‘When Dreams Come True’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is the first episode in Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’ where the long absence of Tristan Farnon begins. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope without seeing Tristan at this point. Hopefully I’ll be okay here. 😀

Yeah, not sure why Peter Davison was absent from the ‘All Creatures’ series for a long time as he only appeared in one episode of Series 6 and returned properly in Series 7. Maybe he was doing ‘Campion’.

Thankfully, there is a reference to Tristan in this episode. But he’s already gone as Calum said to James that he went to Ireland after a massive amount of binge-drinking the night before. More on that later.

Siegfried is back in the series after his time away in London for a conference. We don’t even get to see Siegfried say goodbye to Tristan, which is annoying. Calum also takes over Tristan’s duties in the series.

This is especially indicated when John McGlynn gets his title card in the opening credits of the series from now on. Why wasn’t Lynda Bellingham given that treatment? Oh yeah! Helen is back on her feet here.

She is still struggling to walk about quickly, as she’s still rather stiff. I’m glad they didn’t have the episode taking place after Helen was fully better, since that would not have been credible or believable.

‘When Dreams Come True’ is of course the title of the fifth episode in Series 5 of ‘All Creatures’. Like before, someone says the episode’s title during the actual episode. Even my Mum spotted this aspect.

The episode, based on the ‘James Herriot’ books, is by Johnny Byrne. To give credit to Johnny Byrne, I do like how he tied everything together with Tristan’s absence in the series. It’s just it isn’t so emotional.

We also begin the second block of four episodes in the twelve episode of Series 5 to be directed by a different director. This episode is directed by Jeremy Summers and it’s his first contribution to the series.

The episode opens with Bert Gaunt as Mr. Clark getting a new flock of cows for his farm. But the cows soon suffer an aliment that James has to sort out and cure. Will James be able to cure these new cows?

Back to the night before of binge-drinking with Tristan and Calum, James comes downstairs to find the living room totally turned upside down. Everything’s a mess with chairs and tables all over the place.

Calum is clearly hungover and James isn’t happy with the mess made in the living room. I’m actually surprised Calum was involved with the binge-drinking with Tristan, since he isn’t usually like that here.

At this point, I’m guessing the production team were thinking on the lines of Calum taking traits from Tristan’s character whilst Tristan’s away in Ireland. This is something I don’t think is very well-handled.

In Series 4, it seemed to me that Calum was taking on a parallel journey to James’ initiation at Skeldale House. Here in Series 5, Calum seems to be taking a parallel character development to Tristan. This is odd.

It does emphasise the inconsistency of Calum’s character development, as I’m not really sure what to make of him overall. Maybe things will be clearer on who Calum is as a character later on in the series.

I’m actually surprised Siegfried didn’t discover the mess by Tristan and Calum the night before and that he had it out with Calum. It’s never mentioned again. It just feels tagged on. It probably was in the writing.

Meanwhile, James and Helen are about to buy a new house in which they can live in themselves. Wow! This has been a long time coming. I wondered if James and Helen were ever going to have their house.

The house that James and Helen go for seems to be boarded up and not used in a long while. When James shows Helen the house upon their first visit, she seems keen and eager to live in it as well. Good.

Although, I’m wondering why the Herriot kids Jimmy and Rosie weren’t consulted on this as well as Helen. They don’t even feature in this episode. Maybe this will be explored when they appear next time.

James and Helen have challenges to get the house they want by negotiating with the sellers and having the bank to provide them with the mortgage. Thankfully, everything turns out to be alright in the end.

There is an odd moment in the episode where Helen seemed emotional and hugged Calum after receiving a phone call on the house situation. I assumed Helen was upset that she and James didn’t get it.

But it turned out that everything was alright. She tells James that they got the house. I was perplexed by that. It seemed odd to show Helen seemingly upset but it turned out she was really overcome with joy.

The episode features Donald Morley as Mr. Gregson, the Herriots’ banker. He’s been in ‘All Creatures’ before in two episodes of Series 4 including ‘One of Nature’s Little Miracles’ and ‘The Pig Man Cometh’.

I didn’t mention him until now because it wasn’t really important on those occasions. But here, James needs Mr. Gregson to help him with getting the house that he and Helen need, and he’s not so friendly.

Yeah, Mr. Gregson is one of those bank types who isn’t so willing to give money away. This is true in James’ case when he made a few expensive purchases, including an engagement ring Helen misplaced.

Thankfully, with enough negotiating, James and Mr. Gregson come to some agreement, as they sign the contract. This also happens to be Mr. Gregson’s last appearance in ‘All Creatures’. Am I surprised? 😀

Going back to James attending to Mr. Clark’s cows, this interconnects with Siegfried who starts to lose confidence in their pharmaceutical supplier, Mr. Barge. He thinks he has remedies from the dark ages.

This is where Siegfried’s inconsistency comes back into play, as we’ll discover later that Mr. Barge’s remedies for vets attending sick animals are still very good. This is where James puts Barge to the test.

James Cossins returns to play Aloysius Barge in the episode. Yes! James Cossins has been in ‘All Creatures’ before, playing the same character from the Series 3 episode entitled ‘Every Dog His Day…’

He was also in the ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode ‘The Hotel Inspectors’. 😀 I actually found he had more screen time in this episode compared to the previous one, and he turns out to be on good form in this.

