‘All Creatures Great And Small’ Becomes Highest-Rated Show For Viacom’s UK Net C5 In Nearly Five Years

British drama All Creatures Great and Small has become a ratings boon for Viacom’s UK network Channel 5 – becoming its highest rated show since February 2016.

This comes as the show, produced by Playground Entertainment, has already been picked up for a second season.

It scored 3.3M viewers, a share of 20.4%, which was the highest rated show for the Ben Frow-run channel since it launched the reboot of The X-Files, scoring 3.7M with a 16.3% share. It comfortably beat C5’s previous drama The Deceived, starring Normal People’s Paul Mescal, which got 2.1M viewers and a 12.3% share and also helped bring in a younger, and more affluent demographic.

The series, which will air on PBS in 2021, is a reboot of the classic James Herriot adaptation, following a country vet. The series sees Nicholas Ralph plays Herriot and Samuel West of The Crown stars as the eccentric veterinary surgeon Siegfried Farnon. Callum Woodhouse, Anna Madeley and Rachel Shenton also star.

Exec producer Colin Callender, who runs Playground Entertainment, told Deadline today that he was pleased that the show seems to have “captured the mood of the moment”.

“It has given audiences a bit of an escape from pandemic and politics, escaping to the great landscapes of the Yorkshire dales,” he said. “Even before COVID, I felt the audience wanted the sort of show that you could watch and revel in and not be beaten up by. There was something about All Creatures Great and Small with its themes of community and family, harking back to a kinder, gentler world, compared to the divided, complex and rather brutal one that we’re now living in.”

Former HBO exec Callender also praised the Channel 5 team of Frow and Seb Cardwell, saying that they were “very decisive”. “There was no bureaucracy, no layers of decision making, it was very easy to get a quick answer,” he said.

Writer Ben Vanstone is now working on season two of the show, which Frow himself has said he would like to run over multiple seasons. It is produced by Richard Burnell and exec produced by Callender, and Melissa Gallant for Playground, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) is lead director.

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