Masterpiece: All Creatures Great & Small

Calling all vets!  There is a heartwarming calm at the center of All Creatures Great & Small, a family drama that is more about optimism than anything else.  It is a calm that is hard to explain in these trying times yet it exists and flourishes with each and every episode as lush, rolling hills hide their fair share of challenges in the animal world.  All of this adds up to one thing: All Creatures Great & Small will go down as yet another quality television series offered from PBS Masterpiece.

"Fans of the previous incarnation of James Herriot’s adventures which starred Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison will also be enthused by this series, making it a fabulous win-win for all involved"

Based on James Herriot's autobiographical adventures as a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire Dales, the first season of All Creatures Great & Small is a 7-part series on PBS’ Masterpiece that, at once, strikes viewers with its humor, its compassion, and its beautiful surroundings as newcomer Nicholas Ralph takes over a part that he seems destined to play: the newly qualified Herriot on his initial post as a vet.

But Herriot’s transition from his home in Glasgow to the Yorkshire village of Darrowby will not be a smooth one.  First he has to impress the stuffy proprietor of Skeldale House, Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West, Mr. Selfridge, On Chesil Beach), a gruff and eccentric veterinary surgeon who gives him all sorts of obstacles to overcome before even seriously considering him as an employee.

And then there is the entire village to convince of his skills.  From saving cows and calves to pups, pigs, and horses, Herriot manages to win over the staff at the rural practice, which includes Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley, The Child in Time, Patrick Melrose) the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House and the charismatic Tristan (The Durrells in Corfu’s Callum Woodhouse) Siegfried’s younger brother.  Masterpiece: All Creatures Great & Small

The enduring tales which follow throughout each episode include Rachel Shenton (Switched at Birth, White Gold) as Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter who helps her father manage the family farm and care for her younger sister. The late Diana Rigg (Victoria, Game of Thrones) as Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the overly indulged Pekingese Tricki Woo, and Harry Potter’s own Matthew Lewis as Hugh Hulton, a wealthy landowner and rival to James for Helen’s affections.

Beautifully situated and wonderfully handled by Downton Abbey alumnus Brian Percival, the seven episodes which follow tackle wrecking cars, horse betting, bad attitudes at the Darrowby Fair, and milk fever.  If you are put off by such limited topics, just know that this series is a wonderfully, homegrown ointment of healing properties - much like Downtown Abbey and The Durrells in Corfu.  It is also a front and center part of Masterpiece’s 50th anniversary celebration!

Fans of the previous incarnation of James Herriot’s adventures which starred Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison will also be enthused by this series, making it a fabulous win-win for all involved.  The show, a clear winner in the ratings department, has already been renewed for a second season which will film sometime in 2021.

All Creatures Great & Small is now on blu-ray thanks to PBS Masterpiece.  To be sure, this series is a treasure that you will revisit with each and every binge watch you embark on.

5/5 beers


Masterpiece: All Creatures Great & Small

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: PBS
Available on Blu-ray
- February 9, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: None
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) follows his dream to become a vet in the magnificent Yorkshire Dales. He soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales farmers are a tough crowd to please.  This is the first release of this series on blu-ray. 


The 1080p-AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation of the series throughout these 2 discs submits a viewing experience with moments of pure HD glory.  There is a wide amount of spectacular detail presented here. Absolutely exceptional detail is found in the mid- and long-range shots.  The wide shots of the countryside and the surrounding interiors are pretty breathtaking really. There's just so much to take in visually in those scenes and the 1080p presentation presents it in all its glory.  Close-ups, as long as the area is well-lit, are just as strong. Fabric, textures, and facial features are all very clear.  In short, most of the presentation here is great, bordering on amazing.  


The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix supplies a standard audio experience for the program, which never demands nor receives a sense of sonic expanse.



  • None

Special Features:

  • All 7 episodes of the first season are included..

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Film Details

Masterpiece: All Creatures Great & Small

MPAA Rating: TV-PG.


Nicholas Ralph, Anna Madeley, Samuel West
: Comedy | Drama
Based on the worldwide best-selling novels by Jame Herriot.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 10, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 9, 2021.


Masterpiece: All Creatures Great & Small