Fans of heartwarming drama All Creatures Great and Small should keep an eye out for celebrities as filming gets underway in the Yorkshire Dales on the fourth series.

Makers Channel 5 revealed this week work has started on the latest programmes which include new characters as the stories pick up in 1940 as Churchill takes office in World War II and Europe is under serious threat.

The usual cast of Nicholas Ralph as young country vet James Herriot, now happily married to Helen Herriot, played by Rachel Shenton and Samuel West as James’ capricious and erratic mentor and boss Siegfried Farnon, return. Anna Madeley continues as Mrs Hall, matriarch of the famous Skeldale House. Patricia Hodge plays the eccentric Mrs Pumphrey, alongside over pampered Pekingese Tricki Woo.

With Tristan away serving in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Siegfried and James bring in some extra hands to help keep the practice going. Neve McIntosh, of Shetland fame, joins as highly efficient bookkeeper Miss Harbottle, alongside James Anthony-Rose, of Slow Horses and Pennyworth, who appears as studious undergraduate vet student Richard Carmody taking up his placement under the guidance of James.

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The series is based on the cherished stories by best-selling author James Herriot, from Thirsk, who wrote the books based on his life as North Yorkshire vet Alf Wight. There are six new episodes plus a Christmas Special, which will air on Channel 5 in the autumn.

Filming for the new series will largely be in Grassington, Wharfedale, Wensleydale, Swaledale and Thirsk. Series three aired this year with an average of 3.8 million viewers, giving the programme a leading 18 per cent share.

Sir Colin Callender, executive producer and CEO of makers Playground, said: "We are thrilled to be back in the glorious Yorkshire Dales for a fourth season of family, community and, of course, animal hijinks. Our wonderful cast and crew are all delighted to be returning to adapt more of James Herriot’s joyful and life-affirming stories."

Paul Testar, commissioning editor, Channel 5, said: "All Creatures Great and Small is one of the highlights of our year and we are eager to return to the glorious Yorkshire Dales this autumn. We can’t wait to welcome some new additions to our stellar cast for series 4."