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York
All Creatures Great And Small Has Been Voted Yorkshire’s Greatest Television Show Of All Time
In a major poll, conducted by Dalesman magazine to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of regional television in Yorkshire, viewers were asked to name their favourite show either set or made in the county.

More than 3,000 votes were cast in the poll, with the period BBC veterinary drama starring Christopher Timothy and Robert Hardy the runaway winner, taking 7.3% of the overall vote.

In second place was the world’s longest running sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine, with 5.6% and ITV’s Heartbeat came third, with 5%. Open All Hours was fourth, Last Tango in Halifax came fifth while Happy Valley took sixth place. Downton Abbey, A Touch of Frost, The Yorkshire Vet and Rising Damp made up the rest of the top ten.

In an interview with Dalesman, Actor Christopher Timothy, who played James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small, expressed delight that the drama had topped the poll, and said he had spoken to people who were considering a remake.

He said the long-running series remained much-loved thanks to the man he played on screen, Alf Wight, who was better known by his pen name James Herriot. The series endured, he said: “Because Alf Wight was first and foremost a great storyteller, bottom line, he told great stories. From all the interesting people Alf had spoken to from all over the country, particularly vets, Alf wrote their stories down. His stories are universal, they’re about real people in real situations, they are written of a time when it was seemingly gentler, easier and less violent. That is what it feels like, people in my generation still hold on to those values and are glad how the series was portrayed.

“Alf Wight was remarkable, and I keep in touch regularly with his children Rosie and Jim, I love them dearly and I owe them. I am very proud and honoured to be associated with the programme and delighted it was and still is so popular. It was one of the most magnificent opportunities any actor could be given.”

Asked about the possibility of a remake of All Creatures, he said: “The bottom line is that Rosie and Jim (Alf’s children) will protect Alf’s memory and the series until the end of their lives, and what is very important, is that if there is a remake, it has to be done properly. I have spoken to people who are thinking about it, but everyone including Rosie and Jim need to be satisfied that it will honour their dad. It has to be true to the original.”

Jim Wight, son of Alf, added: “I am delighted Dalesman readers have voted All Creatures Great and Small as their favourite TV programme. Wherever I go, especially when I’m doing after-dinner speeches etc, people always say to me what a most wonderful series it was, including the Americans. Everyone wants to know why they have not repeated it on TV. “

“On my father’s receipt of a £200 advance prior to publication of his first book in 1970, he said to me, “this is the pinnacle of my achievements!”

Dalesman carried out the poll to mark fifty years of regional television in Yorkshire. 1968 was a landmark year for TV in the county. It was the year that saw the birth of Yorkshire Television and its famous Leeds Studios, along with the first editions of rival regional news programmes Look North and Calendar.

Although the top two programmes on the list were both made for the BBC, rival network ITV broadcast 30 of the top 50 shows. Less than half that number (14) were screened on the BBC, three on Channel 4, two on Channel 5 and one on digital network All 4.

The complete top fifty greatest Yorkshire programmes is listed below:

50 How We Used to Live (1968–2002)

49 Farmhouse Kitchen (1971–1990)

48 Wuthering Heights (2009)

47 Cluff (1964–1965)

46 Duty Free (1984–1986)

45 Follyfoot (1971–1973)

44 Calendar (1968–)

43 Whicker’s World (1968–1983)

42 The Good Old Days (1953–1983)

41 The Dales (2011–2013)

40 Only When I Laugh (1979–1982)

39 At Home with the Braithwaites (2000–2003)

38 A Woman of Substance (1984)

37 Victoria (2016–)

36 To Walk Invisible (2016)

35 In Loving Memory (1968–1986)

34 First of the Summer Wine (1988–1989)

33 I Didn’t Know You Cared (1975–1979)

32 Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt (1974–1978)

31 Helicopter Heroes (2007–2014)

30 Where the Heart Is (1996–2006)

29 Still Open All Hours (2013–)

28 Band of Gold (1995–1997)

27 Countdown (1982–2009)

26 A Bit of a Do (1989)

25 The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes (2017–)

24 A Winter Too Many (1989)

23 May We Borrow Your Husband? (1986)

22 Educating Yorkshire (2013–2014)

21 Yorkshire: A Year in the Wild (2017)

20 The Dales Diary (1992–2008)

19 The Royal (2003–2011)

18 DCI Banks (2010–2016)

17 The Beiderbecke Trilogy (1985–1988)

16 Emmerdale Farm/Emmerdale (1972–)

15 Brideshead Revisited (1981)

14 BBC Look North (1968–)

13 Too Long a Winter (1972)

12 Dalziel and Pascoe (1996–2007)

11 The Darling Buds of May (1991–1993)

10 Rising Damp (1974–1978)

9 The Yorkshire Vet (2015–)

8 A Touch of Frost (1992–2010)

7 Downton Abbey (2010–2015)

6 Happy Valley (2014–)

5 Last Tango in Halifax (2012–2016)

4 Open All Hours (1973–1985)

3 Heartbeat (1992–2010)

2 Last of the Summer Wine (1973–2010)

1 All Creatures Great and Small (1978–1990)

All Creatures Great And Small Has Been Voted Yorkshire’s Greatest Television Show Of All Time, 27th July 2018, 16:22 PM