All Creatures Great and Small’s Siegfried Farnon star opens up on ‘signing off’ from role

All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2's happy ending

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All Creatures Great and Small is one of Channel Five’s most recent on-screen adaptations from novels originally written by Alf Wight under the pen name James Herriot. The series follows the vet as he relocated to Yorkshire to work under veterinary surgeon Siegfried Farnon (played by Samuel West). But Samuel West recently revealed what it was like to portray Siegfried and opened up about signing off from the role.

While this adaptation is based on a series of novels, All Creatures Great and Small made its first appearance on TV in 1978.

With a series of 90 episodes, it aired on the BBC until 1990 and became a huge hit amongst fans who liked to watch the idyllic scenes of the Yorkshire Dales.

The series detailed the lived experiences of author Alf Wight as a veterinary nurse, who relocated from Glasgow to Yorkshire for his career.

In the most recent adaptation, Samuel played veterinary surgeon Siegfried Farnon, who is based on Wight’s real-life counterpart Donald Sinclair.

Samuel opened up about his portrayal of Donald in the recent novel, The World of All Creatures Great and Small: Welcome to Skeldale House.

The book revealed behind-the-scenes insight into the making of the series and even included cast members recalling their own personal experiences of filming the show.

Samuel even shared meeting Alf’s children, Jim and Rosie Wight, and using their knowledge of Donald to accurately portray him on screen.

He wrote: “Jim and Rosie told me Donald was quite the hypochondriac, and at the first sign of a cold, he’d put a spotted red handkerchief around his neck and knot it.”

The actor explained: “Well, I got a cold quite quickly after we started filming, later to become laryngitis and I had to be signed off for a few days.

He stated: “I remembered what Jim and Rosie had said about Donald and I asked the costume department, ‘would you mind instead of a tie or cravat, I wear this knotted red and white handkerchief?’

Samuel went on to share: “It looked quite good for the period, so I put it on, Rosie and Jim noticed.

“I’m pleased they knew I’d been listening to them, and that I did something that would remind them of Donald, it was true to the man,” he concluded.

Elsewhere in the book, Samuel even shed light on some tensions he experienced on the set of All Creatures Great and Small.

He said: “There was all sorts of tensions. Our extraordinary showrunner, Gemma – I realised that I had been working with her for 13 weeks.

“When one lunchtime I saw her eating a sandwich, and I said to her ‘Gemma, you know, we’ve been working together for three months and this is the first time I have seen your mouth,'” he explained.

Due to the strict rules surrounding the coronavirus, the crew and cast were always wearing facemasks.

They were also required to eat and travel separately while on set in order to reduce the chances of contracting the virus during production.

As season two of the series drew to a close, fans watched as James Herriot (Nicolas Ralph) plucked up the courage to finally propose to Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton).

The series also touched on the upcoming Second World War, which fans are expecting to see the impact of in season three.

Thankfully, a Christmas special has already been filmed and will be released before the end of the year.

All Creatures Great And Small is available to stream on My5.

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