1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
1 x 90 minute episode
16 x 30 minute episodes
A delightful stop-frame animation musical version of Kenneth Grahame’s classic 1908 tale of the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger, spun off from a 90-minute feature made in 1983.
A new character was added this time around – Mole’s pompous and pretentious playwright cousin, Auberon.
Each episode of the Cosgrove Hall production (made for Thames Television) took eight weeks to film.
The nine-inch characters were created by fitting a metal skeleton inside a sculptured model and covering the whole with foam rubber before a latex rubber skin – made from the mould of the original sculpture – was placed around the outside.
Voices were provided by Michael Hordern (Badger), David Jason (Toad and Chief Weasel), Peter Sallis (Rat) and Richard Pearson (Mole). The narrator for the series was Ian Carmichael.
TV again returned to Grahame’s Edwardian countryside with a 1995 animation voiced by Rik Mayall (Toad), Alan Bennett (Mole), Michael Palin (Rat) and Michael Gambon (Badger).
A seamless 1996 sequel, The Willows In Winter, written by William Horwood, saw the furry friends in watery trouble with Mole swept away by the icy river.
Howard Lloyd Lewis
Alfred the horse