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All Creatures Great and Small's Nicholas Ralph reveals James 'called into action' in Christmas special

James is away at the RAF base in the festive episode

Nicholas Ralph in All Creatures Great and Small
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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All Creatures Great and Small star Nicholas Ralph revealed his character James is "called into action" whilst at the RAF training base in the upcoming Christmas special.

Chatting to HELLO! and other journalists at a press event for the festive episode, Nicholas revealed that James is called upon to treat injured mascot, Georgie. 

WATCH: All Creatures Great and Small teases dramatic Christmas special

"So the mascot at the RAF base, he's unwell," Nicholas explained. "It's a bird of prey. So, James has been called into action to try and help this bird because the men who are flying are getting a little bit uneasy without the mascot flying. So he's called into action to try and help the situation."

Speaking about how James is coping with being away from Helen whilst she's heavily pregnant, James went on to say: "It's a long time to be away from your significant other and he misses Helen hugely.

Rachel Shenton and Nicholas Ralph as Helen and James in All Creatures Great and Small© Channel 5
James is missing Helen in the Christmas special

"When he signed up, Helen wasn't pregnant, things were very, very different. And if she was back then, who knows what decision he would have made?"

The Scottish actor continued: "So yeah, missing her hugely and missing the family, but also finding this camaraderie and this kind of brotherly love – and thank God for that. Thank God for these young men that he's surrounded by, that they've got each other as well."

Nicholas Ralph in All Creatures Great and Small© Channel 5
James is 'called into action' in the Christmas special

Nicholas also revealed that he was away from his fellow cast mates for a week to film the scenes at the RAF base, which were shot in Elvington, York. 

Describing the set, he said: "It was absolutely brilliant because it's a museum. The barracks are still there, the mess and hall. It just transformed into this world, very little had to be done to dress it."

On missing his cast mates, Nicholas added: "It was also that kind of separation from the surrogate family in Skeldale, as was for so many during that time and more recently with things like COVID. So it really played into that feeling and because I was away for the best part of a week filming there as well, I did miss the guys. I was hearing about all the things that I would normally be involved with filming-wise."

Nicholas Ralph in All Creatures Great and Small© Helen Williams / Playground Production / Channel 5 Television
James is called on to help an injured mascot

READ: The true story behind All Creatures Great and Small: meet the real James, Helen, Siegfried and Tristan

In the upcoming Christmas special, which airs on Channel 5 on December 21, James is determined to get back to Helen in Skeldale.

The full synopsis reads: "It's Christmas, and James is miles away at the RAF training base. An emotional phone call with a very pregnant Helen makes him determined to get back to her, but he doesn’t have many options and RAF Mascot, Georgie, needs his help. James struggles to do the right thing. Will he find his way home in time for Christmas? 

Samuel West and James Anthony-Rose in All Creatures Great and Small© Channel 5
The special airs on December 21

"Meanwhile, Mrs Hall prepares a community Christmas celebration in Darrowby, whilst Siegfried and Carmody argue over who will be Father Christmas this year. Carmody is welcomed for his first Darrowby Christmas and finds himself enjoying it. 

"James learns a very important lesson and is rewarded with a surprise."

The Christmas special arrives on Channel 5 on Thursday 21 December at 9pm.