It's official: We'll once again be headed back to the picturesque Yorkshire Dales this winter for a brand new season of All Creatures Great and Small. This news is unlikely to come as a surprise to most viewers, who have essentially adopted the popular period drama as their annual winter viewing since it first arrived on PBS in the middle of that first pandemic winter back in 2021. But it's still nice to have the news that Season 4 will premiere in January confirmed, and there's certainly plenty to look forward to in the new season.
According to Masterpiece, Season 4 will begin in the springtime of 1940, and change is on the horizon for everyone at Skeldale House. James and Helen are considering whether it's the right time to start a family, given that he might be called up to serve in the Royal Air Force at any moment. Tristan's absence has left a hole behind, and Siegfried tries his best to hold both their household and himself together as he braves a world without his brother. A genuine friendship takes hold between Mrs. Hall and Helen as they look to the future and the arrival of new trainee veterinary student Richard Carmody causes complications in the house.
Though viewers knew the looming threat of World War II was in the distance for much of the series' previous time on air, Season 4 is the first in which see what that means for the day-to-day lives of the people of Yorkshire. With Tristan gone and the threat of James leaving hanging over everyone's heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, how will the residents of Skeldale House adapt? Will they turn to one another or fall apart on their own?
The threat of James going off to war is a very real one for his new wife Helen. After all, the pair only just got married last season and spent most of that time trying to integrate their lives --- both as newlyweds and as part of the hectic world of Skeldale House. Season 3 concluded with some tension between the pair, given how eager James seems to join the war effort, and Tristan's departure will likely make things even more complicated on that score. His absence will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on Siegfried, who has spent so much of his own life trying to direct and shape his brother's, and who must now adjust to a new normal in which he can't even be sure Tristan is safe.
The bulk of the series' regular cast is returning for Season 4, including Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton, Samuel West, Anna Madeley, Patricia Hodge, and Derek the Dog, who plays everyone's favorite good boy Tricki Woo. Interestingly, Callum Woodhouse is not listed among Season 4's returning cast, but since Tristan is currently busy serving in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the actor may be taking some portion of the season off. (Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll come home for Christmas?)
Season 4 is also adding a pair of new faces to the series' cast: Neve McIntosh (Shetland) as highly efficient bookkeeper Miss Harbottle and James Anthony-Rose (Slow Horses) as the aforementioned undergraduate vet student Richard Carmody.
Here is the official synopsis for All Creatures Season 4:
Based on the cherished collection of stories by best-selling author James Herriot, the critically acclaimed adaptation returns to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales for a fourth season of timeless and heart-warming stories, picking up in 1940 as Churchill takes office and Europe is under serious threat. Season 4 sees James happily married to Helen; however, with Tristan away serving in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Siegfried and James bring in some extra hands to help around the practice. They include highly efficient bookkeeper Miss Harbottle and vet student Richard Carmody who arrives at Skeldale as part of his placement under the guidance of James.
“I can’t wait for our Masterpiece audience to see this new season of All Creatures Great and Small," Masterpiece Executive Producer Susanne Simpson said in a statement when initial details of the new season were announced "It continues to be full of the warmth and humor that has made it one of our most successful series ever.”
Jamie Crichton (Grantchester) takes over as lead writer from series creator Ben Vanstone (A Gentleman in Moscow), alongside writing team Maxine Alderton (Doctor Who) and Helen Raynor (Call the Midwife). Vanstone did return to writing duties in order pen this year's Christmas special, however.
All Creatures Great and Small Season 4 will premiere on Sunday, January 7, 2024, at 9 pm ET on PBS' Masterpiece, immediately following the new season of Miss Scarlet and the Duke. Seasons 1-3 are currently available to stream with PBS Passport for those who need to catch up (or do a rewatch!) before then.