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The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame
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Novel to Film
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The Wind in the Willows      TV PG
Airing Sunday, April 8, 2007 on PBS
(Check local listings; dates and times may vary)

The most charming small mammals you'll ever meet team up with the world's most exasperating amphibian to pursue their merry adventures in this adaptation based on Kenneth Grahame's beloved children's classic, The Wind in the Willows.

This presentation, the first Masterpiece Theatre production presented in high-definition, dispenses with animation and relies instead on the striking animal instincts of some very talented actors. Which is only proper, since Grahame's story features animals acting like people -- like slightly barmy Edwardian-era gentlemen, to be exact.

British comedian Matt Lucas stars as gadget-crazed Mr. Toad, the irresponsible scion of a great fortune, which he splurges on boats, a caravan, motorcars, and a flamboyant wardrobe.

Toad's buddies are the stern Badger, played by Bob Hoskins; easy-going Ratty, played by Mark Gatiss; and diffident but loyal Mole, played by Lee Ingleby.

Also appearing are Anna Maxwell Martin as the Gaoler's Daughter, who befriends the forlorn Toad in prison; and Imelda Staunton as the Barge Lady, who sets out to outwit the web-toed schemer after his jail break.

Toad's hilarious misadventures form the exciting core of The Wind in the Willows, which started out as a series of bedtime stories told by Grahame to his young son in the early years of the 20th-century.

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