Christmas on the BBC

Festive programming across the BBC this Christmas

Christmas on BBC Television: BBC One

A selection of television highlights on BBC One for the festive season.

Absolutely Fabulous Ep 1/3


Twenty years after Eddy, Patsy, Saffy, Bubble and Mother first staggered onto BBC screens, Absolutely Fabulous is back! In the first of three new episodes written by and starring Jennifer Saunders, with Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks and June Whitfield, there's an awful lot of catching up to do.

First of all there’s a homecoming for one of them who’s been ‘away’ for quite some time. She arrives at the Monsoon household with a new - slightly scary - best friend. Her presence could be either a blessing or a disaster, raising questions of identity that could even involve a certain person owning up to her real age ... if she can remember it.

Warning: A Royal Wedding is re-enacted by Bubble.


Absolutely Fabulous Ep 2/3


Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley return in the second of three brand new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous.

Edina has some crucial questions to answer, including: Has she still got it? And could a new client destroy her relationship with Saffy or make it stronger?

With fewer and fewer clients and a daughter who despises her, it’s business as usual but, when Eddy and Patsy meet a famous French film star whom Saffy hugely admires, Eddy hopes that the job of taking her on as a client could bring a new-found respect, and some much-needed income.

The problem is that her client’s talents aren’t everything they seem to be...

Warning: Edina Monsoon sings.


BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2011

Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey present the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year, live from MediaCityUK, Salford.

This star-studded event features some of the greatest names in world sport, and climaxes with the presentation of the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy - an award chosen by viewers live on the night from a shortlist of 10 contenders.

This year promises to be a close contest with some outstanding sporting performances making for a number of strong contenders for the main award. The 2010 winner was jockey AP McCoy.

Other awards on the night include a very special Lifetime Achievement Award, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Overseas Sports Personality, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Sports Unsung Hero and the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

The show will also re-live the highs and lows of the big sporting moments of the year, including the Rugby World Cup, the World Athletics Championships, the Ashes, the Tour de France and gripping F1, football and golf seasons.

This eagerly anticipated event attracts the top names in sport - alongside the nominees will be many former winners, plus some of the world's greatest Olympians as we begin the countdown to next year's Games in London.


The Borrowers

An action packed adventure film for all the family this Christmas can be seen on BBC One.

Arrietty Clock is a head-strong teenage Borrower who is desperate to explore life outside her family home hidden under the floorboards. Her parents, Pod and Homily Clock, are terrified of the world of the ‘Human Beans’ and are fiercely protective of their daughter.

Arrietty sneaks upstairs one night and befriends James, a lonely boy who lives above her in the house with his father, Robert Millman. This leads to a world of trouble when the Borrowers’ home is discovered by James’s formidable grandmother, and they are forced to venture into the big wide world…

Grandma Driver knows the ‘little people’ exist; she’s always known and is determined to hunt them out of her house. Professor Mildeye also knows of the existence of the ‘little people’. Determined to restore his reputation and resurrect his academic career, he’ll go to any lengths to capture them and reveal them to the world.

Spiller, a leather jacketed tearaway, takes quite a shine to Arrietty. She’s not quite sure what to make of this, but when her parents are captured by the evil Professor Mildeye, she is forced to enlist both Spiller’s and 'human bean' James’s help. They go on a series of daring adventures to try and outsmart Mildeye and return the Clock family to their former home in time for Christmas.

Arrietty Clock is played by Aisling Loftus, Pod Clock by Christopher Eccleston, Homily Clock by Sharon Horgan, James by Charles Hiscock, Robert Millman by Shaun Dooley, Granny Driver by Victoria Wood, Professor Mildeye by Stephen Fry and Spiller by Robert Sheehan.

The Borrowers is simulcast on the BBC One HD channel available through Freesat channel 108, Freeview channel 50, Sky channel 143 and Virgin Media channel 108.


The Christmas Big Sing

Aled Jones presents the Songs of Praise festive sing-a-long extravaganza from London’s magnificent Royal Albert Hall.

An audience of 5,000 come together to sing carols and festive songs including Joy to the World, The Zither Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Ding Dong Merrily on High and Jingle Bells.

Singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh talks to Aled about what Christmas means to him before performing On a Christmas Night and his Christmas classic A Spaceman Came Travelling. The Junior School Choir of the Year, Ysgol Pen Barras from Denbighshire, perform the beautiful carol Little Donkey and composer Howard Blake makes an appearance to share his memories of working with Raymond Briggs on The Snowman before Aled is joined by the school choir to perform Walking in the Air.


Doctor Who Christmas Special

It’s Christmas Eve, 1938, when Madge Arwell comes to the aid of an injured Spaceman Angel as she cycles home, in this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Matt Smith as the Doctor.

He promises to repay her kindness – all she has to do is make a wish.

Three years later, a devastated Madge escapes war-torn London with her two children for a dilapidated house in Dorset. She is crippled with grief at the news her husband has been lost over the channel, but determined to give Lily and Cyril the best Christmas ever.

The Arwells are surprised to be greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world. Here, Madge will learn how to be braver than she ever thought possible. And that wishes can come true...

Madge Arwell is played by Claire Skinner, Lily Arwell by Holly Earl and Cyril Arwell by Maurice Cole.




Yusef’s announcement that he is taking Zainab and Kamil to Pakistan today throws Zainab’s world upside down. With Yusef controlling her every move, Zainab is forced to take drastic measures but her actions have huge consequences.

It’s the day of Ian and Mandy’s wedding and while Ian is getting everything ready for his big day, Mandy is having doubts about their future. Will Mandy go through with the wedding?

Zainab fears for her son when Yusef refuses to tell her where Kamil is. Scared about what Yusef will do, Zainab is forced to go along with his lies. Meanwhile, Masood is enraged that Zainab has allowed Kamil to be with someone else and he takes matters into his own hands.

With Bianca due home tomorrow, Ricky panics that Mandy may reveal all about the night they spent together and he manipulates Ian into taking her away.

Elsewhere, things are still strained between Kat and Alfie but they put on a united front to Jean. However, Jean seems to be showing signs that all is not well but Kat refuses to see them, adamant that she will look after her.

Zainab is at her wits’ end as Yusef fails to reunite her with her son but she continues to go along with his actions in order to get Kamil home safely. Meanwhile, Masood finally finds out about Zainab’s plight and he forces her to tell him exactly what is going on. However, Masood is shocked when he inadvertently sees evidence of Yusef’s abuse and he vows to get his son home.

Life at The Vic is strained and Jean is clearly not coping. Kat is determined to look after Jean but when she wanders off with Shenice, they all panic and set off in search for them. Realising that something has to change for the safety of his family, Alfie secretly makes a phone call.

Meanwhile, Ricky receives some bad news about Bianca’s release, will Bianca make it home for Christmas?

Just when Zainab thinks she is going to be reunited with her son, Yusef wickedly tells her that he cannot be manipulated. However, Masood is determined not to give up but when he finds out that Yusef has taken Zainab to get Kamil, he races against time to save his family.

Alfie is deeply concerned when he finds Jean still at The Vic. Kat insists that she can look after her but Alfie confronts Kat, telling her that she is using Jean as a distraction from their real problems.

Elsewhere, Bianca returns home but Ricky is feeling guilty about the night he spent with Mandy and thinks he should admit the truth.

Masood and Zainab try to foil Yusef’s plan to go to Pakistan, but has Yusef cottoned on to their scheming?

Phil is determined to catch his stalker and stages a stake-out but will his stalker fall into the trap?

Christian arrives back on the Square but how will he react when he react when he learns of Syed and Amira’s plans?

Bianca and Kat join forces to throw a Christmas Eve party for families but will Janine spoil the Christmas cheer?

As Masood frantically searches for Kamil, Zainab finally stands up to Yusef, but what consequences will this have for her family and the rest of the Square?

Denise opens a mysterious present on Christmas Day revealing a shocking a secret about one of the residents in Walford.

Everyone comes together for Christmas dinner at the Mitchells's but Shirley is put off her food when she finds out some shocking news about Phil’s stalker.

Alfie overhears Jean and Kat having a heart-to-heart but will it reveal some shocking home truths?

