All Creatures Great and Small: Samuel West teases future series
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All Creatures Great and Small returned to screens last night at 9pm on Channel 5. The show follows protagonist James Herriot, played by Nicholas Ralph, who moves from Glasgow in 1937 to become a veterinary surgeon in the Yorkshire Dales. The hit series, which is inspired by a true story, traces the adventures of James, and his colleagues at the veterinary practice including Siegfried Fanron.
The Channel 5 programme, which has been nominated for favourite drama in the TV Times Awards 2021, is a remake of a BBC series which aired between 1978 and 1990.
It was revealed last year however that production company Playground did take the idea for the new series of the show to the BBC, but the broadcaster was only prepared to commit to a pilot episode.
In contrast, Channel 5 were happy to go straight to a full six-episode series and Christmas special.
In light of the BBC’s decision, claims made by the executive producer of the hit program Colin Callender sparked speculation that the show was not “woke enough” to be made by the broadcaster.
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Mr Callender told the Daily Telegraph in October last year: “They only wanted to do a pilot.
“They had concerns about whether it would speak to a younger audience and, I think, whether or not the show could emerge from the shadow of the first series.”
Upon the publication of Mr Callender’s quotes, the Mail Online ran the headline; “Did BBC pass up All Creatures revamp because it was too WHITE?
“Channel 5 rakes in record 3.3 million viewers for new series after corporation felt it wouldn’t appeal to prized millennial audience.”
Mr Callender however insisted that the BBC passing up on the show was not a reason to attack the broadcaster.
At a press event ahead of last year’s Christmas episode the executive producer sought to address the “journalists in the room”.
Mr Callender said: “I was very distressed to see how the show suddenly became a sort of political football and was being used as a way of showing what is wrong with the BBC.
“This is not a show about ‒ this is not a story about the BBC thinking that All Creatures wasn’t woke enough to be made.”
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Mr Callender went on to explain that the show’s rejection was merely an “editorial decision”.
He said: “The BBC is under attack from all quarters, and the last thing I want is the success of this show to be used in some way as a weapon to attack the BBC.
“Shows like this, and the work that Channel 5 does, and all the public services will not survive without a healthy BBC.
“I think it’s very important for the audience and the public at large that that is the case.”
Mr Callender then insisted that All Creatures Great and Small was made because it was a story about community and togetherness.
He added: “It struck me how divided we were and we are living such difficult and complicated times.
“I felt that the audience ‒ and I as an audience member ‒ wanted a show that I thought was entertaining and fun, and could bring us all together.”
The program has become a huge success for Channel 5, becoming the channel’s highest rated show since 2016.
The show’s first ever episode was watched by 3.3 million viewers overnight, and the program has continued to amass over 3 million viewers every week.
Watch All Creatures Great and Small next Thursday on Channel 5 at 9pm.
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