ACGAS star Nicholas Ralph ‘struggled’ with Christmas special scene

All Creatures Great and Small: Shenton shares ‘insight’

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The festive period wouldn’t be the same without a visit to Darrowby with All Creatures Great and Small. The heartwarming Channel 5 drama set at the start of the Second World War, is expected to feature some emotional moments and challenges for the show’s characters. When talking to and other press, James Herriot actor Nicholas Ralph pointed to one upcoming scene in particular that he couldn’t handle but for a very different reason.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from All Creatures Great and Small.

During ACGAS’ Christmas special, Mrs Hall (played by Anna Madeley) puts on a last-minute festive party at Skeldale House.

She wasn’t planning on having anyone over until Gerald (Will Thorp) told her he was moving to Hull and Mrs Hall was eager to see him one last time before he left.

Many familiar faces in Darrowby are going to show up for the party, with whole families enjoying the housekeeper’s delights.

One unexpected form of entertainment will come from Helen Herriot’s (Rachel Shenton) dad Richard Alderson (Tony Pitts).

Somehow, Richard is roped into dressing up as Father Christmas so he can have a meet and greet with the children at Skeldale House.

In the upcoming episode, it is clear from his reaction that Richard is far from happy.

Laughing to herself, actress Anna Madeley described actor Tony Pitts as “the most delightful, grumpy Santa”.

Ralph went on to explain how grateful he was for not being filmed during this particular scene.

He said: “He [Pitts] is hilarious as Santa Claus. There have been so many moments on set where I’ve found it really difficult to not break into laughter and I’ve always managed.

“But with Santa, I really, really struggled, it was so good.

“Thankfully, I was off camera and around the corner, I wasn’t directly involved, because I was giggling to myself, quietly into my hand.”

Among the children that Richard’s Santa does meet on the night is a special guest of the Skeldale residents.

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James, Helen and the rest of the gang open up their home to a young Jewish evacuee called Eva (Ella Bernstein).

With her parents still in the city, she is sent to live in Darrowby, sheltered from the dangers of the Second World War.

It is during her time at Skeldale House that she and her temporary carers get to know all about one another’s customs at Christmas.

There is a far more intense storyline in this special as well, involving Siegfried (Samuel West) and Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse).

The description reads: “Siegfried is asked to pay a visit to an injured River just before a big race and makes an important discovery which Sebright Saunders uses as leverage to get River back on the racetrack.

“Siegfried risks compromising himself and everything he stands for, but he’s determined to do it and Tristan is his greatest obstacle.”

But will the brothers come to see eye-to-eye before Christmas Day is over?

All Creatures Great and Small’s Christmas special airs on Friday, December 23, at 9pm on Channel 5.

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