HBO 'to remake All Creatures Great and Small'
HBO is said to be planning a 'sexier and glossier' remake of All Creatures Great and Small, the BBC series about a vet in the Yorkshire Dales
It is an unlikely idea: the US network behind gritty dramas The Wire and The Sopranos buying the rights to All Creatures Great and Small.
But if rumours are true, the gentle British story of a vets' practice in the Yorkshire Dales is to be given a “big-budget remake” by HBO.
The US version will reportedly be “sexier and glossier” than the original, which would not be difficult – with their tweed jackets, flat caps and scenes elbow-deep in recalcitrant cows, the on-screen trio of Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy and Peter Davison did not radiate the kind of glamour associated with Sex and the City, another HBO hit.
Attempts to remake British favourites for US audiences have met with varying degrees of success. Dad’s Army, The Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous never made it past the pilot stage.
However, US executives are said to be full of “great ideas” for an All Creatures Great and Small remake.
The original was based on the memoirs of James Alfred Wight, who wrote under the Herriot pseudonym about his life as a vet in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
Timothy played the newly qualified Herriot, with Hardy as his curmudgeonly boss Siegfried Farnon and Davison as Siegfried’s boyish brother, Tristan.
It ran from 1978 to 1990 and was hugely popular, attracting 20 million viewers at its height. Set in the fictional market town of Darrowby, it also featured Lynda Bellingham in later series as Herriot’s wife.
The BBC, which holds the rights to All Creatures Great and Small, attempted to revive the story in 2011 with a prequel called Young James Herriot. It was shown as a Christmas special, but ratings were unspectacular and plans for a series were abandoned.
Wight died in 1995, aged 78, having sold more than 50 million copies of his Herriot books, including If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen To A Vet. Despite finding fame and wealth, he continued to practice, saying: “If a farmer calls me with a sick animal, he couldn’t care less if I were George Bernard Shaw.”