Baz Banter Review – “Why I like Cosgrove Hall’s Wind in the Willows best” (Not Intended for kids)

Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows has been around with us for many years now and has had many adaptations by movie, theatre or television. There is one particular production, that I regard as the highest of quality and content And that is the Cosgrove Hall version. It centres around a shy mole a practical, river obsessed water rat a curmudgeonly but good-hearted badger (who’s a bit of an introvert) and the clinically insane amphibian Fortunately, it seems my favourite version of The Wind in the Willows, seems to be the overall favourite of most of the British public it Was made by Cosgrove Hall Productions in Manchester during the 1980s. The same animation company who brought us Danger Mouse, Count Duckula and the original BFG movie. Possibly the biggest reason I love this show, apart from its lovely stop-motion animation And it’s unbeatable voice cast, is the genius writing of Brian Trueman. Trueman wrote for most of the Cosgrove Halls during the 80s and any Danger Mouse fans will know, how off-the-wall and random his writing can be. “Rice Pudding?!” “Can I start again with the letter B?” Whilst the writing in Wind in the Willows couldn’t be a zany as Danger Mouse’s, seeing as it was like a sequel adaptation of Grahame’s novel and not an original project, Trueman did his best to make it as witty as possible. Especially that exasperating and idiotic Toad of Toad Hall “I’m just out for a bit of a run, you know, keeping fit, we natural athletes must keep in trim. Eh?” “Hmm?” “I suppose you wouldn’t have the odd cream cake, Ratty?”. “I am feeling awfully peckish”. “I’ve stopped making them, Toad”. “Stopped making them?!” “Mmm-hmm, too fattening.” “We Natural athletes have to keep in trim, you know?” Trueman even have the ability to make the villainous weasels very amusing to watch at times too “What the Egbert’s that?!” “Chief, how big can a mushroom get?” “What’re you on about you half-wit?!” “How big can a mushroom get?” “I’ve told you about talking rubbish!” In the original 1983 movie That was an adaption of Kenneth Grahame’s original novel and actually started the whole show off, the weasels were very sinister even more so then the novel depicted. I’m sure everyone knows the Original story of The Wind in the Willows but I’ll just do a quick recap. It’s a bit of a slow starter that eventually becomes more action-packed. One Spring, set in Edwardian England, Mole, fed up with spring cleaning, goes for a walk and meets Ratty by the Riverbank. They have a picnic and Ratty introduces Mole to his friend, Mr Toad, without hardly any introduction to Mole, Toad shows them his new canary-coloured cart that he intends to travel all around the country with After a few days travelling, a car sends the caravan into a ditch and Toad has a new obsession motor-cars…. Clearly too deluded, to care about money or broken bones, Toad smashes car after car Ratty and Mole get Toad’s late father’s, friend Badger to try and stop Toad from any more financial ruin But the motoring bug has hold of him too much, that all their plans fail and he ends up stealing a car After being sentenced to 20 years in jail The Jailer’s daughter helps Toad escape by wearing her Auntie’s washerwoman’s uniform After blagging a free ride on a train, and escaping from a dramatic police pursuit Toad arrives back at the riverbank to find his ancestral home taken over by the weasels… With the help of his friends, they fight the weasels and get his house back. Although this film is fully nostalgic for me and has some really great songs… It can be bit dull in some places and very creepy in others. Overall I much prefer the subsequent TV show. Now some of you may be thinking, “Well, why do you have a copy of the original novel?” ” If you’re more interested in the TV show stories?” I dunno. Gotta stay true to the original source material, innit? Word! If you ever wants to get your kid into Wind in the Willows, or even an adult I Recommend showing them a TV episode first It’s a shame that the complete collection DVDs are no longer available and the only DVDs you can find in shops now in the UK, are the original movie and Winter Tales Bummer, dude! But as I mentioned earlier, I believe the reason I rate Cosgrove Hall’s Willows so much is because of Brian Trueman’s writing, I’ve loved Wind in the Willows since as long as I can remember, and a lot of my