackwood that Hopps has taken advantage of the situation in buying the Blackwoods’ farm, Siegfried is pretty angry about it. This is before James enters to tell him good news.
Apparently, James won some more money from the football pools. Siegfried makes the mistake of assuming he won a huge amount. James becomes embarrassed when Siegfried broadcasts his victory.
This is in the Drovers. James tries to tell everyone he didn’t win so much as Siegfried claims but everyone doesn’t believe him. Siegfried soon realises the mistake he made when James tells him again.
I’m amazed by how Siegfried’s inconsistency consistently comes into play now and again during the ‘All Creatures’ series. Maybe Siegfried’s anger about Hopps clouded his thinking before hearing James’ news.
Speaking of which, Siegfried decides to confront Hopps at his residence to challenge him about taking advantage of the Blackwood farm situation. He has more than he bargained for when he meets Hopps.
Apparently Hopps does have a dog as he shows it to Siegfried and it nearly lashes it out on him. Yikes that dog is fierce! Siegfried tries to talk to Hopps but gets quickly scared off by Hopps and his dog here.
I’m not sure if Hopps’ new dog is genuine or whether he purchased the animal out of spite to get back at Siegfried here. It’d make sense considering the episode’s end. We’ll get back to that bit later on.
Before we talk about that, there’s a scene in the episode that I really liked in the episode. It doesn’t add anything to the plots featured in the episode, but I’m thankful it’s a scene with a very nice ending.
On the road in the snowy countryside (more on this later), James runs into a family via car who call upon him for help. Apparently, their dog has had this ball stuck in its throat. Yikes that’s pretty horrible.
The married couple played by Ray Boot and Kate Kitovitz ask James for help. They don’t have names in the episode. Neither do their children. They do seem to be a nice married couple with their children.
James attends to the dog, managing to get the ball out and applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Thankfully, the dog returns to life and is okay. I’m relieved that the dog turned out to be alright in the end.
Again, it’s odd that it’s a scene that doesn’t add any significance to other subplots featured in the episode. But I appreciated that it’s James saving a dog’s life and managing to win which is a miracle. 🙂
Returning to the snow, there are scenes where there’s a lot of it as James and Siegfried drive through it in the countryside via car. It must have been very snowy at the time the episode was filmed on video.
However, there are occasions where the continuity of the snowfall gets blundered. One minute it’s snowing outside, the next minute it’s stopped snowing. How come this was not noticed in the editing?
The episode’s conclusion is no exception as James and Siegfried are driving through heavy snow at first in the countryside before it’s cleared up once the end credits roll up. How come they missed that?
Talking about the episode’s ending itself, James and Siegfried witness Hopps being chased by his ferocious dog. James wonders if they should help Hopps as he signals to them. Siegfried decides not to. 😀
‘The Nelson Touch’ is an enjoyable ‘All Creatures’ episode. I think it suffers with Calum and Tristan’s absence here. But who knows? Maybe these episodes will get better as the rest of Series 6 progresses.
‘The Nelson Touch’ rating – 7/10
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