Rachel Shenton: 'Christmas is emotional in All Creatures Great and Small!'

Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton in All Creatures Great and Small

Rachel Shenton reveals all about the festive drama in store in Channel 5 vet drama All Creatures Great and Small

Wedding bells are ringing in the All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special on Channel 5. The period drama finds Helen (Rachel Shenton) on tenterhooks at Skeldale House’s Christmas Eve party as she prepares to marry Hugh Hulton (Matthew Lewis) the following day. But vet James (Nicholas Ralph) is still trying to hide his feelings for her…

We caught up with Rachel Shenton to find out more about the All Creatures Great and Small Christmas Special…

Tell us about the festive episode…

Rachel Shenton: “Growing up, Christmas telly was always exciting, so it feels special to be part of that. Everyone goes on a great journey and it’s not all hearts and flowers but it’s lovely seeing Skeldale House looking festive plus Callum [Woodhouse, who plays Tristan] in an elf outfit is a highlight!”

Is she nervous about her wedding?

RS: “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.”

Rachel Shenton All Creatures Great and Small

Helen (Rachel Shenton) is worried about her nuptials in All Creatures Great and Small

James is called out to a farm to help a pregnant dog and Helen goes with him. What happens?

RS: “Helen wants to go to escape the pressure but also there's a pull in the direction of James and she just wants to be with him. But then they get stuck there in the fog…”

MORE: The Call the Midwife Christmas plot revealed

How have you found the response to the series?

RS: “I don't think any of us anticipated the reaction we had. There were big shoes to fill because the BBC1 adaptation [which ran from 1978-1990] was so well loved, so we were over the moon and relieved. It’s just about togetherness and community, which feels relevant now. And even Christopher Timothy [who played James in the original BBC series] wrote a lovely letter to our production team.”

All Creatures Great and Small vets

Mrs Hall and the vets celebrate Christmas in All Creatures Great and Small

You won an Oscar in 2018 for your short film The Silent Child. Are you doing any more writing?

RS: “Yes, I’m writing at the moment, we have a couple of things in development so I'm hopeful that I’ll be able to do something. But I don't think I ever really know what's going to happen next!

All Creatures Great and Small, starring Rachel Shenton, airs on Channel 5 on Christmas Eve at 9pm

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.