Monday, 20 June 2011

THE BORROWERS come to BBC this Christmas

Monday, 20 June 2011
Christopher Eccleston, Sharon Horgan & Robert Sheehan cast in THE BORROWERS
The BBC have ordered an adaptation of classic children's novel The Borrowers as a key Christmas treat this year. The new 90-minute special, written by Ben Vanstone (Merlin), will star Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood, Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), Sharon Horgan (Pulling), Robert Sheehan (Misfits), Aisling Loftus (Dive) and Shaun Dooley (South Riding).

The original 1952 book, written by Mary Norton, concerns a race of tiny people who "borrow" things from the "human beans" they secretly cohabit with. Four sequels were written between 1955 and 1982, and the stories have been adapted for TV/film three times since a 1973 US TV Movie. Most famous was the 1992 BBC TV series starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton, but many people will also remember the 1997 movie starring John Goodman, Jim Broadbent and Celia Imrie.

This latest version, produced by Working Title Television, casts Eccleston and Horgan as Pod and Homily Clock, with Sheehan as their tearaway son Spiller and Loftus as daughter Arrietty. Fry and Wood will be playing Professor Mildeye and Grandma Driver, respectively, two people on the hunt for the Borrowers.

Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One:

"The Borrowers will be part of a really special family Christmas on BBC One and with its stellar line-up it is set to be a truly wonderful programme."
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning:

"[This is] a brilliant and bold contemporary version of this classic tale with all the charm of the original but with a thrilling, moving and funny modern sensibility written and directed by two of our most exciting young talents with an amazing cast—it's the perfect Christmas present!"
Juliette Howell, Head of Television for Working Title:

"I couldn't be more thrilled with Ben [Vanstone]'s take on this classic story. It feels fresh, original and above all funny. The perfect Christmas treat."
What do you think? The Borrowers is ideal family-friendly Christmas viewing to me, and I'm hopeful the special-effects will be up to scratch. The days of enormous papier-mâché fingers are long behind us, Land Of The Giants fans. Given the advances in technology, this might even rival the 1997 movie's visuals. As for the casting... well, Horgon and Sheehan are great fits. They have that indefinable "borrower-y" look to them. I'm just a little concerned about Eccleston, who isn't the obvious next-step after Holm and Broadbent. I'm sure he'll be fine, but it'll probably be a different take on Pod Clock than we've seen before. Less bumbling, more brooding?

The Borrowers will film this summer for five weeks, under the direction of Tom Harper (Misfits, This Is England '86), and is scheduled to air sometime over the Christmas period.