As evil Yusef seeks his revenge on Zainab and Masood, his actions erupt in explosive consequences, putting the entire Square in danger.

It’s the morning after the night before and the residents of Albert Square are all still trying to comprehend the events of Christmas night and the damage that’s been done.

Shirley confronts Phil’s stalker, but with all the other commotion happening on the Square, how long will it take her to reveal their identity to Phil?

Derek finds himself an unexpected new apprentice in Liam, but how will Pat react when she see’s the two of them working together in the Square?

Buckling under his guilt, Patrick comes clean to Denise and Kim, but how will they react when they find out the truth?

Following her latest turn, Pat is in hospital awaiting the results of more tests but, behind the doctors' backs, she checks herself out of the ward. What will it take for her to face up to the reality of her situation?

Bianca challenges Janine over her tormenting Pat over the loan she took out but her outburst leaves the family scrambling for cash when Janine moves up the repayment deadline.

Kat and Alfie throw a first birthday party for Tommy but, while Jean makes enough food to feed all of Walford, will the celebrations bring the couple closer together?

With the added pressure of meeting Janine’s new repayment deadline, Ricky, Bianca, Carol and the children all work together to find the money in time, with each making some personal sacrifices.

Michael and Janine head to The Vic for Tommy’s first birthday together, however when Janine storms out halfway through the celebrations, he’s confused. What has Janine got to hide?

Zainab is played by Nina Wadia, Yusef by Ace Bhatti, Ian by Adam Woodyatt, Mandy by Nicola Stapleton, Pat by Pam St Clement, Masood by Nitin Ganatra, Jean by Gillian Wright, Max by Jake Wood, Kat by Jessie Wallace, Ricky by Sid Owen, Bianca by Patsy Palmer, Alfie by Shane Richie, Shenice by Lily Harvey, Phil by Steve McFadden, Christian by Johnny Partridge, Syed by Marc Elliot, Amira by Preeya Kalidas, Janine by Charlie Brooks, Tanya by Jo Joyner, Derek by Jamie Foreman, Denise by Diane Parish, Shirley by Linda Henry, Liam by James Forde, Patrick by Rudolph Walker, Kim by Tameka Empson, Carol by Linda Coulson and Michael by Steve John Shepherd.


Equestrian: Olympia – Puissance

Clare Balding presents highlights from last night’s Puissance at the London International Horse Show.

The Puissance – best described as the equestrian high-jump – is always one of the star attractions at the Olympia show. Last year’s contest was won by Englishman Ben Maher, who was the only rider to clear the wall after it was raised to 7ft 3.

Commentary comes from Michael Tucker and Andy Austin.


Fern Britton Meets ... Brian Blessed

In the last of the series Fern Britton has an encounter with the owner of one of Britain’s loudest and most recognisable voices - Brian Blessed.

Brian has often played larger than life characters, from Fancy Smith in Z Cars to Vultan in Flash Gordon. But Fern discovers a quieter side to Brian - he is fascinated by religion and, in particular, Jesus.

As well as talking about his varied acting career, Brian movingly describes his teenage breakdown and a life-long love of adventure that has taken him up Everest three times. Friends Stephen Fry and Virginia McKenna pay tribute to one of our most flamboyant performers.


Frozen Planet Christmas Special

The Frozen Planet Christmas Special brings together the very best highlights of the series, taking viewers on a spectacular journey through the entire polar year - from the depths of winter to the melting world of the polar summer.

Following our favourite stars, we see their lives transformed as the sun returns and the ice retreats.

In the South, spring starts with the comical stone-stealing Adélie penguin males. In summer the females return and the parents struggle to raise their chicks before the big freeze of autumn.

In the North, tiny polar bear cubs begin their lives under the snow, while the male faces the harshest winter on Earth. Will all three cubs survive as the ice melts beneath their feet?

These stories, together with unforgettable moments from Frozen Planet’s other characters, play out against breathtaking polar scenery in this one-hour special.


Great Expectations

Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Douglas Booth star in Sarah Phelps’s bold new adaptation of Great Expectations, which forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Charles Dickens as we approach the bicentenary of his birth, in 2012.

