'All Creatures Great and Small' season 2 — US release date, cast, plot, trailer, and all you need to know

All Creatures Great and Small season 2
(Image credit: Matt Squire)

All Creatures Great and Small season 2 is now coming to the US after already airing in the UK.

The first series of All Creatures Great and Small proved to be an enormous hit. And so was the heartwarming All Creatures Great and Small 2020 Christmas special

Everyone wants to know if James and Helen will finally become an item. Teasing the new series, Nicholas Ralph, who plays James, says: "Well, there’s been a bit of separation between James and Helen. Helen’s taken herself off to just to be by herself for a bit and James has been stuck into work. 

"He ends up back in Glasgow to help a vet out there for a couple of weeks so when the series opens, we find him back in Scotland. And then he gets the offer of a permanent job back in Glasgow. 

"His mum is keen for him to take it so there’s this kind of push and pull for James throughout the series. He’s a lot more competent now both personally and professionally which I really like, he’s kind of grown into himself."

Here's everything we know about season 2...

'All Creatures Great and Small' season 2 release date

All Creatures Great and Small season 2 starts in the US on Jan. 9, 2022, 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

All Creatures Great and Small season 2 started on Channel 5 on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 9pm in the UK and has now concluded. You can catch up on My5.

Patricia Hodge in All Creatures Great and Small

Patricia Hodge in 'All Creatures Great and Small'. (Image credit: Channel 5)

All Creatures Great and Small

'All Creatures Great and Small' sees us return to Darrowby. (Image credit: Channel 5)

What is the plot of 'All Creatures Great and Small' season 2?

Three months have passed since the end of season one. A trip back home to Glasgow presents James with a dilemma that will mean choosing between the people he loves. As Helen and James navigate their feelings for one another, Siegfried, Tristan, and Mrs Hall are also forced to consider their places in the world, while James must decide between supporting his family or following his heart. 

What happens in episode one of season 2?

In Glasgow in 1938, James has successfully operated on a cat who has suffered a fracture at his old mentor’s practice. He is then offered a position and James’ parents are ecstatic at the news.

James returns to the Dales and encourages Siegfried to let Tristan take on more veterinary responsibilities so that they can take on more small animal cases at Skeldale House.

Siegfried says that they are principally a farm practice, but inspired by his work in Glasgow, James tells Siegfried that more people are keeping pets now. An incredulous Siegfried responded, “Yes, why people keep animals as pets is beyond me. A dog should have a function — let it be used for farm work, for shooting, for guiding, not just hanging about the place.”

James and Siegfried tend to a sheep catastrophe where neighbouring farmer Rob Benson’s sheep have been chased by the Alderson’s dog, meanwhile, Tristan sees to a budgerigar, with disastrous consequences. 

Since Helen Alderson left wealthy landowner Hugh Hulton at the altar, she has been laying low, while James has been keeping his distance. But, the sheep issue involving the Alderson’s dog brings them together again... how will they on?

What happens in episode two?

Mrs Brompton comes to Skeldale House with tickets for the Daffodil Ball. Tristan encourages James to ask Helen to the spring dance.

James is anxious when he receives a letter from home, but manages to pluck up the courage to ask Helen to the ball. 

But, they’re interrupted when Gerald comes in with an emergency, as his dog, Rock, has been severely injured by an animal trap.

James and Mrs Hall have been left to work in the surgery alone with a long list of patients to see and James hopes he has the time to be able to attend the Daffodil Ball with Helen. At the same time, Mrs Hall and Gerald have a romantic spark.

After an error with Siegfried’s appointment list, Siegfried accidentally misses an appointment at Colonel Merrick’s estate, which makes him come face-to-face with rival vet George Pandhi.

James confides in Mrs Hall about his parents’ situation back home and how his mother has accepted his job offer for him back at the practice in Glasgow. But James is still unsure whether he wants to leave the Dales behind.

Tristan is disappointed that Siegfried has changed, hinting that he’s lost his edge as he let Merrick and George run rings around him and that he’s “stuck in a rut.”

James suggests to Siegfried that if Tristan was able to practise on his own that they could take on more work and with the extra money they could invest in some new equipment.

James is slightly disappointed with the outcome of the dance, but Siegfried soon runs rings around Colonel Merrick when he attends to his ill cow.

Later on, Helen comes to the practice and talks about what happened at the dance...

What happens in episode three?

James is called out to attend to widow Phyllis Dalby’s seriously ill cows.

James hopes that he can save the cows, but when Phyllis makes a comment on how time is so fleeting, it propels James to ask Helen out on a date.

Siegfried can’t accept that Tristan has done enough work, so gives him a challenge. Meanwhile, Mrs Pumphrey’s dog, Tricki Woo, requires a babysitter while she attends the test match in London.

James finds it hard to accept the fact that there’s nothing he can do to save Phyllis’ cows and livelihood. But his worries about the problem soon cause drama between the pair on their date.

Tristan goes to desperate measures to impress Siegfried, but Siegfried reassures him that we all make mistakes and we should forgive and learn from them.

Mrs Pumphrey returns.

What happens in episode four?

It was a big day for Tristan as it's both his birthday and his time to “stand on his own two feet” as he's finally given his own appointment list by Siegfried. Tristan is delighted at the news, as it means that he has the opportunity to put his vet skills to the test on his own as a lead vet, rather than being stuck under Siegfried’s guidance.

