All Creatures Great and Small, Season Four (2023)


This delightful, heartwarming series continues to bring a smile to my face with each new season, even as the inhabitants of Darrowby face new hardships during the onset of the second world war.


Easter has arrived, and the cheerful occupants of the veterinary clinic prepare for it in top fashion. James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) finds his most challenging case yet, when he notices an injured dog amid the Easter celebrations. Rather than welcome the attentions of the vet, its young owner smacks him in the face with a rock for getting too close, and runs off... but James is not about to let a poor dog suffer and possibly die from distemper without an intervention. Since Tristan has gone off to war, his elder brother Siegfried (Samuel West) is left to handle the practice's more challenging twists and turns, among them a young mother ewe who experienced a difficult birth and now does not want to let her lamb nurse.


Helen (Rachel Shenton) is settling into her life away from the farm, but yearns to start a family even though no one knows what may come of the war. And since her relationship with Gerald has deepened, the housekeeper Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) seeks to start the painful process of a divorce from her estranged, abusive husband. Ahead of them in the seven episodes of this season lay moments of utter hilarity, a brand-new green veterinary college assistant who says all the wrong things to the worst people, a tortoise with a skin condition, the arrival of a cat named Oliver, and a heartwarming Christmas-themed finale that may have brought tears of joy to this viewer's eyes. And, of course, everyone's favorite eccentric widow, Mrs. Pumphrey (Patricia Hodge), makes numerous funny appearances, along with her spoiled rotten and overly sensitive Pomeranian, Trickie.


What can I say about this series that I haven't said before? It's heartwarming. A twist in the first episode made me emotional, and by the time I got to the end, it felt as if I'd spent seven hours with dear friends. Each episode has moments of levity and seriousness, scenes in which farmers and vets alike get to express their deep affection for their animals, and some small crisis that is easily taken care of by the time the last few minutes end. The cast is marvelous, and we get cameo appearances from old favorites as well as new ones. The "new" Mrs. P is a vast improvement over the initial one; the actress brings a sincerity and a sweetness to the role that, for me, is far more likable and charming than Diana Rigg's cranky gruffness. And the newcomer to the house, the rude young Richard (James Anthony-Rose), is a hilarious addition to take Tristan's place, a man who cannot drive, and has to learn in a Rolls Royce full of "precious cargo."


James and Helen are now a happily married couple, but the series continues to tease us with hints about Siegfried and Mrs. Hall, a romantic couple that I hope happens one day. There's also a lot of funny references to the books, even if the story changes them somewhat -- such as a fussy bookeeper who has them all terrified, and the cat named Oscar. The writers truly know how to tug on your heart and fill it up by the end, and they focus more on telling a good story than on weaving in any kind of agenda. As a result, it's a wonderful way to spend a few hours, and this season is far less sad than the previous one, which means I'm eager to watch it again. Several times. It's just a shame it's only seven episodes. I would welcome a lot more.

Sexual Content:
A married couple discuss having children and getting a start on their family; they try to find ways to be alone for intimacy reasons, but are always too tired. Frank discussions of a dog with an enlarged testicle.



Scattered uses of damn, hell, buggar, and bloody. One abuse of Christ's name.
Nothing on-screen, although it's implied a dog bites a man in the butt and he is sore for days afterward. It seems like a cat has been hit by a car and is injured, but it turns out that wasn't the case (they do perform surgery). Various scenes of animals in distress or wounded, including a horse impaled on a wooden fence (it survives). Some blood, and close-up shots of incisions, hands reaching inside of animals to empty out a calf's stomach, etc. A vet tells a man to take a cow to the butcher, since she's too old to avoid having her milk bag stepped on by other cows (but they change their minds). A child punches James in the nose and makes it bleed, because he's afraid of the vet touching his injured dog.



Lots of social drinking, all the time.

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