The square you need to cross off your Puzzle Trail map today has been inspired by the news that All Creatures Great and Small is coming back, albeit in the form of a prequel to the original, and in a location as far removed from the Yorkshire Dales as it is symbolically possible to be: the slums of Glasgow.
To counter this madness, let’s pause for a moment to recall the original incarnation of “Creatures”, as its new production team have undoubtedly dubbed it.
A dog on a cushion, a cow in a cattle grid, a car driving through puddles, everyone listening to Churchill on the wireless… Yes, none of these were as ubiquitous as memory suggests, your actual episodes being basically full of yokel talk and gynaecology. But oh, that countryside was ever so nice to look at.
To get the grid reference you need to cross off the map, take the first letter of the surname of Christopher Timothy’s character, and couple that with the number of different actresses who played his wife.
Read clue 18
Read clue 17
Read clue 16
Read clue 15
Read clue 14
Read clue 13
Read clue 12
Read clues 1 – 11 and download your own Puzzle Trail map
JON P’TWEE was your thick-but-loveable scarecrow befriended by kids, according to the 7″ single (see below), “just like John and Sue”, with all the “thinking head”/”cup of tea and slice of cake” stuff. (Sue was, in fact, a pre-pubescent CHARLOTTE “FOUR/MARMALADE/ORANGES” COLEMAN.) Aunt Sally (UNA STUBBS) and “The playing-God-with-bits-of-turnip-and-carrot-alchemist Crowman” (GEOFFREY “CATWEAZLE” BAYLDON) did the schtick, along with multiple guest appearances down the years by BARBARA WINDSOR as Saucy Nancy. Original Southern television production later shifted lock, stock to New Zealand (for co-production of the “…DOWN UNDER”), though the series had long since deviated from the original BARBARA EUPHAN-TODD books.
BANISH FROM YOUR MIND the current sex-in-the-shit-sheds kaboodle. Older, gentler Beckindale was a lunchtime joy. In them days it were ‘t Sugdens at heart o’t'village and ’tis raining on t’cows again. Widowed Annie had to keep the farmyard crap-free and old grandad Sam on the straight while sons Joe (FRAZER HINES) and Jack did the digging and delving. Farmhand Matt Skilbeck fell under spell of local siren Dolly. Down at The Woolpack Amos Brearley and “Mr” Wilkes tapped the finest for woolly-hatted Seth and co. Much angst derived from arrival of commercial farming methods and assorted bad eggs on the nearby estate. Ubiquitous vicar relied on for confessions, wise counsel and other assorted character interaction duties. Turning point came when Phil Redmond flew a plane into the village, the Spice Girls moved in and everyone discovered shagging.
SUBLIME SUNDAY night adaptation of James Herriott’s tales of life as a 1930s Yorkshire Dales vet, blessed with an excellent cast led by ROBERT HARDY as Siegfried Farnon, gruff, patrician head of practice, always ready to sound a note of caution as they gathered around the huge wireless (loads of period detail) to hear the latest war news; and CHRISTOPHER TIMOTHY as Herriott himself, stolid, caring practioner, always ready with a reassuring word when it was time to put down a kid’s pet or a pensionable heifer (“‘E’s been a faithful servant to me, Mr ‘Erriott”), and married to CAROL DRINKWATER who regenerated into LINDA BELLINGHAM. Speaking of which, Dr Who was in it as well as perennial wet-behind-ears young tyro Tristan, plus there was haughty village matriarch Mrs Pumphrey, who had a little dog named Tricki-Woo who lived on a cushion, and that indecipherable bloke who called Herriott ‘vet’narian’. The whole thing was topped off by those timeless driving-through-the-Dales-in-a-lovely-old-car titles, with Hardy and Timothy sharing a joke.