All Creatures Great and Small locations: where was Mrs Pumphrey’s cricket pitch and Aldersons’ farm?

As series two of All Creatures Great and Small continues on Channel 5, production designer Jackie Smith of Ripon talks about the Yorkshire locations used.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:24 pm
Mrs Pumphrey (Patricia Hodge) in the cricket marquee, filmed at Fountains Abbey Deer Park

One of the highlights of series two of Channel 5's new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small is Mrs Pumphrey’s cricket match, a fiercely competitive annual event for the inhabitants of Darrowby and the surrounding Dales, and one that sees Helen reacquainted with former fiance Hugh, under awkward circumstances.

Studley Royal Cricket Club (the second pitch, to be precise) was used for the exterior filming for the Pumphrey cricket pitch and rear lawn, while Fountains Abbey Deer Park was used for the exterior and interior marquee scenes.

Broughton Hall, near Skipton, is used for Mrs Pumphrey’s not-so-humble abode, the perfect choice as a Grade I listed stately home in the Georgian style of architecture.

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The marquee on Mrs Pumphrey's lawn was filmed at Fountains Abbey Deer Park

Production designer Jackie Smith told the Yorkshire Post: “We used several well-known Yorkshire locations for Series 2, including Studley Deer Park, Ripley Castle, Birstwith Hall and Sawley Hall. We broadened our use of farms to include ones in and around Pateley Bridge, as well as farms further into the Dales near Kettlewell.

“Part of the skill of the job is working with the location manager, Gary Barnes, to select locations which work for our scripts, and then thinking of how we can add value by use of colour, building additional lean-tos, adding gates and vehicles, plus period props and farming detail, but also being meticulous about covering things which may not be right for period. This isn’t always possible, in which case we rely on VFX to take items out.

“We were very happy with the palette we had established in Series 1, so Series 2 was about fleshing that out and being even more confident about creating this world,” Jackie adds. “It is always useful to have a second go at something so you can improve on areas you weren’t happy with and confidently design new sets knowing what will work on screen.”

Jackie revealed that Skeldale House has had some home improvements for Series 2. “We added two windows to the kitchen at Skeldale, which the eagle-eyed viewer may have spotted,” she says. “This was to allow the director of photography more options as to how to light the actors in scenes around the kitchen table.”

St Wilfrid's Church in Harrogate portrayed Brawton village hall

The Ritz cinema in Thirsk (where Alf Wight himself would have visited) is also used in Series 2, transforming the surrounding shops and the interior of the cinema to look more in keeping with the 1938 period.

Ripley Castle was used for the Renniston Hotel, where James and Helen go for their first posh meal out together, and Sawley Hall in Nidderdale was filmed for the Seabright-Saunders estate, while St Wilfrid's Church in Harrogate portrayed Brawton village hall, where the couple, and Siegfried and his new flame, go to attend a dance night. Birstwith Hall, near Harrogate, is Colonel Merrick’s home.

Yorkshire and the Dales are very much home for Jackie. She grew up in Ripon and went to Ripon Grammar, then studied Architecture and Design at the Royal College of Art before becoming a production designer.

Grassington is the village used mainly for Darrowby, but the village of Arncliffe is used for some aspects, with a farm used as the back of Skeldale House where the cars are kept.

Helen atop the roof at the Aldersons Farm

Darrowby pub The Drovers is The Devonshire in Grassington for the exterior, but its interior is shot in the Green Dragon Inn in Hardraw, near Hawes, where its original flagstone floors, fireplace and oak panelling make the perfect backdrop for the vets to sink their pints.

Jackie says that the period look is achieved without it feeling too "past times” by adding layers of detail which helps the realism of the scenes. “We are meticulous about ensuring the correctness of all props for the period,” she says. “It is largely the writers that keep the dialogue fresh and the performances of our amazing cast which make sure the show is fresh and relatable."

*All Creatures Great and Small continues on Channel 5 on Thursdays at 9pm.

All Creatures Great and Small production designer Jackie Smith at Brimham Rocks. Picture by Suzanne Craigie