All Creatures Great and Small Character Review: Siegfried Farnon

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show All Creatures Great and Small. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Every boss has their own unique eccentricities and personality. How their employees get along or don’t get along with said boss comes down to chemistry and understanding one another.

In the PBS/Masterpiece television series, All Creatures Great and Small (based on the book series of the same name), Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West) is the owner and proprietor of a veterinary practice in Yorkshire in the 1930s. Though he does well with the animals, humans are another story.

Siegfried is not shy about sharing his opinion, imperious, and quick to judge others. When James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) arrives at his doorstep, applying for an assistant position, Siegfried is quick to dismiss James. But Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) convinces him to give James another chance.

Though he may seem like he is a little out there, Siegfried has a good heart. He cares deeply about his patients and loathes animal abuse of any sort. He does eventually come to respect James, but it takes some time. He also is a widower who has been taking care of his wild younger brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse).

Siegfried wants his brother to succeed but doesn’t quite trust that he will. He even goes so far as to smudge Tristan’s grades, which does not go over well. After that blows over, he reveals to his brother that he was jealous of the easy relationship Tristan had with their late father.

In the romantic arena, he has not been focused on his work since his wife died. There was the possibility of a relationship with divorcee Diana Brompton (Dorothy Atkinson), but it fizzled out before it had the chance to begin. There is also a spark of something with Mrs. Hall, but it has yet to develop into anything worth talking about.

To sum it up: Siegfried is a character, to say the least. He is a challenge to both the reader and the people around him. He pushes buttons as only he can. But he is also a good man with a good heart who cares deeply for the people who care for him.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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All Creatures Great and Small Character Review: Mrs. Hall

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show All Creatures Great and Small. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

For most of human history, women have been contained the roles of wives, mothers, and housekeepers. That does not mean, however, that within their own homes, they are powerless.

In the PBS/Masterpiece television series, All Creatures Great and Small (based on the book series of the same name) Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley), whose first name we later learn is Audrey, has been the housekeeper for Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West) for a number of years. In addition to cooking and housework, she helps him to run his veterinary practice.

Mrs. Hall is a widow whose son has maintained a distant relationship with his mother. Though she is a figurative mother to Siegfried’s younger brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) and assistant Vet James Herriot Nicholas Ralph), she would prefer to be in her real son’s life. Balancing her out is Siegfried, who is the figurative father in the home, creating a unique chosen family.

She is calm, easygoing, and in control, while Siegfried is passionate, a little out there and a force of nature. Mrs. Hall is the one who convinces her boss (who at this point is more her friend/confidante) to give James a chance after he nearly botches his interview.

Though she has been married previously, that does not mean that romance is out of the question. A local man takes an interest in her. There is also a spark of something with Siegfried. But with World War II on the horizon, a new love may be the last thing on her mind.

To sum it up: Mrs. Hall is the glue of that household. Without her, the men who reside there would be hungry, dirty, smelly, and not able to do their jobs properly. Though she dwells within the traditional realm, her strength, warmth, and cool head makes her more than what she seems to be.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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