school friends didn’t They thought of it as too slow and non action-packed However, I think as you get older It becomes more humourous as the humour in it, isn’t really played down for young kids And a lot of the jokes would go over a five year old’s head. “My dear, Rat, I have to take a few simple provisions for the journey.” “But you’ll only be up for about an hour!” “An hour?!” “Whew, I didn’t think it would be THAT long.” “Oh, Toad, come on.” “No, not likely, I might starve to death!” “It’s alright, I’ll just go and get a few more sandwiches…” “Yes, and of course, a cake or two, I’ll need a few packets of biscuits, two tins of soup…” “That’s not fair!” “He ran faster than I did!” However, I’ve always liked it, since I was a very young age. I would watch episodes and the movie constantly on VHS. The Wind in the Willows has been adapted many many times, more than it should have been really. But I guess producers just love Toad and his friends too much There are definitely some very bad adaptions. Like the very first one from Disney in 1949 Seriously, who is this Winky Pillock? I’d call himself something similar to Winky The word has an A in it and ends in ….er, but kids might be watching or just someone who likes to moan about bad language Most of the adaptions were animated in 2D animation and a couple of live-action movies were made Every adaption had a well ensemble cast with lots of famous, (well at least famous at the time) actors performing the voices of the four famous friends a A lot of people growing up in the 90s loved the TVC version which had Rik Mayall as Toad. Michael Palin as Rat . Alan Bennet as Mole and Michael “Albus Dumbledore” Gambon as Badger Personally I found the character designs in this version nowhere near as good as Cosgrove Hall’s But I’m mainly just nitpicking here, as the animation in this version is of a sublime quality I guess, I just prefer Mole and Badger to wear glasses and I think Toad looks far too green here I mean, he looks more like a plump frog than an actual toad. I Think a lot of diehard Rik Mayall fans would choose this version as their favourite Purely on the biased opinion that Rik Mayall is voicing Toad Although Rik gave it his all and he even won an award for his vocal performance in this version, for me He is way too shouty and over-the-top aggressive. “HELLO, YOU FELLOWS!” “YOU’RE JUST IN TIME!” “Ha, Ha. Hello, you Fellows!” “You’re just in time to come for a jolly spin..” Although, to be fair, Mayall can be humourous, when he delivers some of his lines in these movies. One thing I will credit TVC for, is that they are the only company, to adapt “The Wind in the Willows, apart from Cosgrove Hall, who made a sequel set after the original novel. TVC adapted William Horwood’s “The Willows in Winter” and whilst it was a faithful adaption of the book I find Toad way too much of a dick in this story I mean he lets Ratty fall out of a plane without even caring that much. This little bit is left out of the cartoon movie, but in “The Willows in Winter” novel. The author Mentions that Toad switches off the plane’s engine on purpose to get Rat to panic and jump out of the plane. Jesus! I know Toad was always a selfish brat, but that’s just going way too far! So, sorry to all you Rik Mayall fans out there, but given the choice between Rik Mayall’s Toad and David Jason’s Toad David Jason’s version wins hands down no contest. I’m just too Intelligent! That’s my problem! Around the same time, the Cosgrove Hall version was being produced, over in the States, American animation company Rankin/Bass Decided to envision a slice of riverbank life as well. Although the US accents don’t suit the characters at all. This version has quite a few catchy songs in its soundtrack. Around in boats! The Cosgrove Hall version was a big success when it was shipped to the States In fact, It was picked up by the Disney Channel. And for a UK product be shown by Disney was a big deal So, naturally, the show gained a lot of international fans to I love “Winning the Windows”, because it teaches kids that Even in a beautiful English village like that People are still arseholes and they try to con you and nick your house! My second favorite version of Willows is actually a live-action version adapted by and starring Monty Python star, Terry Jones Jones played Toad whilst fellow Python star Eric Idle played Ratty with Steve Coogan as Mole and Nicol Williamson as Badger and Anthony Sher does a fantastic job