On a cold winter’s day, an 11-year-old orphan, Pip, runs into an escaped convict on the marshes near his home. The convict, Magwitch, orders the boy to steal a file from his Uncle Joe’s forge to remove his shackles. The terrified Pip returns with the file and some food – and this innocent act of kindness is set to have far-reaching consequences for them both.

Meanwhile, Miss Havisham, the reclusive owner of grand Satis House, has requested a boy be sent to her; Pip is to be a playmate to her adopted daughter, Estella. Miss Havisham encourages Pip to believe that he might be destined for a future beyond the marshes, a future linked to that of beautiful Estella.

Pip’s hopes are dashed, though, when Miss Havisham pays for him to be apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith; it seems his dreams of greater things were unfounded. At first Pip struggles to come to terms with a life in the forge but, eventually, he accepts this as his fate. However, everything changes when a lawyer from London, Jaggers, makes a surprise visit. He informs the now adult Pip that he is a young man of great expectations and will inherit a fortune when he turns 21. There is one condition. Pip must not enquire into the identity of his benefactor; this will remain secret until that person chooses to reveal themselves.

In the meantime Jaggers is his guardian. Pip sets out for London leaving all he knows behind to pursue his new life, with his heart set on seeing Estella again.

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick and Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley.


Great Expectations Ep 2/3

Pip works hard to become a gentleman under Herbert Pocket’s instruction, and his expensive tastes soon see him racking up debts.

Summoned by Jaggers to account for himself and his debts, he meets Jaggers's taciturn maid, Molly, and Bentley Drummle, another of Jaggers’s wards. Drummle is confident, charming and a baronet. Pip is keen to be accepted into his circle and his spending spirals further out of control.

Pip is delighted when Miss Havisham asks him to visit her at Satis House, keen to see his transformation first-hand. Pip tells Herbert that he intends to marry Estella as soon as he reaches his majority; Herbert warns him of Miss Havisham’s history, but Pip is determined.

Back in London, Pip’s thrown to see Drummle flirting with Estella, but he’s reassured by Estella that Drummle will get no joy from her.

As Pip sleeps after a night of celebration with Herbert, he is woken from his fireside armchair by an intruder. It’s Magwitch, the convict from the marshes. He has a bag of dirty money. Magwitch is Pip’s secret benefactor…

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick and Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley.


Great Expectations Ep 3/3

Pip is horrified by Magwitch’s arrival and the revelation that his fortune comes not from Miss Havisham, but from a convict, in the final episode of Sarah Phelp’s bold adaptation.

Pip races to Satis House, only to learn that Estella is engaged to Bentley Drummle, who delights in Pip’s humiliation. Pip realises that Miss Havisham led him to think she was his benefactor, and encouraged his love for Estella out of cruelty – fuelled by bitterness.

Wemmick warns Pip that rumours have been circulating of Magwitch’s return from Australia..the penalty for returning as a transported convict is hanging. Now Pip must help Magwitch escape.

Pip decides he can never go home and will accompany Magwitch on his escape. But as Pip and Magwitch make their escape down the Thames, just as they reach the meeting point for the steamer Compeyson looms out of the fog, in a boat full of soldiers. He has been lying in wait for them…

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick, Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley and Susan Lynch as Molly.


The Gruffalo's Child

From the producers of the hugely successful The Gruffalo, which premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2009, this beautiful half-hour animated companion film is based on The Gruffalo’s Child, written by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

One wild and windy night, the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warnings and bravely tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox, but there's no sign of the fabled Mouse. He doesn't really exist ... or does he?

The Gruffalo's Child features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, Shirley Henderson, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.


Lost Christmas

Starring Eddie Izzard, with Jason Flemyng, Geoffrey Palmer and Larry Mills, this CBBC family drama is an urban fairytale from the backstreets of Manchester.

It is Christmas Eve and everyone is getting ready for the big day; everyone that is, except for Anthony, a strange, enigmatic being who wakes up in the street, not knowing where he is or what he’s here to do. But Anthony has a remarkable ability: the power to find the lost.

Is Anthony’s ability real, or just an illusion?


