Farewell, Siegfried Farnon

Robert Hardy played a wonderful character in one of my favorite TV series in the late 70s; “All Creatures Great and Small“. Siegfried Farnon was the head veterinarian in the village of Darrowby in the Yorkshire Dales, England. The series was taken from the books by James Herriot.

I just heard of his passing (August 3, 2017) from my sister (who also loved the show). I think I need to read the books again.


18 Comments on Farewell, Siegfried Farnon

  1. I love James Herriot and his books. I’vbe read them all and the stories are entertaining. I also loved the PBS series. Robert Hardy played the best role as Siegfried Farnon. My all time favorite story was the boxer who had gas and was owned by a very rich woman. You’ll have to read the story as to what happened and the happy ending.

  2. Claudia, Goldenfoxx — No surprise you should be delighted by James (White) Herriot’s books. Me, too!

    Goldenfoxx — that was Mrs. Pumphrey and I loved the story of the boxer. And how the problem was resolved by giving him to the gardener who had no sense of smell. But her adoption of a pet pig was just as funny. Great writer.

    I will miss Robert Hardy — a really fine actor. No other choice for Seigfried. Wiping his car’s windscreen with a dead chicken will live in my memory forever.

  3. @AbigailAdams – Yes, and she was having a tea party and all her hootie tootie friends were over when the dog got loose and ran around the house farting. LMAO! James was always questioning her about the dog and that maybe she should give the dog up. The gardener was perfect. When James asked him if he found anything unusual about the dog and it farting, the gardener said no, he had his adenoids out and couldn’t smell a thing. The way Herriot tells it is much funnier. But it makes me still laugh.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed the series. This is before I threw out the TV. Present day TV would do well to mimic this TV series.

  5. Yeah, they really did a great job with that show. I’ve got the whole thing on DVD.

    Funny thing is, I watched it for the first time as an adult, after growing up watching Doctor Who. My wife was the other way ’round – she saw All Creatures Great and Small as a kid, but never saw Doctor Who until I introduced her to it.

    Consequently, when we watch each show, it’s either me wondering why The Doctor has his arm stuck up a cow, or my wife wondering why Tristan is in the TARDIS.

    (Incidentally, Patrick Troughton also appeared in an episode of ACGaS, as a hobo)

  6. Aw, I loved the show, and the books which I read later on. Siegfried was always a hoot. And deceptively clever. Hysterical writing, and acting by all the actors. In the books, James always seemed to be well beyond tipsy whenever a certain female character would suddenly show up and needed his vet skills. Can’t remember if they covered this in the show.

    One thing I do remember was James making bangers and mash for Tristan who eventually got tired of the repeated meals. Oh, and the cow fart explosion. Damn, I gotta pick up those books again.

  7. Corona/All — We could fill up four or five threads just recalling the stories!

    I found it helped me a great deal to have read the books before the series started on PBS. I was able to understand the thick Yorkshire accent used by the farmers (and all their strange diagnoses, too). I have all the episodes on DVD, too. Thankfully.

    Geoff C. and I use many of the lines on each other all the time. An all time favorite is the opening to one of the books where a giant draft horse needs to be chloroformed, and Siegfried insists — as he always did — that he hadn’t been given enough of the stuff. “He’s not going to go down, James.” Then the horse falls “like a stricken oak.” lol! Use that line all the time: “He’s not going to go down, James.”

  8. Corona — the ‘farting’ cow was actually an operation on one of the stomachs to retrieve a wire. In the midst of the operation the stomach ballooned out and Farnon had to make an incision which sent loads of digested contents all over their antiseptic operating theater and Siegfried’s brand new tweed jacket, hanging on a nail. I remember Tristan trying to clean the filth off with a flat stick. Harriott described Siegfried looking like a Maori witch doctor with crap all over his face and hair standing stiff with muck. Dang, so funny!.

  9. Rest in peace Robert. We loved him in ‘All Creatures’ and named one of our cats Siegfried. Another became Tristan.
    Tricky Woo was the pekinese that was spoiled and needed a diet. Siegfried took him from Mrs. Ponfrey and had run around with his dogs and act like dog rather than spoiled child. Great books, great acting.
    ‘Bangers mash, bangers and mash’ when Mrs. Hall went on vacation

  10. “Bangers and mash!” Tristan’s response was “Well, I told you I could make bangers and mash!” Lordy!

    I’d have a very hard time saying what my favorite story was — probably when Tristan took both the side doors off Siegfried’s brand new Rover or when James and Tristan flattened the golf “club house” when their car lost its brakes.

    Harriot/White was a superb story teller.

  11. Robert Hardy was (and portrayed) the quintessential English Gentleman who put the ‘Great’ in Great Britain. Gentleman have passed into history. Him and they will be sorely missed. God speed.

  12. Jame’s first date with Helen with squeaky shoes, borrowed clothes, her disapproving father and the goat stole and ate his wallet.

    Siegfried bought steak because he was tired of Tristan’s bangers and mash. The dogs ate it.

  13. Watched the series and read the books multiple times, absolutely love them. If you have children then this is a series that you have to read to them, using different voices for the different characters. A guaranteed good time for all.

  14. When Tristan was pulling another one of his pranks with the “Village Phantom” get up and the town constable chased him down and almost caught him; too funny. My favorite character from the books.


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