• Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

What happened to the original Mrs Pumphrey in All Creatures Great and Small?

Nov 2, 2021

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

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All Creatures Great and Small has been airing on Channel 5 and season two included an emotional finale. James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph) finally proposed to Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) following a slow-burning courtship. The second season saw Patricia Hodge take over from the late Dame Dianna Rigg as Mrs Pumphrey, but who played the eccentric character originally?

What happened to the original Mrs Pumphrey in All Creatures Great and Small?

All Creatures was revived for Channel 5 back in 2020 and the series is based on the books by renowned vet Alf Wight.

Using the pen name James Herriot, he told stories about his working life in the Yorkshire Dales.

His books inspired a TV series that aired on the BBC from 1978 to 1990 and it featured characters based on his real-life friends and colleagues.

The eccentric dog owner Mrs Pumphrey was played by Margaretta Scott on the original series.

She was the owner of the pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo.

Scott was an English actress whose career lasted for more than 70 years.

She started acting as a child and made her debut on stage in a revival of Romeo and Juliet.

Her screen career began in 1934 when she appeared in The Private Life of Don Juan.

During the Second World War, she focussed her attention on theatre productions, touring the world.

The wife and mother-of-two died aged 93 in 2005.

The actress was 65 when she was cast as Mrs Pumphrey and it was one of her favourite roles.

Her daughter, Susan Wooldridge, opened up about the role which came out of the blue but would turn out to be very special to her.

In All Memories Great & Small by Oliver Crocker, she said: “She loved that part of the country. I think she had real Northern roots in her, and she just loved being up there. We still have ‘flop bot’ as a family expression.”

The star was married to composer John Wooldridge and their two children – Susan and Hugh – went on to follow in their footsteps.

Susan is also an actress and Hugh went on to become a theatre director.

In the Channel 5 adaptation, the eccentric client of James’ was played by Dame Diana Rigg.

The actress starred in the first season but died shortly after filming following a battle with cancer.

The creators questioned whether to recast her character or write her out of the series completely.

For the second season, they cast Patricia Hodge in the role, and she starred in a few of the six episodes.

Samuel West, who plays Siegfried in the series, opened up about welcoming actress Hodge to the family.

He said: “I think that’s been one of the happiest moments. Given that it was such a sad occasion, such a sad reason that Diana wasn’t with us, it’s been about as happy as it could sadly be.

“Patricia gives a really fine performance, I think. She’s not just posh. She’s got a little bit of new money in her – the character has in the books – she’s a little bit of a lonely older woman, but quite without self-pity.

“She’s got a lot of energy in life. I also know Patricia quite well and have directed her and worked with her a few times.

“I think we got very lucky. It’s a great piece of casting, and I think the baton has been handed on really well. It’s a fine continuation, but not in any sense a copy as a portrayal, and I think people will find just as much to enjoy as they did in Diana’s beautiful performance.”

All Creatures Great and Small is available to watch on My5

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