‘The Rough and the Smooth’ (TV)

 

‘THE ROUGH AND THE SMOOTH’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another enjoyable episode in the ‘All Creatures’ series. There are numerous disasters that happen in the episode, concerning a diary; a runaway dog and a lunch Siegfried prepares for James. 🙂

‘The Rough and the Smooth’, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Johnny Byrne. This is the second contribution Johnny provides to Series 6 in the ‘All Creatures’ series. He would provide a third one too.

This episode is the penultimate one in Series 6 of ‘All Creatures’. It’s also the third one to be directed by Tony Virgo in this third production block of Series 6 in the ‘All Creatures’ TV series so far. 🙂

In this episode, Siegfried attends to the over-active horse that is owned by two rather eccentric sisters called the Darnleys. These two Darnley sisters are Annette Badland as Sybil and Helen Lindsay as Edie!

Wait! Don’t trust Sybil, Siegfried! She could easily be a Slitheen stuffed inside a human suit! She could easily lash out and kill you should you fail to treat that horse of the Slitheen/Darnley family in this episode! 😀

Yes, that’s right. Annette Badland played Margaret Slitheen in the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes ‘Aliens of London’/’World War Three’ and ‘Boom Toom’. She’s also done a ‘Miss Marple’ serial with Joan Hickson.

It was nice to see Annette Badland in an ‘All Creatures’ episode before she did ‘Doctor Who’. I’ve met Annette in real-life once at the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013. Incredible!

It was also fascinating to see what Annette looks like in her youth before she did ‘Doctor Who’. I know she did the ‘Miss Marple’ with Joan Hickson before she did ‘All Creatures’. But it was still fascinating!

In this ‘All Creatures’ episode, Sybil Darnley is convinced that Siegfried’s powers with horses border on witchcraft. At least, that’s what supposed to come across according to the episode’s IMDb synopsis.

But honestly, it seems to me Sybil has a fancy for Siegfried in some romantic manner regarding horses. This despite the fact he is married. I’m so surprised writer Johnny Byrne didn’t push this aspect forward.

It would’ve been interesting if Sybil tried to win Siegfried’s affections in a romantic manner when he was attending to her and her sister’s horse. It would at least acknowledge Siegfried having a wife here.

That’s the problem with Siegfried as a character so far. He’s meant to have this wife who’s still married to him, yet we’re not allowed to see her. It would be better if he divorced her off-screen in the TV series.

Edie Darnley is stricter than Sybil is. She takes no nonsense and expects Siegfried to do the job efficiently when he attends to their horse. I wonder what Sybil and Edie’s private lives as sisters are like.

They also seem to prefer Siegfried than James to do the job for them. I don’t know why they would disregard James doing the job instead of Siegfried, but it does seem to be rather mean-spirited in this.

Even when Siegfried asks James to come along to give a second opinion on attending the horse, the Darnley sisters do seem to be pretty disregardful. Do they think James is too young and inexperienced?

Anyway, Siegfried forgets an engagement he had with some talk somewhere (more on that in a bit) and he asks James to attend to the Darnley sisters’ horse. James of course gets reluctant to do the job.

But Siegfried has confidence in James and even gives him the instruction book to perform a delicate operation on the horse. James reads the book to take down the instructions, even as he drives his car.

Dangerous driving there, James! I know you want to get the job done right when you get to the Darnley sisters’, but please drive safely! Do not read that book and drive simultaneously here, James!

The Darnley sisters aren’t too happy when James turns up instead of Siegfried. But James does the job and somehow manages to win the Darnley sisters’ approval in performing the operation on the horse.

Even when Sybil’s enamoured of James, she faints whilst he conducts the delicate operation. That was so funny to watch. Thankfully it works out all fine in the end and the Darnley sisters are grateful to James.

They even offer James lunch to which he politely declines. Sybil’s attentions turn to James instead of Siegfried this time, even to that point when she almost gets run over by James’ car as he drives off. 😀

By the way, the Darnley sisters have named their horse ‘Bonkers’. No really! That’s his name! It’s so unflattering, isn’t it? Why would they call their horse Bonkers? It’s like giving a name ‘Cuddles’ to a toy dog.

Cuddles: “What’s wrong with that, Master?”

(clears throat) Never mind. (continues) James also has to tackle the farmer Graham Rigby as Mr. Ripley. Yeah, do you remember him? Mr. Ripley’s been in the ‘All Creatures’ series before, has he not?

He was in the 1985 Christmas Special and the Series 4 episode ‘One of Nature’s Little Miracles’. And yes, I checked. Johnny Byrne wrote those episodes. So, it was understandable to include Mr. Ripley here.

Graham Rigby was also in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’, in case you’d forgotten. It was great to see Mr. Ripley back in this ‘All Creatures’ episode and to provide that comic relief again.

James however finds Mr. Ripley ‘impossible’ to cope with again. He has several encounters with the farmer and becomes inconvenienced by him. This is especially when that man has the gate padlocked.