Meanwhile, a dog won’t stop crying after being operated on by Siegfried, which concerns Mrs Hall. 

While out on call as lead vet, Tristan is kicked by a horse and injures his knee, but he is ecstatic when he delivers his first calf, albeit with a very exaggerated performance. 

Mrs Hall accidentally lets slip to Helen that James has been offered a permanent position in Glasgow.

After Tristan requests a dinner party to celebrate his birthday, the guests soon start to arrive including Margot, a friend of Helen’s ex-fiance, Hugh. After a shaky start, Siegfried delivers a touching speech congratulating Tristan on all his hard work.

But the dinner party soon turns awry when Siegfried and Tristan have an argument at the dinner table, in which Siegfried spills the huge secret that Tristan never actually passed his veterinary exams, but Siegfried had lied and told him that he had qualified. Tristan is left devastated and in tears.

What happens in episode five?

Siegfried stresses to Mrs Hall that his cricket flannels have a hole in them and says that he can’t go to Mrs Pumphrey’s cricket match on Sunday if he has a hole in his trousers, but Mrs Hall doesn’t seem that bothered by the matter.

Siegfried reveals that they’re still a man short for the annual Darrowby match at Pumphrey Manor, and asks Tristan to step in. Tristan, still angry at his brother for lying to him, refuses, saying that “It’s for local farmers and vets by invitation. And I, last time I checked, am neither.”

A familiar face from Helen’s past returns-and it’s none other than Hugh Hulton, who has asked James to tend to his new bull that needs ringing.

Helen is worried about his return and is nervous that he won’t renew the lease after their rocky past, but the Alderson’s are delighted when Hugh reveals that he intends to renew the lease on the farm and that Helen and Jenny will even inherit the lease. The Alderson’s were then bowled over when Hugh gifted them a new bull as an apology and wanted to start a clean slate.

But, James grows jealous of Hugh’s generosity and soon discovers that Hugh is the captain and star player of the opposing cricket team. A competitive James steps up to fill in for the missing player for the Darrowby Eleven team and compete against Hugh at the cricket match.

Tristan is doubtful about James competing in the match, but Siegfried is determined to train him up, which proves to be quite a challenge for everyone involved.

When it’s time for the cricket match, a reluctant Tristan reconsiders his refusal after the Alderson’s team loses another player and things start to not look good for James on the pitch.

When Mrs Pumphrey goes to Siegfried with a fragile veterinary issue, it helps him to fully understand the issue of his difficult relationship with Tristan. 

Back on the pitch, as it’s James’ turn to bat, the game turns tense until he makes an admirable sacrifice to put things right.

What happens in episode six?

After a rather eventful night at the cinema with Helen, James prepares for his parents visit as he must break some difficult news to them.

Siegfried encourages James to marry Helen, saying that life is too short and that James is too cautious.

While Tristan is struggling to make a decision regarding his professional career, he witnesses Mrs Donovan’s dog get into an accident and steps up to help straight away. But, the ordeal lets Tristan learn a lesson that helps him make a decision about his future.

Meanwhile, James tends to the Alderson’s pregnant horse, where he invites Helen to have dinner with his parents when they arrive.

Helen and James share a romantic moment, as James declares that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her in the Dales and marry her, but a small problem arises — he hasn’t asked her father for permission.

James’ intentions are soon derailed when there’s an emergency with their pregnant horse.

Richard Alderson opens up to James about his wife’s passing and grants permission for James to marry his daughter.

James’s parents arrive and he goes on a mission in hopes that he can convince his parents of his love of the Dales and why staying there is so important to him, including introducing them to Helen...

'All Creatures Great and Small' season 2 cast

All the main cast returning, it's now been officially confirmed. Expect more arguments between Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) and his older brother Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), while Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) tries to keep the peace. Meanwhile, James (Nicholas Ralph) will be seeing how Helen (Rachel Shenton) feels after the huge events of the Christmas special.

Miranda star Patricia Hodge has joined the cast as eccentric dog owner Mrs Pumphrey - the role played in the first series by the late Diana Rigg.

Plus The Vicar of Dibley’s James Fleet joins the show as Colonel Merrick, an impressive military man and local farmer. Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis is also back as Hugh.

Is there a trailer?

There is! Not only is it great to be back in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, but we also see James return to where he belongs, and it isn't long before he is getting to grips with the local animals once again. He is also seen putting his heart on the line when he tells Helen that he missed her while he was away... could there be romance on the cards? 

What happened in the Christmas special?

The Christmas special opened on Christmas Eve when poor James was in bits as Helen prepared to get married to Hugh. However as Rachel Shenton, who plays Helen, revealed, the farmer was having doubts about her marriage.

“It’s emotional because it’s Christmas Eve and the night before her wedding and she’s uncertain. I don’t think she thought a proposal was around the corner and it blindsided her. Now, with everyone at the party asking about her plans, she’s overwhelmed.”

Helen and James ended up being trapped together on a remote farm as a thick fog rested over the Dales. James wrestled with telling Helen his true feelings but decided against it.

On Christmas Day James decided to head home, but upon reaching a crossroads he suddenly decided to head back. When James arrived, he found out that Helen didn’t go through with the wedding.

All Creatures Great and Small is currently on Channel 5 (see our TV guide for full listings).

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David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!