All Creatures Great and Small icon struggled to keep it together with Mrs Pumphrey star09/30/2021
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All Creatures Great and Small is back on Channel 5 and this season has seen James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph) get closer to his love interest, Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton). He was drawn back to the Dales due to his love for the work and the people, as there are many quirky characters in the village. Mrs Pumphrey is played by Patricia Hodge in season two, and Ralph spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about working with the actress in the TV series.
All Creatures Great and Small has made a welcome return and fans have loved seeing Yorkshire vet James Herriot back at work.
He had been offered a job in Glasgow but was reluctant to leave behind the community he had grown so close to.
James had fallen in love with the eccentric characters of Darrowby, including Mrs Pumphrey and her Pekingese, Tricki-Woo.
In the first season, she was played by Diana Rigg, but the actress died shortly after filming.
The role was given to actress Hodge, and Nicholas Ralph said he “struggled to keep it together” working with the esteemed actress.
He told Express.co.uk: “Patricia Hodge is just brilliant, she made the character completely her own which is great.
“The first time I was with her on set and the way her relationship with Derek, the little dog who plays Tricki- Woo was just brilliant.
“It was almost like a ventriloquist dummy, it was so funny I was struggling to keep it together.
“But yeah she has just come in and made the character her own.
“I love the fun aspect of the show and she is a great part of this, a great addition.”
The star also said it had been a privilege to work with the “fantastic” actress Rigg when she was in the role.
Her death was an extremely sad moment for the entire cast and crew, who brought so much comic relief to the series.
Actress Hodge opened up about meeting her new co-star, Derek the Pekingese, on set for the first time.
She said: “I just loved him straight away. He is a sweetie.
“On the first day of filming Derek’s handler came over and said ‘oh I gather you want to meet Derek, here he is’ and he introduced us, and the first thing I ever do with a dog is hold my hand out so the dog can start to sniff you.
“And Derek literally looked at me, and looked away, and looked at me, and looked away.
“As if he was saying ‘well what on earth are you holding your hand out for!’ His handler told me he was the most laid-back dog, and he really is.”
The actress said she was drawn to the project because of the level of human interaction and, of course, the animals.
She described the series as “a comfort blanket” during difficult times, taking viewers back to an easier life.
When asked what she brought to the character to make it her own, she said she did not want to have previous portrayals “sitting on her shoulders”.
She said: “When I was asked to take on the role, I wiped my mind of anything I previously saw and took my interpretation from the scripts.
“Then it permeates through to you what kind of woman Mrs Pumphrey is, and she was a person that I recognised.”
The star already knew Siegfried Farnon actor Sam West, who had directed her before in previous work.
West said it was wonderful to work with Patricia again and fans are looking forward to seeing her performance.
All Creatures Great and Small airs on Thursdays on Channel 5 at 9pm
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