All Creatures Great and Small star Nicholas Ralph — 'The wedding is everything you would hope!'

Nicholas Ralph as James in a tweed suit and tie and Rachel Shenton as Helen in a wedding dress in the church in All Creatures Great and Small.
All Creatures Great and Small - will things go smoothly as James and Helen prepare to get married? (Image credit: Channel 5)

All Creatures Great and Small season 3 sees wedding bells ring out in Darrowby in the upcoming new series.

The new run of the 1930s-set drama, which starts on Channel 5 on Thursday, September 15 at 9pm and on PBS Masterpiece in the US next year, sees vet James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) and farmer’s daughter Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) getting ready to tie the knot. But there are several setbacks at the Skeldale House veterinary practice, which could disrupt proceedings…

What To Watch caught up with Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton to find out what to expect in All Creatures Great and Small season 3

All Creatures Great and Small is back! What can you tell us about the wedding?!

NICHOLAS RALPH: “I can't say much but it’s everything you would hope it would be - romantic, touching, but also funny because there are little mishaps and teething issues on the day… I’m really excited for people to see it.” 

RACHEL SHENTON: “Yes, they do get married, but like any TV wedding, there are bumps along the way… the wedding dress is beautiful! Our costume designer is brilliant and we wanted something that felt and looked right.” 

Rachel Shenton as Helen in a red coat and Nicholas Ralph as James in a tweed suit sit in a green car outside the veterinary practice.

Will Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James (Nicholas Ralph) have a smooth run into married life in All Creatures Great and Small? (Image credit: Channel 5)

How do things pan out once they are married?

RACHEL: “We've seen their love story bubble, but now things are getting real for them, they're working out how to navigate life together. The storylines this year are brilliant. They have real heartfelt moments and things that are tough for them to discuss. The transition into married life is tricky for Helen in terms of being part of Skeldale House while still being there for her dad and sister.”

How does head vet Siegfried, played by Samuel West, feel when James takes on more responsibility at the practice?

NICHOLAS: “James is trying to steer Siegfried into keeping the practice up to speed with the modern day. But they end up at loggerheads! I don't know if Siegfried is ready to relinquish control, but they still have love and respect for one another.”

Callum Woodhouse as vet Tristan in a beige jacket and colourful jumper, Samuel West as head vet Siegfried in a dark tweed suit, Rachel Shenton as Helen in a green jacket and red jumper and Nicholas Ralph as James in a grey jacket and red jumper stand outside the veterinary practice in All Creatures Great and Small.

There's high drama ahead for Tristan (Callum Woodhouse), Siegfried (Samuel West), Helen (Rachel Shenton) and James (Nicholas Ralph) as the Skeldale House veterinary practice opens its doors again in All Creatures Great and Small. (Image credit: Channel 5)

The series is set in 1939, how will World War Two impact on everyone?

RACHEL: “Well, the country's on the brink of war, but Helen’s of the mindset that it won’t amount to anything, maybe due to her innate optimism. She's reassured that James is in a reserved occupation, and her dad's not going to get called up…”

NICHOLAS: “The overall tone of this series is still warm, gentle, funny and poignant but war is looming in the background. We start in the spring and even when it comes more to the forefront, everyone thinks it will be done by Christmas. They don't know what’s coming next. But they are stretched, pushed and pressurized in different ways. For James, there is shame or guilt because he's in a protected profession." 

Were there any memorable animal moments when you were filming this season?

NICHOLAS: “We had a runaway cow! And when I worked with one dog I ended up buried under a sheet of fur. It was shedding hair everywhere! And Pekingese Tricki Woo is still grunting on cue and speaking back to Patricia Hodge as [his owner] Mrs Pumphrey. It's brilliant!”

RACHEL: “And the Aldersons’ dog Scruff, played by Bobbi, is my favorite. Whenever there's an animal in the scene, your pockets are always full of food to get them to behave and Bobbi likes cheese!”

All Creatures Great and Small season 3 airs weekly on Channel 5 from Thursday, September 15 at 9 pm. It will also air on streaming site My5.

The series will arrive on PBS Masterpiece in the US next year. 

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.