Interview: Maimie McCoy on Channel 5’s All Creatures Great and Small

It’s 1937 and Glasgow is in the grip of depression. James Herriot, fresh out of veterinary college, moves to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales for work, and soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners.

Channel 5’s reboot of the classic feel-good drama All Creatures Great and Small launches tonight and throughout the series you’ll see some very special guests including the brilliant Maimie McCoy.

Maimie McCoy in itv’s Van Der ValkMaimie McCoy in itv’s Van Der Valk

Maimie McCoy in itv’s Van Der Valk

We caught up with Maimie to find out more about the show and her character, Dorothy….

Maimie, ACGAS feels very different to Van Der Valk, what was it like to film?

It was so lovely, I have friends and family up in Yorkshire and I loved being there, I was very lucky as I got to go for tea in Harrogate and spend lots of time in the area. It is such a special place, it felt amazing to be there filming and it is equally going to look great on screen. 


For anyone who doesn’t know, can you tell us about the period in which it is set?

Sure it’s late 1930’s, pre-war, it’s all set in this gorgeous little town and James Herriot, the vet, he comes down from Glasgow and works for this Yorkshireman and so there’s a lot in there about their relationship but also about the relationship of all the people around them. When I was there, there was this beautiful bit in the marketplace and honestly, I can’t tell you how much work has gone into the detail on this.   There are things viewers might not even notice, but these details are important for the cast to really feel it.  So I was looking in one of the shop windows at this pack of tights, and the detail on the packaging was just unreal, it was very authentic.  The whole show stays very true to the books, it’s a real homage.

 Tell us about your character?

My character Dorothy is an absolute joy, I kind of based her on somebody I know, she is so full if life and she works with Mrs Hall.  I absolutely loved playing her, I loved going for the costume fittings and being part of this show, it was a real pleasure and Dorothy is brilliant.  You’ll meet her in episode 2.

Did you get to work with any animals?

I didn’t actually, well I think I may have stroked a donkey but it upstaged me.   It was fun talking to the other cast members about their encounters with the animals, they are certainly interesting to work with!   

The show is a big deal for Channel 5 isn’t it, and actually I guess provides much needed escapism?

Oh yes and you know, if you’ve seen the official cast shot you’ll see there’s something in the colouring of it and that is how the show will come across. It looks very special on screen, it is very warm, I think there’s the right amount of drama and warmth and I think you’re absolutely right, is going to be something you can curl up with and just lose yourself in. 

Before you go, we can’t wait to see more Van Der Valk. You must have been pleased with how that was received?

Oh yes, we worked really hard on that show and so it was great to see it received so well. I have been in contact with the writer with ideas quite a bit and I think the second series is going to be great.  We have no idea when we’ll be making it, we have heard early next year but we just don’t know.  I can’t wait to work on that, I loved it.

 And do you think they’ll be more Dorothy in ACGAS?

Oh I don’t know, I’d love that though, it would be a real pleasure. Let’s see!

All Creatures Great and Small starts tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.  Stream on My5. In 2021 it will air on PBS in America.