All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2's happy ending
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All Creatures Great and Small has been airing on Channel 5 and season two featured an uplifting finale. James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph) finally proposed to his love interest Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton). However, there was a feeling of unease as the Second World War is on the horizon.
Did James Herriot go to war?
All Creatures Great and Small season two has sadly come to an end but the Christmas special is yet to come.
The season finale featured James’ proposal to Helen as he realised life was too short to dismiss his feelings.
He had given up a plush new job in Glasgow as he loved working with the community in Darrowby.
Fans celebrated the couple’s engagement, but there were darker themes throughout the final episode.
Helen was heard reassuring James that “they will get it sorted” as world leaders entered peace talks.
However, as season two was set the year before the Second World War, viewers are wary of what is yet to come.
Radio announcements featured throughout the finale and Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) looked particularly concerned that war was imminent.
Fans are worried James and Helen’s wedding will be put on hold as the vet is called up to fight for his country.
The series is based on the life of the real James Herriot – or Alf Wight – the esteemed Yorkshire vet.
As for whether the real James Herriot went to war, the answer is yes – he joined the Royal Air Force.
In November 1942, Wight enlisted in the RAF and was one of the first in his flight to fly solo.
However, a year later he was deemed unfit to fly following surgery and was discharged from the RAF.
With this in mind, the series could see James put his wedding plans on hold so he can join the fight.
If the series remains true to the life of Wight, Ralph’s character could leave Darrowby temporarily.
However, the creators of the series have said they do not want to focus too heavily on the Second World War.
Writer Ben Vanstone said: “All Creatures Great and Small is a show about a family of vets in the Dales and the community they serve.
“While it’s impossible to ignore the fact that war is on the horizon, we never wanted it to be something that overrides the fundamental nature of the show.
“We will experience the gradual creep of looming conflict but this will be very much through our characters rather than with a bird’s eye view of the wider political context.”
This was particularly evident in the final episode of the second season, set in 1938.
The website James Herriot Life and Times said: “Wight served in the Royal Air Force in 1942.
“His wife moved to her parents’ house during this time, and upon being discharged from the RAF as a Leading Aircraftman, Wight joined her.
“They lived there until 1946, at which point they moved back to 23 Kirkgate, staying until 1953.”
His son James was born during his time in the RAF, a few months before he left the service.
In 1969 Wight wrote If Only They Could Talk, the first of the now-famous book series based on his life working as a vet and his training in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on My5.
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