‘Shed a layer of skin’ All Creatures actor Samuel West on how fatherhood has changed him

All Creatures Great and Small: Cast on lack of 'villains'

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All Creatures Great And Small actor Samuel West has spoken out on fatherhood and how it made him “shed a layer of skin”. The Channel 5 star and his partner, playwright Laura Wade, have two daughters aged seven and four.

The couple are protective of their offspring’s privacy, whom they wish to keep anonymous.

On his experience as a parent, Sam told The Sunday Telegraph in November: “I can’t watch horrific things on screen any more.

“When I became a father, I shed a layer of skin.”

Sam portrays Seigfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, the period drama based on 1970s books.

Seigfried is the strict and sometimes insensitive manager at Skeldale House veterinary surgery.

However, Sam has found similarities between the eccentric character and his real life relationship with his family.

The actor explained the connection between his bond with his daughters and Seigfried’s relationship with his younger brother, Tristan Farnon.

He told Express.co.uk: “Siegfried is an enormously stubborn person, and quite childish at times.

“Not to get too psychological on it, but the idea that he’s now got to be a father to Tristan (when he isn’t Tristan’s dad, he’s his brother) irritates him.

“Partly because Tristan’s having quite a lot of fun at Siegfried’s expense at college – and not passing his exams – and partly because Siegfried didn’t get to do enough of that when he was Tristan’s age, because he was busy looking after Tristan.”

Sam continued: “Also because James and Tris are this… it’s not a bromance, but they’re great friends, and they’re younger, and Siegfried slightly resents it.

“Because he feels like a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, and he’s a widower.

“There are all sorts of things that make Tris seem footloose and fancy free, and that’s enormously annoying.”

Sam went on to explain that Siegfried struggles to deal with Tristan’s ways.

He said: “But what we do see in the series, I hope, is a more mature understanding of what a proper, responsible relationship with Tristan might turn into.”

Sam suggested that his own life sometimes resembles the Farnons relationship, as relatives cannot be knocked into shape.

He explained: “I’ve got two young daughters, and it’s extremely hard sometimes, but I try to live by the principle that parenthood is gardening, not carpentry.

“You can’t knock them into shape; you have to plant them and let them grow.

“Tristan needs love and water and earth, but he doesn’t need to be told off all the time.

“What we might see in this series is Siegfried realising that some of the things that Tristan is good at, or is going to be good at, come from letting him make his own mistakes, and giving him responsibility, ceding control.”

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