All Creatures Great and Small’s Helen star opens up on being replaced

All Creatures Great and Small: Season 2's happy ending

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All Creatures Great and Small was originally a British television series made by the BBC in 1978, which was based on the books about veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. The latest adaptation of the drama made its return on Channel 5 in September 2021 for a second season and it saw lead character James (Nicholas Ralph) make some tough decisions.

Actress Carol Drinkwater played the role of Helen Herriot in the original series and was replaced by Lynda Bellingham when she decided to leave the role after 42 episodes.

Speaking in a new interview, Carol recalled being replaced as she admitted she was already thinking about leaving the show.

She also decided it was time for her to leave the show after meeting her husband Michel in Australia.

“I was already thinking about leaving because I felt that there was no more stretch for Helen,” the actress explained.

“They wanted to stay very strictly to the books, because Alf was alive and at that stage, he was quite adamant that they did,” the actress continued to The Yorkshire Post.

“And I didn’t feel that there was anywhere else I could take Helen.

“I thought that I’d reheated that teabag – ‘Oh James, let me make you a cup of tea’, enough times and unless there was new material for me I felt that it was time for me to move on.

“And I was getting lots and lots of offers because the series was very successful.”

The original series of All Creatures Great and Small ended in 1990, however, has since made its comeback with the remake of the series in 2020.

Samuel West plays local vet Siegfried Farnon and Nicholas Ralph plays his colleague James Herriot and taking the role of Helen and having to live up to Carol’s reputation is Rachel Shenton.

The second season of All Creatures Great and Small made its debut in September 2021, much to the delight of viewers.

It saw James turn down a major role in Glasgow so he could stay with his love interest, Helen.

At the end of season two, the vet finally plucked up the courage to propose to Helen and the pair celebrated their engagement.

The latest season also touched on the impending Second World War, and fans are wondering how this will impact the lives of the Darrowby residents.

Show bosses haven’t confirmed whether a third season is on the cards, but showrunner Ben Vanstone has hinted there will be.

“Yes, I think we are looking forward to a third series. I don’t think that’s a surprise,” he explained.

“I think that when we started the show, we had in mind arcs for these characters that took them across a number of series and initially, it was kind of four series,” he added.

“But everything in this show plays out slower than you think it would.

“I think in other shows, you sort of risk the need to have more stories and more action and more things happening, but with our show, it’s the antithesis of that.

“We kind of give everything time. So yeah, there’s plenty more to come. We’ll see what all the stakeholders say.”

All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on Channel 5.

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