Skip to main content

Nicholas Ralph — things you didn't know about the actor

Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small
Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. (Image credit: Channel 5)

Nicholas Ralph has become a household name thanks to his role as James Herriot in Channel 5 drama All Creatures Great And Small season 2. But before joining the legendary 1970s vet drama, Nicholas also appeared in films The Devil's Light, A Most Reluctant Convert, and The Wife

But what else is there to know about the actor behind the vet from the Yorkshire Dales? 

Nicholas Ralph: little known facts about the actor... 

Nicholas Ralph isn't actually Scottish 

While Nicholas grew up in the Scottish Highlands, he was actually born in Cape Town. He not only spent his early life in South Africa, but he also had family in Georgia and Texas, meaning he spent much of his childhood visiting the US, too. 

He gets on brilliantly with his co-star Rachel Shenton 

When asked by about his friendship with All Creatures Great and Small co-star Rachel Shenton, Nicholas revealed they have a great bond... "We have so much fun. Before a take, if it’s something fun and James and Helen are having a laugh or really enjoying being in one another’s company, we always try and make each other laugh, either do a silly voice, or Rach sometimes will pull faces."

Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot and Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson in All Creatures Great and Small

Nicholas has struck up a great friendship with All Creatures Great and Small co-star Rachel Shenton.  (Image credit: Channel 5/ Playground Television (UK) LTD)

He's had some close shaves with the animals on set

The old adage has always warned TV stars against working with children and animals... and Nicholas can vouch for that! He told us: "So last year we had Jester the bull who was two tonnes and the size of a shed. This series we have Monty the bull who is younger and smaller but from the same lineage and the same breeders. He's still a big dude! I had to learn how to ring his nose. It’s sometimes quite intimidating around the bigger animals but luckily they are trained so well so it was all fine." 

He compares playing football to being an actor 

Having grown up playing a lot of football, Nicholas says he can see a lot of similarities between the sport and working on the set of a TV show. He told "More often than not, I was captain of the football team, as well, growing up, and I loved that and it’s something I really missed. And then being one of the main characters (in All Creatures Great and Small), I really felt that bit of responsibility again, like the captaincy role. I loved that, and trying to bringing everyone together, and I found something that I thought I’d never find again, since playing football."

He grew up surrounded by farm animals 

The bond that Nicholas has with animals on screen as vet James Herriot isn't just for show, the actor actually grew up with livestock pretty much in his garden in the Scottish Highlands. He told "When we were little kids, the farmer would lift us onto the back of one cow and take us the length of the garden. We named her Friendly because she wasn’t scared of us, which is quite sweet. Other times there were cows that actually broke out and they’d be in your garden, munching the flowers."

He had to do a 'vet bootcamp' for the role of James Herriot 

Despite already knowing one end of a cow from the other before getting the role thanks to growing up in rural Scotland, Nicholas told Town and Country that he went on a vet bootcamp before filming started: "From the start I said, 'I want to do as much as possible that's still allowed,' because the rules for animals in entertainment have changed in the last 75 years, so now you can't do anything that one, the animal doesn't require, and two, you're not trained to do."

Nicholas Ralph in All Creatures Great and Small

Nicholas went on a 'vet bootcamp' before filming as James Herriot.  (Image credit: Masterpiece)

Nicholas Ralph's fact file 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actor....

How old is Nicholas Ralph?

Nicholas was born in 1990 which makes him 31 years old. 

Where was Nicholas Ralph born?

Nicholas Ralph was born in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Is Nicholas Ralph married?

No, Nicholas isn't married. 

Does Nicholas Ralph have any children?

No, Nicholas doesn't have any children. 

Twitter: @NicholasRalph_

Instagram : @nicholasralph_

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.