1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 3 (UK/Canada)
52 x 15 minute episodes
1 9 7 1 (UK)
26 x 30 minute episodes
This children’s series featured real animals and related the adventures of two friends; Hammy (a hamster) and Roderick (a white mouse).
Both animals lived along a riverbank and shared adventures with their neighbours – a guinea pig, a raccoon, a squirrel, a chipmunk, a frog, a toad, a vampire bat (ok, we just made that one up) and various weasels and skunks.
The stars of the show were real animals, who were shown moving around in miniature boats, cars, balloons and aeroplanes and their homes were fully furnished with animal size furniture.
The Wind In The Willows was originally bought to the UK from Canada in 1960 with Johnny Morris replacing the Canadian narrators. It ran for 13 episodes and proved so popular the BBC commissioned another 39 episodes which were filmed on the Isle of Wight between 1961 and 1962.
The concept was to create a programme that was non-violent and highly entertaining, that kids would love, and that their parents could watch with them.
The fifteen-minute episodes were filmed at double the normal speed to allow the camera to slow down the movements of the animals.
The show also aired in Canada, Australia, and 34 other countries around the world.
An additional 26 half-hour episodes were produced in colour in the 1970s.
A brief revival in the 1990s on Channel 5 and a CGI film version which went straight to DVD in 2008 hold no real nostalgic interest.