It was an eventful Christmas Day for both Helen and James in the All Creatures Great and Small festive special.


At the beginning of the episode, Rachel Shenton's character had begun to experience cramps, indicating that her baby's arrival was imminent, which was far from ideal given that she was planning to visit James, who's away completing his RAF training.

After her husband, Mrs Hall and Siegfried advised Helen against travelling, she decided to stay put, but she wasn't happy about the decision, with James also frustrated, which prompted him to ask FO Woodham if he could pay her a visit.

When his request for leave was denied, he decided to sneak out regardless, even though it was a court martial offence, and made it to within one mile of Darrowby with help from some very kind strangers.

But a disgruntled Woodham suddenly appeared and transported him back to base, with that appearing to be very much that.

After James managed to get the group's kestrel back in the air, however, Woodham softened to the vet's predicament and dropped him at his home personally, where he was permitted to stay for two days.

Unfortunately, he had just missed the birth of his son, also named James, but at least the three of them were able to share a moment together, which wasn't on his Christmas bingo card.

Read more:

Yet with James required back at camp in just two days as the war effort continues to ramp up, where he will then be transferred for bomber training, it was a bittersweet moment.

And he also doesn't know how much longer he will be away from his family – or if he'll return at all.

Speaking ahead of the Christmas special, Nicholas Ralph, who plays James, said: "He's probably been away now for about four months, so it's a long time to be away from your significant other.

"And he misses Helen hugely, and she's pregnant, and like he says before he leaves, things are a lot different now than when he signed up.

"When he signed up, Helen wasn't pregnant, things were very, very different. And if she was back then, who knows what decision he would have made?"

Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small: Series 4 saluting in military gear
Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot All Creatures Great and Small.

Callum Woodhouse's Tristan Farnon was also absent from the Christmas special after the character was called up to serve in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

"Tristan's away at war, so he doesn't feature this year," Ralph told "And within the world of All Creatures Great and Small, we miss Tristan a lot.

"And James in particular, he's his best friend. He's his brother in the surrogate family, so he's hugely proud of him for becoming his own man, spreading his wings and getting out from underneath Siegfried's watchful eye."

More like this

Speaking about Woodhouse's absence on set, Ralph said: "The character James misses Tris, but also we missed Cal on set and hanging out. He's a wonderful, wonderful actor."

Shenton added: "He's still in the WhatsApp group sending pictures of the dogs [laughs]."

There's been no word on All Creatures season 5, but fans will certainly be hoping to see all of their favourites present and correct if it does get the green light.

All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on My5. If you're looking for something else to watch, visit our TV Guide or take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage.

You can order James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small from Amazon.

Want to visit Death in Paradise locations in Guadeloupe at a discount? Radio Times is offering savings of up to 7% for registered users booking their next holiday with travel website Expedia. Claim your exclusive Radio Times Expedia holiday discount now.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.