Beatrix Potter was one of my favourite authors when I was a kid, and at 17 I still love her stories to this day. They are just so simple and charming that they are so easy to like. So is this truly wonderful series. The series consists of 9 episodes based on her books- The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly Poly Pudding, The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle Duck, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Tale of Pigling Bland, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle and Jeremy Fisher, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs Tittlemouse. The Tale of Mr Tod and The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town Mouse. I really cannot decide on a personal favourite of mine, for they are all so brilliant, but if I must probably Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, though Tailor of Gloucester is a perfect Christmas treat.
Back to the series, the live action sequences were exceedingly charming and exquisitely filmed. The period detail was splendid and the scenery was breathtaking. Niamh Cusack as Beatrix Potter was perfect, exactly as I imagined her, shy, quiet and reflective who found solace in her drawings and stories. The animation was just like Miss Potter's illustrations, and they were colourful and carefully drawn. And the music was just outstanding, and is careful not to overpower what is going on screen. The song Perfect Day, both in melody and lyrics, is one of the best songs I have ever heard, and Miriam Stockley's vocals were perfection. The episodes themselves are remarkably true to their source, and lose none of their charm. The world of Beatrix Potter is a wondrous place I find, full of bunnies, kittens, hedgehogs and ducks, that are every bit as sweet as they are likable. Also there was clearly a great deal of care into finding a perfect voice cast for each episode. Some of our finest actors and actresses June Witfield(Mrs Rabbit), Shiela Hancock(John Thaw's wife, Anna Maria), Ian Holm(The Tailor), Pam Ferris(Auntie Pettitoes), Derek Jacobi(Jeremy Fisher), Anna Massey(Mrs Tittlemouse) and Hugh Laurie(Johnny Town Mouse)all but to name a few expertly bring their characters to life, and make the most of faithful and well written material.
Overall, The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends is a must see if you love Beatrix Potter like I do. It doesn't spoil the books at all, and Miss Potter herself would be proud if she saw this series. It is charming, handsome, faithful and so relaxing to watch. I also recommend the 1971 ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter, because that is every bit as delightful. Plus the late great Frederick Ashton himself makes an appearance as Miss Tiggy Winkle. A definite 10/10 Bethany Cox
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