Tuesday, December 1, 2015


As I mentioned very early on in this blogs history, I discovered the literary Holmes in 1977 while working off the grid in an old logging camp in Maine. My days were spent winterizing the camp while the over-winter caretakers took a vacation before they had to spend the winter in the backwoods.
My evenings were spent setting a mouse trap line in the old building then having dinner and spending the evening reading around an old wood burning stove. I had no neighbors and the nearest town was a two mile boat ride and a twenty-six mile car drive away. I had no electricity, only gas light and wood heat. It was only just short of idyllic.
On my trips to town for supplies I usually restocked my portable library with new books to read.
On one such trip to town I decided to celebrate my English heritage and I bought a bakers dozen book of Sherlock Holmes stories.
I of course know who Sherlock Holmes once, but had yet to experience him in his original format.

About this same time, after I returned home to Missouri, I also started reading the books by James Herriot based on his time as a Yorkshire vet. I very much the same way, this was also a celebration of my English heritage.

My dads side of the family were Londoners. London was the home of Sherlock Holmes. And most of the time he, Holmes, seems out of place away from that great city, almost uncomfortable it could be said. London was home to Sherlock Holmes and later my dad.

My moms side of the family are firmly entrenched in Yorkshire.
Although James Herriot was brought up in Scotland (just like Doyle), his career led him to the Yorkshire Dales. An area that he came very much to love, and to raise his family, and to record his stories.

I was born in Yorkshire. Actually the town of Selby. Selby is about forty-one miles from James Herriots surgery in Thirsk.

When last in London, the husband of one of my cousins asked which I associate myself with more, London or Yorkshire. Without hesitation I said Yorkshire. I have always been a more country/small town kind of person. Preferring open areas to building lined canyons of the big city. That is not to say I don't enjoy sojourns to the city and all they have to offer. But at the end of the day I don't want anything taller than trees around my home.

Just like with the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the books of James Herriot have been adapted to television and film.

His books were first adapted in film as 'All Creatures Great and Small' and 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet'.  1975 and 1976 respectively.

In 1978 the long running TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small' started airing.

The hardest one of the series to come up with and watch is 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet'. Out of release for a very long time, and I don't believe ever released in DVD format, with only UK versions on video it has been very hard to find.

Well, finally, yesterday, I found it on YouTube. Most shows I have tried to watch on YouTube so far have been of very poor quality. Luckily with this film, that was not the case. It had however been placed on YouTube in three installments, but that did not turn out to be a problem. I have only the last installment to still watch.

So, what does this have to do with a blog about Sherlock Holmes you may ask, if you haven't already fallen asleep.

Well other than 'It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet' being a wonderful film based on James Herriots works, it does have a very solid Sherlockian Connection.

Colin Blakely plays James' mentor/partner in the film, and does a wonderful job.
Colin Blakely also plays Watson in 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes', 1970.

Colin Blakely died much to young at the age of 56 but not before giving us these two fun films.

Another connection of sorts; In the 1975 film adaptation of 'All Creatures Great and Small', Simon Ward played the young James Herriot. And we all know Simon's daughter, Sophie Ward, played Young Sherlock's love interest in 'Young Sherlock Holmes'. Simon also died much too young.

Colin Blakely and Simon Ward shared the screen in the film 'Young Winston'.

So, with two great series of books and two great series (plus some) of film and television I am quite able to celebrate both areas of my English heritage.


  1. Another fun stuff that Robert Hardy, who was brilliant as Charles Agustus Milverton in The Master Blackmailer, played James Herriot's boss, Siegfried Farnon in the series All Creatures Great and Small, which run between 1978 and 1990. I really, really love Herriot's stories.