All the main cast went to “vet training camp,” in Ralph’s words. “We personally approached the horses and cows and sheep and everything, and went through some operations, like looking for abscesses. It was scary, but you want all the details right; how the doctor touches the animal or washes his hands or puts his glasses around his neck.”
They all learned a lot about farming, said Shenton, who runs her character a dairy farm. “The times were very difficult in that era and people didn’t have hundreds of animals,” she said. “If someone is sick, that can have a big impact.”
Note the original series A review in the Telegraph, “Has become synonymous with veterinarians fennel for their forearms and hind-limbs search for stunning livestock.” (James Heriot Museum In Thirsk, the writer noted, it has an interactive setup that allows visitors to “raise their hands on the back of a cow.”) But recently applied rules about the use of animals in the film meant that the actors avoided those experiences, and worked with a mixture of live animals and prosthetics.
“You should work with animals that are good at pretending,” West said. “It’s really amazing.”
Vanston said that while the first season is primarily based on Heriot’s first book, the recently commissioned Season Two will use a combination of the first and two in order to broaden the character’s perspective and the types of veterinary procedures on offer. He said that the books contain many stories about cows. “I tried to cast a wider net.”
The series is popular across age groups (Channel 5 reports a significant 16-34 age group) and audiences indicate that the show has made a great place for a relaxed, family-friendly viewing at a time of national distress.
“There’s something about the show’s focus on community, heart and family that seems to have a particular resonance for us at a time when we’ve all gone through something tough on the world,” Shenton said. Then there is the aspect that has less to do with society or creatures than the plague’s more transitional pleasures: the enchanting slopes of the Yorkshire hills and beautiful time capsule villages.
“None of us have been able to move much in the past year,” Shenton said. “But we did spend some time in the beautiful Darobi.”