Midnight Mass

BBC One heralds in the start of Christmas Day with Midnight Mass live from a candlelit St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark.

The service will be led by the Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith, and will include the traditional blessing of the crib. Southwark has a vibrant and diverse population and the words and music will reflect the international flavour of the congregation.

Carols sung will include: Unto Us Is A Born Son, and O Come All Ye Faithful, the words of which were first translated by a member of the Cathedral’s clergy.


Merlin Ep 12/13

With Morgana at the head of a vast Southron army, a deadly net is closing in around Camelot, as the drama continues.

When the sorceress strikes, the ferocity of her attack forces everyone to run for their lives - even Arthur. But Morgana won't let him escape that easily. And so begins a chilling hunt.

Can Merlin save the King from Morgana's clutches? Or has Arthur's luck finally run out?

Colin Morgan plays Merlin with Bradley James as Arthur, Katie McGrath as Morgana, Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Angel Coulby as Gwen, Tom Hopper as Sir Percival, Eoin Macken as Sir Gwaine, Adetomiwa Edun as Sir Elyan and Rupert Young as Sir Leon.

The guest cast for this episode are Terence Maynard, who plays Helios, Ben Daniels, who plays Tristan and Miranda Raison, who plays Isolde.


Merlin Ep 13/13

Morgana and Helios have successfully captured Camelot, and Merlin and Arthur are outlaws on the run, in the last episode in this series of Merlin.

Trapped in Ealdor with a ruthless army closing in, their situation becomes desperate. Arthur must take control before Camelot is lost forever...

But faced with Agravaine's betrayal and the strength of Morgana's force, the young King has lost his conviction.

Only Merlin can restore his faith, and only an extraordinary act can prove to the King that he was born to rule.

Will the young warlock convince Arthur before his dreams of Albion fall to pieces?

Colin Morgan plays Merlin with Bradley James as Arthur. Katie McGrath as Morgana, Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Angel Coulby as Gwen, Tom Hopper as Sir Percival, Eoin Macken as Sir Gwaine, Adetomiwa Edun as Sir Elyan, Rupert Young as Sir Leon.

The guest cast includes Terence Maynard as Helios, Ben Daniels as Tristan and Miranda Raison as Isolde.


Midnight Mass

BBC One heralds in the start of Christmas Day with Midnight Mass live from a candlelit St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark.

The service will be led by the Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith, and will include the traditional blessing of the crib. Southwark has a vibrant and diverse population and the words and music will reflect the international flavour of the congregation.

Carols sung will include: Unto Us Is A Born Son, and O Come All Ye Faithful, the words of which were first translated by a member of the Cathedral’s clergy.


Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special:  Mammy's Christmas Ep 1/7

Smash hit comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys explodes back onto BBC One this Christmas with a wonderfully heartwarming and uproarious Christmas Special episode, written by and starring Brendan O’Carroll as misbehaving matriarch Agnes Brown.  

It’s Christmas and all across Ireland Mothers are looking forward to their loved ones returning home.  With son Trevor coming back from the missions abroad for the first time in four years, Agnes Brown is determined to make this Christmas a truly special celebration, with her whole family present at last.

But, as with the Brown household nothing is straightforward. Son, Dermot, recently married to Maria, is under pressure to spend Christmas with his in-laws, the posh Nicholsons.  Maria’s mum Hilliary is doing her best to belittle Agnes’s efforts to decorate the Brown family home. And neighbour Winnie needs help finding a job. Dermot’s dodgy mate Buster has his own problems delivering the turkey…  And to cap it all, there’s no sign of any snow.


Strictly Come Dancing – Final


The wait is finally over and the glitterball trophy is clearly in sight, as Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly bring the ultimate dance showdown - the Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final, live from Blackpool’s glittering Tower Ballroom.

After sashaying their way past the competition over the past 11 weeks, the final dancing duos take the floor by storm, performing a number of show-stopping routines, full of lifts, tricks and surprises.

As the tension builds in this final show, the legendary venue plays host to a ballroom and Latin extravaganza, as the remaining couples battle to be crowned the ultimate dancing champion of 2011.