James Herriot needs a treatment for Mr. Clark’s cows. Mr. Barge provides the cure to him, which contains sulphur in it, I believe. This happens to be extraordinary, as the cure hasn’t been released yet.

The cure was supposed to be available a week later according to Peter McCulloch as Jonathan Dixon. Dixon came at Siegfried’s request to be a potential new pharmaceutical supplier instead of Mr. Barge.

But when it turns out Barge provided the cure early to James instead of Dixon, perhaps Siegfried’s choice in Dixon is misplaced. The episode soon has Siegfried going back to Barge, since he provides the better service.

It was tense when James came over to provide the cure for Mr. Clark’s cow and yet Fred Feast as Mr. Mallock came over for a potential culling. James asks to be given a chance here. Mr. Clark soon agrees.

Mr. Mallock also doesn’t seem to mind, but does seem rather disappointed when the cows are cured the next day. He was hoping to get good money out of slaughtering the animals. I liked the old Mallock.

It was funny when Calum met Mr. Barge for the first time and he didn’t realise who he was at first. He also tells Siegfried that Barge has come to visit him. Siegfried is outraged, as he didn’t want to see him.

The episode also features Peter Martin as Mr. Hartley. Now I believe it’s confirmed in this episode that Hartley’s a different character and not Handshaw, as Peter Martin played him in the first three seasons.

It still begs the question though. Why didn’t Peter Martin play Handshaw in the reboot era of ‘All Creatures’? With some characters returning from the previous era like Barge, why not Mr. Handshaw?

There were times when I thought Hartley was going to reference previous occasions where James attended to his animals from the first three seasons. This was when he met him in the Skeldale surgery.

But I don’t think that’s the case. Hartley seems friendlier than Handshaw and James doesn’t seem to be wary when meeting him in surgery. So, Hartley must be a different character and not Mr. Handshaw.

Anyway, Hartley wants a flock of sheep to be seen to at his farm. James can’t make it and so Calum is sent in his place instead. Calum does get to be of some use in this episode when attending to the flock.

When Calum solves what’s wrong with the flock of sheep at Hartley’s farm, he treats them with an everyday remedy. I liked how Calum interacts with Hartley and explains what this particular everyday remedy is.

It turns out the sheep were suffering from overfeeding when they intruded upon a sack of grain in a shed. Apparently, Hartley didn’t lock the shed properly. Calum discovers this, as the sack of grain is open.

This episode also features Dan, James Herriot’s dog, who was in the previous episode I believe. Dan often accompanies James on his rounds, as he likes to ride in the car. But Dan does seem slow at times.

This is especially when there’s a delayed reaction to James calling out to him and when James throws a stick for Dan to fetch. Whether that’s a behind-the-scenes issue or in terms of the story, I’m not certain.

The episode concludes with the ‘All Creatures’ family, including Siegfried, James, Helen and Calum having Mr. Barge around for dinner. Once finished, James is about to read a list of medicines for Barge.

This is so Barge can supply the medicines to the Skeldale household the next time he visits or when he sends them in the post. But every time James reads that list to Barge, Siegfried is always interfering.

Siegfried doubles the amount of medicines they want and criticises James when he’s reading out the list. This refers to an inconsistency on Siegfried’s part, as he suggested lowering the amount of supplies.

Honestly, why didn’t Siegfried write out that list instead of James? James is clearly annoyed when Siegfried takes over and makes the requests of supplies to Barge. This is before the episode’s end credits.

James even tried to tell Siegfried that he was a purchasing a new house for himself and Helen. This is when Siegfried brought up the reduction of medical supplies issue. Siegfried does learn of James’ new purchase later.

Siegfried is of course pleased with James’ news about moving on from Skeldale. But he does tell Calum that he’ll have to move out of his own house to move back into Skeldale. Calum’s quite put out by this. 😀

I did find myself enjoying this ‘All Creatures’ episode. It’s a shame that Tristan’s gone and I hope we’ll see him again soon. But for the moment, I hope that I will enjoy some more of what’s left to come in Series 5.

‘When Dreams Come True’ rating – 8/10

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4 thoughts on “‘When Dreams Come True’ (TV)

  1. Media Lover

    I like this review Tim.

    This looks to be the last episode of the current rerun as the Drama channel as from next week, they will be showing classic Christmas comedy in All Creatures’ slot. That being said, I am still watching the 83 special on BritBox and the 90 special on iPlayer. I will just have to see wether or not Drama resume the series in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi ML

      Glad you enjoyed my review on this episode. I haven’t seen it in a long time since I reviewed it.

      Interesting about what’s going on with the Drama channel. I’m not a subscriber with Britbox and I haven’t followed what’s been going on with iPlayer lately. Hope you enjoy the 1983 and 1990 Specials. I’m sure Drama will resume the series in the New Year.


      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Rob,

      Actually, this ‘All Creatures’ episode was shown on the 1st October 1988 on BBC TV and I assume it was recorded in that year too. Sometime after Peter Davision did his ‘Doctor Who’ stint from 1981 to 1984. Like I said, he was probably doing ‘Campion’ when he was absent from ‘All Creatures’ during Series 5 and 6.

      I’m afraid I don’t know what the location the scene in the top picture was in, as I haven’t seen this episode in a while and I don’t know the Yorkshire Dales well.

      Best wishes,

      Tim 🙂



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