TV & Movies

All Creatures Great and Small star opens up on working with horse

All Creatures Great and Small: Sam West reflects on filming

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All Creatures Great and Small series three began back in September after leaving fans desperate to see how Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton) and James Herriot’s (Nicholas Ralph) wedding would play out. Along with the loveable characters, the large array of animals that the characters have to deal with returned and once again left the actors fighting for the spotlight. Samuel West, who plays Siegfried Farnon, recently opened up about his relationship with horses and praised the trainers for allowing him to build his confidence with them.

Samuel joined Alan Titchmarsh on his Sunday morning chatshow Love Your Weekend where he discussed the new series.

Speaking on a scene which recently aired, Alan asked: “With such moving episodes Sam, as was without over flattering you, your relationship with what was a very difficult horse.

“There was a great confidence, you are an extremely fine actor, but there was a great confidence in the way you dealt with that horse, you’re obviously at ease with horses.”

Sam admitted: “More than I was, we have an extraordinary horse master, Mark Atkinson and his son Ben, remarkable.”

Knowing who Sam was talking about, Alan exclaimed: “I saw him work at Chatsworth Fair, he is like a horse whisperer!”

Agreeing, Sam continued: “Absolutely, if there is a horse whisperer in the world it is Ben, and yeah they worked with me until I was absolutely confident.

“Playing the part when I started, Seigfriend returns from the first world war preferring most horses to most people.

“When I started I thought that was a bit eccentric and then I spent more time around horses and it began to seem completely reasonable.”

“You’re not a bad rider either,” Alan commented.

Blushing, Sam joked: “Improving, I think! But I love it! I love a job that makes you get better at something, as well, so I want to keep going on that.

“I’d fallen off a lot before. I think probably Hornblower was the last time, but yeah as I say Mark and Ben are so good.

“You know they’re also quite good at not damaging actors and insurance tells you exactly what you can and can’t do, and I had a wonderful stunt double for some of the harder stuff.

“It was a real pleasure and I hope that I… Because Siegfried is such, he loves being around horses, and he wants to ride, so I hope that continues in the next series.”

Samuel isn’t the only one on the team who has had issues with the animals on set, as Rachel Shenton previously detailed her issues with Clive the bull.

Speaking on the incident, she said at the BFI and Radio Times Television and Film Festival: “The scene with Clive was my second day on the job.

“I met him, and I was like, ‘Oh my god’. I remember calling my mum and saying his head was like the bonnet of my car, he was huge.

“Every time I would come out, deliver the line, and he would start to move, and it is just such a big operation because he is massive, so you would have to walk him all the way around the yard to get him back in position and reset.

“I watched Dean [animal handler] do it, and I thought to myself, ‘If this happens again, I am just going to do it so they won’t have to call cut they can keep rolling’, and it did – it happened again.

“So I thought, ‘Right’, pulled him round the yard and tied him up myself, and the adrenaline was pumping through my body so much that I almost forgot the next line.

“But managed it, and they never used it in the end either!” she exclaimed.

All Creatures Great and Small airs Thursday from 9pm on Channel 5.

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