All Creatures Great and Small icon 'struggled to keep it together' with Mrs Pumphrey star

“And Derek literally looked at me, and looked away, and looked at me, and looked away.

“As if he was saying ‘well what on earth are you holding your hand out for!’ His handler told me he was the most laid-back dog, and he really is.”

The actress said she was drawn to the project because of the level of human interaction and, of course, the animals.

She described the series as “a comfort blanket” during difficult times, taking viewers back to an easier life.

When asked what she brought to the character to make it her own, she said she did not want to have previous portrayals “sitting on her shoulders”.

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