All Creatures Great & Small began filming Season 4 in March 2023, but spoilers about the new season have been held tightly under wraps. Viewers knew Season 3 ended with Tristan heading off to war and James chomping at the bit to join him. While most could guess from history how things would play out in the larger world in 1940, it remained a mystery how things would go at Skeldale House, how Seigfried and James would get on without Tristan, and how Helen might cope, should James be called up to also join the veterinary service at the front.
However, with Masterpiece's announcement of Season 4 details as filming continues in Yorkshire, we have a better idea of what's in store for the series's fourth installment and what new faces might be seen around the practice. The good news is that Seigfried will get help, as Neve McIntosh (Shetland) joins the cast as highly efficient bookkeeper Miss Harbottle. Also joining the series for Season 4: James Anthony-Rose (Slow Horses) as the studious undergraduate vet student Richard Carmody, who arrives at Skeldale to help cover during Tristan's absence.
Those who have watched the original All Creatures Great and Small's first season may remember Miss Harbottle, played by the late Australian actor Madge Ryan (A Clockwork Orange); she was the secretary who Seigfried hired in the early going and whom he drove to quit from his absolute refusal to cooperate in keeping the bills paid or the paperwork in order. As for Richard Carmoody, he was also introduced in Season 1 of the 1970s adaptation. Initially played by Christopher Brown (The Remains of the Day), the character appeared as one of Tristan's rivals and a victim of the younger Farnon's penchant for pranks.
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.
Season 4 sees the return of most of the core cast: Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton, Samuel West, and Anna Madeley return as the residents of Skeledale. Notably, Callum Woodhouse, whose character Tristan is off at war, may take the whole season off, as he is not listed as part of the Season 4 lineup. However, Patricia Hodge and Derek the Dog return as Mrs. Pumphrey and her adored Tricki-Woo. And most of the ensemble of farmers and townsfolk return, including Tony Pitts, Imogen Clawson, Paul Copley, Cleo Sylvestre, James Bolam, Will Thorp, and Sam Retford.
Jamie Crichton (Grantchester) will take over as lead writer from series creator Ben Vanstone (A Gentleman in Moscow), though the latter is still penning the Christmas special. Crichton's writing team over the seven-episode season includes Maxine Alderton (Doctor Who) and Helen Raynor (Call the Midwife). Director Andy Hay (Jamestown) is lead director, helming Episodes 1 and 2; Stewart Svaasand (Death in Paradise) helms Episodes 3, 4, and 6, while Jordan Hogg (Ralph and Katie) will direct Episode 5 and the Christmas Special.
All Creatures Great & Small Season 4 debuts on Channel 5 in the fall of 2023 and follows on PBS in early 2024, though it is unknown if the new season will debut on the first Sunday (January 7) or the second (January 14) at 9 p.m. ET. Best to watch this space for an announcement, and as always, check your local listings.