UK / 1974
Director: Claude Whatham
Writer: Hugh Whitemore, from the novels If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot
Cast: Simon Ward, Anthony Hopkins, Lisa Harrow, Brian Stirner, Freddie Jones, T P McKenna, Brenda Bruce, John Collin, Christine Buckley
Simon Ward, in the role played in the popular television series by Christopher Timothy, moves from London to Yorkshire in 1937 and becomes live-in assistant to vet Anthony Hopkins. There he meets Hopkins’ younger brother Brian Stirner, who is making a career out of failing his university exams, stern housekeeper Christine Buckley and bookkeeper Brenda Bruce and gets on with his job of ministering to sick animals.
These include an overfed Pekinese belonging to Daphne Oxenford, an ill horse which has to be shot, and a sick dog. And he has a run-in with wily farmer Freddie Jones, who is attempting to swindle an insurance company by claiming his prize cow has been struck by lightning. He also meets farmer’s daughter Lisa Harrow and a rocky romance develops between them.
Things finally run smoothly – until Ward has to tell his new bride that his honeymoon will be spent testing cattle for TB…