Sunday , February 5 2023
Will Thorp as Gerald Hammond (Courtesy of Playground Television UK Ltd.)

TV Interview: Will Thorp from ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ on PBS Masterpiece

The third season of All Creatures Great and Small premiered on PBS Masterpiece on January 8, bringing back the beloved residents of Skeldale House. James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) and Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) embark on a new chapter of their relationship, while brothers Siegfried (Samuel West) and Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) find their bond under strain. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hall (Anna Madeley) considers what’s next with friend and occasional visitor Gerald Hammond (Will Thorp).

I spoke with actor Will Thorp on Zoom to learn more about his career and what he’s loved about playing Gerald on All Creatures Great and Small. His many credits include Doctor Who, Coronation Street, A.D. The Bible Continues, Turkish Ice-Cream, and Silent Witness. Here are the highlights of our conversation.

On Animals and Farms

Do you have a favorite animal?

Dogs without a doubt. I like their unquestioning loyalty to their owner. 

Will Thorp wearing a blue shirt and looking into the camera intently
Will Thorp (Credit: Kim Hardy)

Would you make a better veterinarian or a farmer? 

Definitely a better farmer. I wouldn’t be academic enough to be a vet. Funny enough, my father who died last year was a vet. He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1965. It was interesting getting cast in All Creatures, because we used to watch that as kids. It reminds me of my house. Despite all that, I would definitely not be a good vet. I think I could be a farmer. 

On Career Lessons and New Horizons

Is there a lesson from your career that you’ve used with All Creatures

I graduated from drama school 23 years ago. Every year, I realize how much more I need to learn. The two big things I try and take on board at every job is to listen to the other characters I’m in a scene with and to remember to play. On a set, those basic things can get forgotten. 

You’ve played soldiers before. What’s unique about portraying Gerald? 

Most of those characters have been active soldiers. Playing those parts involved a lot of stunts and fighting. Gerald is everything a lot of those characters aren’t. He’s gentle and kind. Scenes with Gerald are gentle walks over the Yorkshire Dales, not screaming and pointing guns at people. These days, I prefer to play a character like him. 

Photo of Anna Madeley and Will Thorp standing outside
Anna Madeley as Mrs. Hall and Will Thorp as Gerald Hammond (Courtesy of Playground Television UK Ltd.)

On Gerald’s Best Qualities

Some fans want Mrs. Hall to end up with Siegfried. Why is Gerald the better choice?

Firstly, Mrs. Hall is clearly quite a catch, as is the wonderful Siegfried. I think Gerald gives her a life away from work and an emotional outlet. He’s at peace with who he is, and that means he’s emotionally available for her. That’s probably one of his greatest assets. 

So what valuable lessons can we learn from Gerald?

His acceptance of other people is wonderful. Maybe part of this is born out of the fact [that] I imagine as a soldier, he experienced pretty indescribable things. From that, he appreciates the simple things of life and is accepting of others. He’s comfortable in his own shoes. He’s quite a philosophical guy, quiet, and humble. 

On Scripts and Memorable Experiences

What’s impressed you about the scripts as you follow Gerald’s arc? 

I don’t think I’ve ever done a job where I’ve enjoyed reading the scripts as much as I have this series. They offer a lovely slow burn for characters. That means every next step a character takes feels natural. Yet, I’m unable to guess when I read the script what’s going to happen next.

For all the characters, the arcs have been dealt with a lovely and light touch. They’re a joy to read. For me, the only thing as an actor is that I don’t want to let the writers down when I play the part. 

Anna Madeley and Will Thorp taking a walk on the grass of the Yorkshire downs
Anna Madeley as Mrs. Hall and Will Thorp as Gerald Hammond out for a walk (Courtesy of Playground Television UK Ltd.)

Lastly, what do you appreciate about working on All Creatures?

I work with such a lovely, talented cast. Honestly, they are all lovely. As well as that, working in Yorkshire on the Dales. I’ve been lucky enough to film series in a number of countries: Morocco, Turkey, Estonia, and all over the place. Yorkshire has been the best place I’ve ever worked. Driving to work in the morning and seeing the sun coming up over the Dales, you have to pinch yourself that this is your job. 

New episodes of All Creatures Great and Small are airing Sundays in January and February at 9/8c. Visit the PBS Masterpiece website for more information.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros frequently covers theater and television for Blogcritics Magazine. Every quarter, she enjoys putting the spotlight on new voices and emerging talent. Her portfolio includes interviews with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Davis, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi, and Ndaba Mandela.

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