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Season 5 of All Creatures Great and Small starts filming straight away in Grassington




Well, there were All Creatures Great and Small fans across the world waiting with baited breath recently as no mention of another series had been made. With season 4 finishing broadcasting on PBS in the United States in February 2024, everyone was expecting as it had been the case after series 2 that an announcement was made pretty early in the New Year about commissioning 2 new seasons – but there was silence.


Had the show been axed? Were we ever going to get any more of Nicholas Ralph playing the famous Yorkshire Vet James Heriot? Across fan groups on social media, the rumour mill was turning and people constantly asked if anyone had heard anything.

 

Then on 23rd February PBS Masterpiece sent an email with the news everyone had wanted – the series with its full cast (including a return from Callum Woodhouse as Tristan) had been commissioned for a series 5 and 6.

 

The show would go on!

 

Over the years we found that filming usually started for the main 6 episodes in the Dales at the end of April, continuing throughout the month of May and then in June the cast came back for a week or so for the Christmas Special.

 

But whilst in Grassington on the Sunday after the announcement, I was tipped off by one of the shopkeepers I know that they had received a letter informing them of the filming the following week on the Wednesday and Thursday.

 



I wasn’t expecting this to happen so soon, but on the Wednesday with some guests out on one of my Yorkshire Dales Tours (who happened to be great All Creatures fans) we stopped off to take a look.

 



The information was correct. Grassington had been transformed into Darrowby. The house which doubles as Skeldale House had had its false pillars and porch added, mud and dirt had been added to the cobbles and many shops transformed back to the 1940’s with signage and criss-crossed tape across the windows (in-case glass broke during wartime bombing raids).

 



We had parked up in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park and there was already evidence of the filming with trailers with vintage cars being unloaded and shire horses being groomed by the animal handlers on the show.

 



We walked into the market square but filming hadn’t started but what became apparent was that the lower square was to be used for filming for the first time with a 1950’s butchers and a pram shop materialising.



The old Church house with its date from the 1600’s carved above the door was also transformed with a clock to indicate when blackout was to be and some prams and push chairs outside. Is this where Darrowby nursery will be?

 




We took a walk up through the town and followed Moor Lane to get a feel for the surrounding Yorkshire Dales countryside and get some views back down into Grassington so my guests could get some idea of the scale of the town.

 



When we arrived back, barriers had been put up and a small crowd of about 20 people were waiting with anticipation for filming to start. First Nicholas Ralph and then Helen Shenton walked passed, Nicholas wearing his Dry Robe warm coat, giving the crowd a big wave and entering Skeldale House.





 

We then witnessed a few scenes being filmed for continuity as costumed extras walked across the square in front of the house, old cars drove by and horses were walked across the set. It was amazing how many takes were made for what looked like the shortest bit of film – made you realise the attention to detail that goes into the show.

 





Then before lunch Nicholas Ralph appeared looking dapper in blue suit and a fetching hat. His scene was carrying a suitcase and haversack across the square, climbing the steps of Skeldale then entering the house. It was fascinating witnessing the scene, again filmed many times from different angles until they said “that’s it we got it”. James Herriot returning to Darrowby - is he on a break from the RAF or has he left for good?





Nicholas Ralph was extremely professional, but in between takes was happy to talk to fans and sign autographs.

 



It was also fun watching the large team on site work so seamlessly together as well as seeing the All Creatures Great and Small clapperboard in action.

 



Sadly we had to get on, and from seeing social media posts later, Rachel Shenton who plays  Helen (James wife) shot a few scenes with a pram and Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley), Mrs Pumphrey (Patricia Hodges) and even Tricky Woo turned up!

 

So the producers of the show obviously knew way before the recommissioning announcement was made that the show was going on, to be able to plan for the filming. It’s much earlier than previous years – does this mean they will have finished filming before May time this year?

 



One little exclusive, I picked up from chatting to one of the production assistants during the filming. Apparently research on the last season mentioned that too many of the scenes were shot in the studio. It’s obviously cheaper and easier to film this way.

 

But, research showed the viewers wanted to see more of the Yorkshire Dales, and so whilst season 4 did feature some panoramic shots of the Dales – watch out for even more of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales scenery in season 5!

 

I have previously blogged about All Creatures Great and Small before, if you want to read about the day I met James Herriot in Arncliffe or how they turn Grassington into Darrowby, click on the links below:

 

 


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