Who has saved their best dance for last and who will outshine the rest with their spectacular showdance? With all the surprises and excitement so far in the competition it could be any of the fantastic contestants' night.

As always, the fearsome foursome are on hand and will be offering their critique but for this week only, the all-important votes from the viewers at home will determine the winner. Find out in the Results Show, which can be seen on the same night as the final, which couple has won the public’s hearts to lift the glitterball trophy.

Strictly Come Dancing is simulcast on the BBC One HD channel.


Strictly Come Dancing – Results


Sir Bruce Forsyth, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman present the eagerly awaited Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final Results Show, live from Blackpool’s glittering Tower Ballroom.

Having performed an array of Latin and Ballroom routines earlier this evening, the finalists have pulled out all the stops with a number of show-stopping routines, full of lifts and tricks. After sweating it out for the last time on the dancefloor, they will now find out their fate and discover who will foxtrot out of the ballroom with the esteemed glitterball trophy.

Viewers can now find out who brought an extra sparkle to their dances and which couple, in the public’s view, shone through against the others. The wait for the Strictly Come Dancing Champion 2011 is finally over!

Strictly Come Dancing is simulcast on the BBC One HD channel.


Young Herriot Ep 1/3

The adventures of James Herriot in his early years as a student vet at Glasgow Veterinary College can be seen on BBC One this Christmas, in a series inspired by the character and early works of James Herriot.

It’s Thirties Glasgow and James Herriot, an idealistic young man, arrives to study at the city’s Vet College. He will go on to become Britain’s best-known and best-loved vet, but Herriot’s beginnings in the profession were not auspicious. This is the story of the making of the man, a story of a young man with hope in his heart, not much money in his pocket and the desire to do good.

His first day in Glasgow is miserable. He falls foul of his professors, he antagonises local tradesmen, and he is left homeless after his would-be landlady does a runner with his rent.

His luckless introduction to veterinary medicine provides some amusement for two older students. Whirly Tyson is one of only two women at the Vet College, while Rob McAloon is a playboy and perennial student. They see something in Herriot that others don’t and take him under their wing. He moves in with them and Whirly’s glamorous aunt, whose intentions towards Young James may not be as honourable as he would like.

James meanwhile acquires his first patient; an ailing dray horse that he spots being mistreated by a local haulier. James insists the horse needs rest, but the man needs the horse to work or he won’t be able to support his small son. With the boy facing the prospect of the poor house, young Herriot has to make some crucial decisions.


Young Herriot Ep 2/3

On his first field trip James finds himself in the middle of what he believes is a potentially deadly cattle epidemic that threatens a local farm. The farmer and his future son-in-law are split over what to do until James intervenes. When his youth and inexperience get the better of him he makes a diagnosis that could spell slaughter for the cattle and ruin for the farm. But is he sure he has made the right decision?

The smooth-talking McAloon meanwhile has a close encounter with a pampered sheep and quickly spots an opportunity to line his pockets at the expense of their anxious owners.

While James and McAloon are out in the field Whirly Tyson has been tricked into staying at the Vet College. This leads to another run-in with the sexist Professor Gunnell, but this time Whirly will have her revenge.


Young Herriot Ep 3/3

James struggles to balance politics and his career when he meets Jenny’s parents, Lord and Lady Muirhead. As if being totally captivated by their daughter isn’t enough, he is also instantly smitten by their dog, Freda, a beautiful Gordon setter.

There are introductions all round as Mrs Munro’s charismatic friend and sometime lover Oskar, a Jewish artist, arrives for a visit. While James is instantly drawn to Oskar’s warmth and party spirit, Jenny recoils from the meeting and leaves abruptly, much to James’s confusion.

All becomes clearer when the Muirheads invite Gunnell and Ritchie to a special gathering and their Fascist sympathies are revealed, leaving Professor Richie concerned for James’s future. Matters come to a head when Freda falls ill and the Muirheads’ politics interfere with her treatment.

Whirly meanwhile faces her tribunal hearing after her revenge on Gunnell and James inadvertently makes life very difficult for her with some unguarded comments. He is facing problems of his own with final exams looming and with the drama surrounding the Muirheads there’s a real chance that his first year at vet school could be his last.