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The current PBS Masterpiece production of All Creatures Great & Small has an unusual animated opening theme title sequence that is done in a kind of abstract/no lines style.

This reminds me greatly of the style presented in the opening theme title sequence for the TV series, The Durrells in Corfu.

In addition, the shows also share a few other commonalities that may be a little too coincidental:

  1. They both take place in the same era (the late 30's/early 40's) with WWII impending over both series.
  2. Both are adaptations of book series inspired by the professions and/or life events of the authors' real lives.
  3. Both are about broken/unconventional British families coming together often through the love & care of animals and the community of which they live.
  4. Both are British Productions with *mostly British main casts (Durrells does have some international cast since it primarily takes place on an Island in Greece, but is still mostly about a British family becoming apart of the community).
  5. Both feature the [extraordinarily brilliant and super underrated] actor Callum Woodhouse apart of the main cast.

Is 'All Creatures' opening inspired by the 'Durrells' opening?

Please Note: I'm not really referring to the sequences' scores, but specifically the art & animation style.

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The Durrells:

We are so pleased you liked the titles! We love them as well.

They were designed by a company called Rupert Ray Ltd and their designer, Alex McLean, is credited in our end credits. Please take a look at their website if you would like to know more about their company. http://www.rupertray.com/

They were inspired by old fashioned tourism posters - if you search for vintage tourism posters, I'm sure you can find something similar to purchase.


All Creatures Great and Small:

the designers of the All Creatures Great and Small titles sequence, Ben Marshall and Ed Dalton, reveal what they were going for, how they made it, and what hidden gems we can look for.

[...]

The first concept we started developing was actually live-action based—not illustration-based—and was going to be much more macro details of the environment: the house, the landscape, and really just embodying the nuances or the qualities of the show and the environment. But then as we started to evolve and develop out the concept, we felt it was missing something of that quality that [the production] described as a warm bath — that kind of cocoa, warm, charming feeling.

So we went back to one of the other concepts we’d looked at, a more illustrative route, thinking, “How can we start to create an embodiment of the show?” through that. And that route was all around travel posters. We were trying to think of something we thought was timeless, and still kind of modern — we could reinterpret it, but something that felt quintessentially of that period and of that time.

That (very long) article also asks them about the similarity:

Ben: We’re big fans of that sequence now, but we weren’t aware of it when we began this process. We found out about it while we were already in production, and it was actually a slight flag, and we did have to have the conversation, “Are our audiences going to think that this is too similar?” But we came to the conclusion that actually, it’s a really good thing, because in a way if it was the right approach for The Durrells, then it was the right approach for All Creatures, and a kind of a convergent evolution of creativity, in that sense.

[...]

Ed: If I remember correctly, we had already moved on with illustrating everything out, and getting to latter stages, when Ben had a conversation with his dad about the approach. And then on the weekend, your dad was like, “Oh, it sounds really quite similar to The Durrells title sequence.” And then I had a chat with Ben on Monday morning, and he was like, “Ed, have you seen The Durrells title sequence?” So when we saw it initially, we did have a slight, “Oh my God, is this going to be an issue?”, as Ben mentioned.

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  • This same art style is also used in the Parks board game (and probably many other works). Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 0:51
  • @TheoBendit Oh, I'm sure the Art Deco style is used in a lot of media, but I have not seen it used a lot as an opening theme sequence in a TV series, which is why I was wondering if there was any intentional correlation. Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 1:24
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    It would be good to plainly summarize the actual answer rather than leave it to be inferred from the quotes. Perhaps something like: "No, one was not inspired by the other. The styles of the two animations were created independently, both inspired by travel posters. The All Creatures designers noticed the similarity to The Durrells only after production was well underway."
    – nanoman
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 4:27

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