TV: The Borrowers – Christmas 2011 Preview

On Tuesday through the magical power of Twitter I won two free tickets to a preview screening of one of the BBC‘s big Christmas productions for 2011, a brand new adaptation of classic children’s story The Borrowers.

Everybody knows the story of the little people living beneath the floorboards whether it’s through reading the books by Mary Norton, the numerous TV productions or, like me, from the 1997 film starring Jim Broadbent. Despite the Borrowers not being magical the story is a fantastic fantasy tale and is perfect for Christmas broadcasting.

This adaptation has a great cast including Christopher Eccleston, Sharon Horgan and Robert Sheehan (the main reason I was interested in seeing it I’ll be honest!) and has cameos from national treasures like Victoria Wood and Stephen Fry (always a guaranteed crowd pleaser!). It also has a particularly fantastic performance by young boy whose name I can’t find on the normally reliable IMDB but who plays the main ‘bean’ role.

The Clock family hide under their jam jar lid table

The story follows the same plot as most other adaptations with the Borrowers living happily under floorboards before being discovered and being forced to move out of the comfort of their own home. It’s a tale of discovery and growing-up as Arriety desires to meet other Borrowers and escape the family home, but when the opportunity actually presents itself it shows the importance of family and the strong connection between the ‘little people’. It’s predominantly an adventure that is great fun to be involved with and keeps you running with it, managing to keep up and waiting to see what comes next. 

The scenery is absolutely fantastic – it must be such great fun to create props that would be the right size for us, but are huge for the Borrowers. Scenes where Arriety is kept in a shoe box, and her parents are kept in a specimen jar are very cleverly done, even down to how their voices are projected from behind glass. The finest detail is paid attention to, even down to the large stitching and zips on clothes and the consistency of water, which is much thicker for the tiny Borrowers.

The preview screening was held at BAFTA and was followed by a Q&A with the writer, director and two actors. They clearly had a ball working in such an imaginative playground and seem very proud of the outcome, as they should be. The Borrowers is a great family-viewing experience for all ages and will certainly go down well after all the turkey sandwiches I’ll be stuffing down my face on Boxing Day!

The Borrowers screens on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 7.30pm.