THE Christmas Special of TV hit series All Creatures Great and Small, which will be shown on Friday evening, was something of a nightmare to make, producers admit – because it was shot at the height of summer in the Yorkshire Dales.

The new series is the latest adaptation of the life and times of vet James Herriot, as revealed in the iconic books of Thirsk author Alf Wight, becoming a huge success for Channel 5. While not revealing too much about the storyline for the Christmas special, production company Playground say there are more heartwarming tales from the Dales.

Executive producer Sir Colin Callender added: "I cannot wait for our audience to see this year’s Christmas special, which delivers equal parts warmth, heartache and Yuletide cheer. Bringing the All Creatures Great and Small family back together for a festive celebration has become a yearly highlight for all of us. It’s as much a treat for us to make as it will be for viewers to watch."

Executive producer Melissa Gallant added: "After almost two years of life looking very different for us all, I think we have come to notice and value the smaller things in life; the value of company, the gift of food, small acts of kindness, connection, and hope. Ben Vanstone's script captures the bittersweet nature of Christmas time with warmth, truth and poignancy. And we are in excellent hands yet again with Patricia Hodge returning as Mrs Pumphrey."

The company admitted there were challenges presented filming the Christmas storyline with a hint of snow in July, but thanked the people of the Yorkshire Dales and Grassington, which becomes Darrowby for the filming, for their help and support.

The storyline centres around a well known problem for many young couples as newly engaged Helen and James realise they haven’t agreed on where they’re spending Christmas Day and the pair are reluctant to disappoint friends and families. The situation raises bigger questions about what their lives will look like in the future.

Elsewhere in this year’s show, which is on Channel 5 at 9pm, there are many animals and a beloved pet is taken seriously ill. What there does not appear to be is a wedding which some fans thought might follow after the engagement of Helen and James, actors Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton, at the end of the last series. 

The programme has been seen by viewers around the world and there are strong rumours of a third and a fourth series. Ms Shenton said: "We feel so attached to it and proud of it and we have a sense of responsibility for telling these lovely stories."

The famous books about Herriot's world as a local vet have never been out of print with the latest series backed by the family of Alf Wight who wrote them in the 1970s.