Books and Television

I’m sure many of you have been tuning into the recent TV adaptation of James Herriot’s (Alf Wight) All Creatures Great and Small. We’ve watched all the new episodes so far – I guess we have to wait until next year for Season 2. We really enjoyed it, especially the filming of the countryside. The Yorkshire Dales are so beautiful.

I asked my friend Sharon Swanson, who hails from Yorkshire, if she had started watching. She said she is still too attached to the 1978 version, too loyal to Robert Hardy (who played Siegfried Farnon) to start the new one. I was curious, so I’ve started watching the old series. I think it just might be the better one. Certainly funnier from my knothole, and the Yorkshire accents and so on are probably better. The new one has some interesting twists such as more of a back story for housekeeper Mrs. Hall and more drama around James and Helen getting together. However, I watched the first episode of the older one soon after watching the new one and the script was almost exactly the same.

I’ve been trying to remember if I read the books before I watched the TV series. The first volume was published in 1972, so it’s possible. But I think I started reading the books after I saw the first few TV episodes. It all kind of blends together. Sometimes watching a television adaptation of a novel can introduce us to authors we might have missed. Sometimes the television adaptations are of well-loved books. However it happens, being introduced to these stories and authors by whatever means is a very good thing!

There are many editions of the books still available, and each book is delightful in its own way. Here are the titles:

  • All Creatures Great and Small (1972)
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974)
  • All Things Wise and Wonderful (1976)
  • The Lord God Made Them All (1981)

2 thoughts on “Books and Television

  1. Monte and I both loved the books and in 1984 we spent two weeks cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. We even met “James Herriot”, Alf Wight, when we stayed in the town of Thirsk. He was still practicing and had visiting hours at the surgery twice a week for fans to come and visit. We watched the original show and I have watched a couple of the new episodes. Seeing the gorgeous scenery in HD is my favorite part. I am not impressed with the scripts. Feels like an attempt to impose current thinking on an older time. Also, almost feels like the writers haven’t read the books. But, I will definitely keep watching.


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