HBO, creators of gritty and supremely violent shows such as Game of Thrones, The Wire, and Spartacus have turned to an unlikely source for their next tits ‘n’ exposition spectacular, James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, promising that their show will be ‘sexier and glossier’ than the beloved BBC adaptation. We’ve managed to obtain the first three scenes from the script of the pilot episode and publish them here so readers can decide if this version will be as glorious as a night in the Drover’s Arms or if it should be sent to Jeff Mallock’s yard immediately.
All Creatures Great and Screwed: Pilot
Exterior: An urban hellscape at night. We follow a manky looking cat as it saunters past a couple of tramps rutting on some trash bags then out of a filthy alley. It pads over to a street corner on which a couple of dealers wearing gang bling, guns prominently on display, are sealing the deal with a customer who hands over a wad of greasy bills and in exchange gets a rope placed in his hand. The rope is attached to a huge brown cow which the customer now leads away. The cat wanders on, past a desperate hustler opening his never-cleaned coat in front of anyone who gets near in the hope of selling one of the many kittens he’s got stuffed into dozens of interior pockets, while further down the street two prostitutes wearing a couple of yellow pythons and not much else beckon and coo at the traffic. A wild looking prophet figure with a terrible beard rides a donkey across the intersection. His hat is on fire and he’s screaming about gods and monsters to the cold, indifferent sky…
Voice Over: The Bible says that not even a single sparrow will fall to the ground without God’s permission. Maybe out where there’s fields and white picket fences but in this city there is no God. There’s no mercy, and there’s no justice. It ain’t God watching out for all the creatures, it’s me. And I will clean house. I’m not a vigilante. I’m not a hero. My cape is the labcoat I got in college that’s getting too tight. My fancy gadgets are branded biros the flea prevention companies give out free. My name’s Jimmy Herriot. I’m The Vet.
Opening credits roll and feature brief glimpses of very horrible things to a score of discordant thrash metal.
Scene One: Interior: The Surgery – a vast and bustling office. Lots of shouting, paperwork, perches, pet carriers, bird song and barking. The vets look grizzled and beleaguered, the perps look aggressive and unrepentant.
Vet One (into an old-fashioned phone she’s got wedged between her shoulder and her chin leaving her hands free to worm a rabbit): …and tell the DA we got the lab results back and they ain’t no marmosets. Yeah, yeah, get ’em before a judge and lock ’em up…
Vet Two (shouting at the thin strung-out mess wearing a wife-beater and a vacant grin that’s handcuffed to the desk while a couple of hamsters scurry about on it amongst the files and empty polystyrene cups): Sanchez, you piece of shit! These ain’t Siberians, look at the ears. You been cross-breeding with Roborovskis. How many kids you sell these to, huh? How fucking many?!
Only one person appears untouched by the chaos. It’s Jimmy Herriot’s first day. He stands looking very clean and fit compared to his crumpled, world-weary colleagues. He’s late twenties and blandly handsome.
An obese black guy waddles out of a door and squints around through small wire-framed glasses. His gaze finally settles on Jimmy.
Farnon: You! You Herriot? Don’t just stand there, get your ass in here.
Scene Two: Interior – Farnon’s Office. A miniature version of the mess we’ve just seen. A stethoscope is dumped on top of some files, a bearded dragon basks in its vivarium.
Jimmy: Good morning, sir. I’m J-
Farnon: I know all about you, wiseguy. Army Veterinary Corps assigned to the US Marines, three tours in Afghanistan. You see a lot goats out there?
Jimmy: I did, sir.
Farnon: Damn radicalised bleating bastards. And don’t call me, sir. I’m Captain Sam Farnon. Seeing as we’re just one big fuckin’ family you can call me Captain. There’s two rules here. One, everyone’s guilty of something, and two, my brother’s an asshole. Don’t ever forget it.
Jimmy looks confused.
Farnon: Now, due to Kozlowski getting himself taken out during the raid on Feggaty’s gerbil joint we’re short-handed which means you got yourself your first assignment. Get out to the Widow Pumphrey’s, don’t say nothin’, don’t touch nothin’ and give those racehorses a clean bill of health. You don’t even think the word ‘dope’ while you’re there.
He throws a file at Jimmy who catches it deftly.
And be careful. She’s a real man eater. Now go, go. Out, out.
Scene Three: We follow Jimmy back through the main office. He accidentally bumps into a vet carrying a golden retriever in his arms.
Vet: Hey! Watch it. I gotta get his bitch in the evidence locker stat.
Jimmy bends down to pick up his file. Another hand, wearing red nail polish gets there first. The camera pans up as Jimmy rises and Helen gives him his file. She’s stunningly beautiful but this won’t be revealed until episode two so she’s wearing glasses and has her hair scraped back in a severe bun.
Helen: You need to look where you’re going around here. It can get a little hectic.
Jimmy: I can see. I’m Jimmy.
Helen: I know. Assigned to Widow Pumphrey on your first day. The Captain must either be impressed by you or want you gone very quickly. Let me know how it goes. If you come back.
She walks away but turns after a few paces.
Oh, and Jimmy? Word of advice. The Widow’s all about Tricky Woo, you’d do well to remember that. And take some arm-length gloves. I know you vets. Always got to shove your hands up where they’re not wanted.
Jimmy (to himself): The fuck’s a Tricky Woo?
He frowns then flexes his shoulders and heads out to meet his fate…