as the evil But in this version, quite sophisticated, Chief Weasel With Robert Bathurst equally terrific as the Weasel Henchman. The song’s in this are great too Although this film strays far from the original source material like Disney’s does, I feel that this film still has good comedy, great songs, and quite a good cast too. Michael Palin also appears in this version as a talking Sun Over random things happening in this Pythonesque movie are a talking clock belonging to Mole, Mr. Toad’s solicitor (played by John Cleese), who demands his client be punished severely instead of trying to defend him. Another cameo from Stephen Fry as the magistrate and the Chief Weasel Hoping to blow up Toad Hall and building dog food factories. It’s good fun for families who want a movie more about Toad’s crazy antics instead of picnics by the river. Another live-action version was made by the BBC in 2006. This version was a lot closer to the original novel, and starred Matt Lucas from “Little Britain” as Toad. Lee Ingleby as Mole, Mark Gattiss as Rat. And Bob Hoskins as Badger. Personally, I feel the makeup in this live-action version isn’t as good as Terry Jones’s and some parts that are meant to be humourous come across as very childish and sometimes pantomime like It is quite humourous to see Bob Hoskins play Badger though, seeing as he’s shorter than all the other actors. Going back to Cosgrove Hall’s version. Apart from the genius writing of Brian Trueman. I love stop-motion animation. Everything looks more detailed than when it’s been drawn, the cars, bottles of champagne, cups of tea… No stone was left unturned and there’s incredible detail in absolutely everything. Even footprints and tyre marks made in the snow. I love Wallace and Gromit too. Nick Park does a wonderful job. But what does irk me though. Is how much praise Wallace and Gromit gets. When the amount of Wallace and Gromit films and projects, is so minimal compared to The Wind in the Willows, especially this version. Willows had 65 episodes and two feature-length specials. Although now Shaun the Sheep has its own spin-off. I guess the Wallace and Gromit franchise is growing a lot more. Willows definitely deserves more credit. “A Grand Day Out” and “The Wrong Trousers” are shown on BBC One, about five times every year. Willows hasn’t even been shown on TV, Well, UK TV most certainly, since 1998. Like I mentioned earlier, it has a sophisticated sense of humour, most of the time, that if you don’t really take in, it can go over your head Particularly when you’re very young. I never really liked that show. It was a bit too intellectual for me. Ah, I’ve changed my mind. It’s the best show, I’ve ever seen! Though the show has his fair share of slapstick comedy, as well “Oh, Bother!” “I wonder where that one…” “Good Heavens!” “He’s dozed off as well” ” I hope he’s alright for the match…”Oh, well, well, here’s my ball!” The voice cast in this version is 100 % the best. David Jason not only voices Toad… But also the Chief Weasel… Yeah And Billy Rabbit. Richard Pearson does a great job of shy Mole. “It does sound a little ambitious, Toad”. Peter Sallis does a good Ratty. “Yes, well, it’s alright now. ” I’ve repainted the wall”. As well as voicing Wallace “Cracking toast, Gromit!” And Sir Michael Hordern, gives his all, as gruff Badger “Vainglorious creature!” Ian Carmichael who voiced Rat in the movie. “I say, there’s old Badger”. Does a nice job as the narrator of the show. “In the countryside that spread, from either bank of the calmly flowing river, The year’s colours were growing, as the year itself grew”. This version has something for everyone, all the chapters of the book were covered in the Movie and the First Series of the Show and there was lots of new, funnier stories. That didn’t stray too far from the original source material. The only nitpick I do have with Brian Trueman, is that he wrote three different episodes, centred around the same storyline Where the Weasels con Toad by pretending to be, stockbrokers one-time, architects and railway solicitors, just by wearing posh clothes. Seriously, how can Toad not recognise the villains who have robbed him so many times? Is he seriously that stupid? But Overall, Cosgrove Hall’s Wind in the Willows. Will always be the number one version for me. I hope anyone watching, enjoyed this video as much as I did making it. This is Baz Banter93 signing out. POOP POOP!


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