This must be the finest production of "Wind in the Willows" ever likely to be made. Perfect casting, the clever decision not to hide the actors behind animal masks, and a witty script make it ideal viewing for the whole family - as the BBC knew when it proved central to their Christmas schedule in 2006.
Matt Lucas is a delight as Toad - bombastic, sly, innocent and insufferable he brings real warmth to the character and proves he has a good singing voice for the simple little ditties that feature in the programme. His promises to never ever-ever-ever-ever-EVER etc do something again are comedy gold! The action begins with underground-dwelling Mole (Lee Ingleby) escaping from his Spring Cleaning to travel above ground where he meets the laid-back English gent Rat (Mark Gattis) and his gruff, growly chum Badger (Bob Hoskins). The glorious summer English countryside is provided by Romania and the boating, fishing and caravanning scenes are as perfect as could be.
But it is Toad and his love of motor-cars which provides the centre for this story as his 3 friends try to stop him killing himself with his shocking driving - not to mention wasting his inheritance on more and more vehicles.
Extra Featurette "Further Adventures of Toad" is NOT as the title would imply a further little story, but instead a good look behind-the-scenes of the making of this production. From the baking heat of Romania to the stunning news that Matt Lucas cannot drive in real life (!) cast and crew provide interviews and insights into what must have been one of the happiest, funniest dramas to be part of in recent years.
"Wind in the Willows" is a childhood favourite for millions - and often the very first school play they ever participate in. This production would surely win the support of Kenneth Graham - his characters are brought to life with all the faults, failings and personalities fully intact. The fight between our heroes and the dastardly Weazels is a joy of stunt work and comedy - and the ending predicts that Wonderful Mr Toad will soon have another venture in mind.....
No home should be without a copy of this classic.