BBC show represents farm life well

Netflix lied to me but it hasn’t discouraged me from their product yet.

On closer examination of the way they’ve been billing me on the credit card number I have on file with them, it’s apparent their former CEO wasn’t shooting me straight in the letter he sent me telling me he was shooting me straight and that they weren’t going to increase my rate after all.

Despite the fact that the service has more than doubled in price I’m using their streaming service every night for programming most people might think a bit strange. I’m 22 episodes into the BBC series “All Creatures Great and Small.”

Back in the 1980s my wife and I got on a schedule where we watched the show every Sunday evening. We were newlyweds and it was like a date for us. The VCR eventually made things a little more flexible but we liked watching it when it came on.

The show was based on the books by James Herriot, an English veterinarian who came to work for irascible Siegfried Farnon in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside of the 1940s and 1950s.

Somewhere I have the complete set of books by Herriot whose real name was Alf Wight. The books were well written and take you back to the place and time complete with tight-fisted and superstitious farmers and their cold, unlit dairy barns and blustery lambing pastures. The television series does a great job of portraying the hardships as well and the characters are developed to the point where after you’ve watched, say 22 episodes you know what the character is thinking even when there’s no dialog.

Many of the farm families were just scraping by and they usually avoided calling the vet until the problem had gotten out of hand. The show bravely shows what happens when they’re called too late with animals needlessly lost and sometimes farms in the family for generations threatened by disease.

Early in the series Herriot bemoans the lack of treatments available to him for so many problems such as hoof-and-mouth disease but as the years go on he celebrates scientific breakthroughs that make his job more rewarding.

With the intertwining of Siegfried’s decidedly unwork-brittle younger brother Tristan who much prefers a pint at the Drovers Arms to mucking about in a cow lot with Herriot’s passion for his work and his new wife Helen the situational comedy isn’t bad though it is quite British.

Netflix description of the series calls it a dramedy because it mixes comedy with life lessons and it continues the storyline each week much like a soap opera.

I don’t think that James Herriot or Alf Wight could have dreamed that someday a guy in New Mexico, USA, would curl up in his warm bed every night and turn on his iPad to wirelessly download an episode from his life patching up prize retrievers and pulling stubborn calves on the misty hillsides of the English Dales.

It may be equally mystifying when someone round here listens as I break into a thick English brogue when reliving Mr. ‘Erriot’s latest adventure.