Upon visiting Mr. Ripley to his farm, James has trouble trying to open the gate. When Mr. Ripley comes along, he seems lazy and casual to open the gate for James. In fact, I believe he left the key back home.

James has to ride with Mr. Ripley on his tractor in order to get to his farm. He even has to start the tractor’s engine at the front with the hand crack for Mr. Ripley. James could have done his back in! 😀

Thankfully he doesn’t and when they get to the farm, it seems there’s no emergency with Ripley’s cows. James patiently tries to understand why Ripley call him out, but Ripley’s very laid back about it.

James discusses the issue with Siegfried over lunch, as he finds Mr. Ripley impossible. But Siegfried isn’t worried about it. Clearly Siegfried hasn’t dealt with Mr. Ripley like James and Tristan have in the past.

But there’s another reason why Siegfried isn’t worried. It seems Siegfried has taken to using a diary to note down all his arrangements. Helen is so surprised by this when she sees Siegfried use it in surgery.

Siegfried tries to take the diary with him when attending to rounds. He even uses it to make note of a future appointment with Mr. Ripley when he and James meet him whilst driving in the country via car.

It was funny to see Siegfried write down precise instructions for Mr. Ripley to take when meeting him and James tomorrow at the farm. This includes unlocking the front gate as well as other general things.

Incidentally, the episode instantly cuts to the scene where James and Siegfried visit Ripley’s farm the next day. This is after they meet him the previous day. I’m surprised there was not a scene in-between.

James seems impressed by Siegfried’s efforts in keeping a diary and checking on everything Mr. Ripley’s been asked to do. He’s pretty surprised Mr. Ripley unlocked the gate according to those instructions.

It seems hopeful that the diary will be of great use to Siegfried. But there’s an instance where Siegfried forgets his diary and this is when he agrees to make an appointment with the Darnley sisters’ horse.

He hopes to remember the appointment without the diary. James thankfully finds his diary. But when Siegfried looks to check, he finds he has a talk to attend to. This clashes with the Darnley sisters’ horse.

Siegfried becomes upset and agitated that he has to miss the Darnley sisters’ horse because of the talk, which is why he sends James in his place instead. Siegfried then throws the diary away, very enraged.

Wait a minute, Siegfried! It’s not the diary’s fault you forgot you had an appointment clashing with the Darnley sisters’ horse. That was more your fault, wasn’t it? The diary was working well for a while!

Anyway, to go back to Mr. Ripley. After attending to the Darnley sisters’ horse and without having his spot of lunch, James gets a call from Mr. Ripley. The phone line’s ‘bad’ and James can’t hear Mr. Ripley.

James assumes Mr. Ripley wants him to come out to attend to a cow called Buttercup. When James arrives at his farm, Mr. Ripley is nowhere to be seen. James becomes really frustrated about all of this.

The episode also features Elizabeth Glennon as Mrs. Ripley, Mr. Ripley’s wife. I believe this is the first time I’ve seen Mr. Ripley’s wife in the ‘All Creatures’ TV series. She’s just as lazy and casual as he is. 😀

Eventually, Mr. Ripley turns up and he’s in a drunken state after having lunch at a pub. James tries to be patient and ‘reasonable’ with Mr. Ripley whilst he sorts out the cows and checking that they’re okay.

But it turns out that it wasn’t a lame cow Mr. Ripley wanted James to attend to. And Buttercup isn’t a cow at all! He is a donkey! I can only imagine how frustrated and annoyed James must be by this stage. 😀

Also, in the episode, Sam Davies as Bill Ramsey leaves his Great Dane in the care of James and Siegfried. The dog is called Henrietta. Henrietta is a very big dog that Siegfried and James must sedate.

This of course ends with disaster. Siegfried has prepared a special lunch to celebrate 15 years of friendship between him and James as vets. This includes cooking a special casserole. Chicken I believe.

Anyway, as Siegfried brings a certain dish out, he realises the dog’s woken up. He goes into surgery where he finds the place a mess and he inadvertently lets the dog out. Big mistake there, Siegfried. 😀

Henrietta the dog eats off what Siegfried took out on the kitchen table (not sure if it’s quiche or something. Could be chicken) before she runs off outside. Siegfried sees what happens and chases after Henrietta.

It was funny to see Siegfried chase after Henrietta in the Darrowby street area. It put me in mind of Tom Good chasing Lenin the rooster in a ‘Good Life’ episode. Surprised Henrietta didn’t catch a bus! 😀

When James returns home after attending Mr. Ripley and his Buttercup donkey (I assume), he sees the surgery a mess and sees the casserole burning in the oven. Siegfried returns with the dog, unhappy.

Siegfried and James also have to wait for Mr. Ramsey to come and pick up his dog Henrietta at midnight. This episode ends with them having sandwiches instead before celebrating their friendship.

I enjoyed this episode very much. It’s very entertaining and comedic in many ways. I like it when ‘All Creatures’ balances both comedy and drama rather well, especially for its reboot era from Series 4 to 7.

‘The Rough and the Smooth’ rating – 8/10


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