'All Creatures Great and Small' series 2: When does it start? Who stars in it? All you need to know

·TV Reporter
·5-min read
BACKROW: HELEN ALDERSON (RACHEL SHENTON) & MRS HALL (ANNA MADELEY). Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
'All Creatures Great and Small' returns. (Matt Squire / Playground Television)

Making a welcome return to our screens for autumn is the reboot of TV classic All Creatures Great and Small.

Channel 5 has brought back the rural vet series based on the James Herriot books with a second series launching on Thursday (16 September).

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Here's all you need to know, including when it's on TV, who it stars and what will happen.

When is All Creatures Great and Small series 2 on TV?

All Creatures Great and Small: Series 2 - Episode 1
James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
We're heading back to the Dales. (Matt Squire/Playground Television)

The six-part second series is due to return to Channel 5 on Thursday, 16 September at 9pm.

Originally, the series based on the James Herriot books about the life of a country vet ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1990, but the rebooted version first came to Channel 5 last year with a new cast in place.

Nicholas Ralph, who plays James Herriot, talked about how pleased he was to get back to work after the pandemic put a stop to many shows filming. 

He said: “We are so lucky with where we go to work, these stunning locations, these little towns and villages, beautiful little crofts when we’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s really stunning. 

"After being so isolated for months not seeing more one other person in a room it took a second to readjust and get back into the swing of it. But it was so lovely to see everyone again. I hadn’t even seen my parents for months and then I got to see the whole cast and crew."

Who stars in All Creatures Great and Small?

All Creatures Great and Small: Series 2 - Episode 1
Left: Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton)
Right: James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
Helen and James have awkward times ahead. (Matt Squire/Playground Television)

Fans of the first series on Channel 5 will be pleased to see the return of many of the main characters.

Nicholas Ralph is back as James Herriot and spoke about the warm reception the cast had got from eager viewers.

He said: "Coming from a small town in Scotland where no one is an actor, I’ll be playing football and obviously I get the expected craic and the stick but even there they’ve been so supportive. 

"People have really taken to it. The odd time where I have been stopped in the street, I am completely happy because people have said such lovely things about how the show came at a really important and rough time."

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He'll be joined by Oscar winner and former Hollyoaks star Rachel Shenton, who is back as Helen Alderson.

Also in the cast are Samuel West as Siegfried Farnon, Anna Madeley as Mrs Hall and Callum Woodhouse as Tristan Farnon.

Look out for Patricia Hodge, who joins midway through the series as Mrs Pumphrey.

What will happen in series 2?

All Creatures Great and Small: Series 2 - Episode 1
James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
James is on hand to help the animals. (Matt Squire/Playground Television)

Picking up the story three months after the end of the first series, the cast are back in late 1930s Yorkshire.

James has spent the past few months in Glasgow nearer to his parents, but he realises how much he misses the Dales and chooses to go back to work at the rural veterinary practice rather than stay in the city.

Of course, the farm animals he works with are not the only pull back to Yorkshire after the events of last series, which saw Helen jilt Hugh as she began to explore her feelings for James.

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Ralph said: “Three months have passed since they last saw each other and to just not see someone you are so close with, as a friend, someone you have strong feelings for, that’s really hard. 

"Being back at home in Glasgow for those few weeks was probably quite good for James, to get him out of that world for a little bit but ultimately, he knows where he wants to be and who he wants to be with. 

"It’s a little bit awkward and Helen has taken some time to herself, and James has respected that and given her space.”

All Creatures Great and Small: Series 2 - Episode 1
Left: Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West)
Right:  James Herriott (Nicholas Ralph) Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
James can't resist the pull of the Dales. (Matt Squire/Playground Television)

Shenton added of her character's split with Hugh: "Because they got together so young, I don’t know if there was ever anything truly romantic between them. I don’t think either of them knew life in any other way. It was expected that they would get married. 

"I think it was only when James came along, Helen kind of thought ‘Oh okay maybe this isn’t it for me’.”

She added: “In series two, when Helen does eventually come out, she wants to have fun again and have a good time. It’s been a while since she’s done that, for a number of reasons.”

The threat of war is also looming on the horizon, with global events beginning to take centre stage by the final episode - but how will it affect the sleepy Dales, and what will happen to James after the series ends?

Watch: Rachel Shenton signs her Oscars speech

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