The Wind in the Willows

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The Wind in the Willows is a 52-episode TV series that originally aired between 1984 and 1987, based on characters from Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows and following the 1983 film The Wind in the Willows. It was made by animation company Cosgrove Hall for Thames Television and shown on the ITV network. An hour-long feature, A Tale of Two Toads, aired in 1989, and further season of 13 episodes was aired in 1990 under the title Oh! Mr Toad in some countries, whilst retaining the title The Wind in the Willows in others.

The series stars Sir David Jason as Toad, Sir Michael Hordern as Badger, Peter Sallis as Rat (replacing Ian Carmichael who voiced Rat in the original 1983 film), and Richard Pearson as Mole. Ian Carmichael remained in the series, re-cast as the narrator.

The series is set in Riverbank, a mythical location somewhere in Berkshire. The Riverbank is where Ratty, Mole and Toad live near there is the Wild Wood where Badger and the Wily Weasels live. Each episode has a unique story line, although there are some common themes running throughout the series. In series 4 The humans start building a new railway that is about to be built through the area where the animals live. The show teaches children about the destruction of forests and animals natural habits. The railway gets closer and closer to the animals homes yet in the episode Happy New Year it turns out that the railway would be travelling under unsuitable land therefore abadoning the route from the riverbank & wild wood areas.

Stone Roses guitarist John Squire worked on this series for Cosgrove Hall.

The popular theme song - based on the instrumental theme to the original film - was sung by British singer-songwriter Ralph McTell.



Main Characters

  • Mole - A mild-mannered, home-loving animal. Voiced by Richard Pearson.
  • Ratty - Mole's friend. Voiced by Peter Sallis.
  • Toad - The wealthiest character and owner of Toad Hall. Although good-natured, Toad is impulsive and conceited. Voiced by David Jason.
  • Badger - A gruff, solitary figure who "simply hates society", yet is a good friend to Mole and Ratty. A friend of Toad's now-deceased father, he is often firm and serious with Toad, but at the same time generally patient and well-meaning towards him. Voiced by Michael Hordern.
  • Chief Weasel - The main villain in The Wind in the Willows. He and his band of weasels from the Wild Wood plot to take over Toad Hall. Voiced by David Jason
  • Weasel Henchman - the Chief's second-in-command; known for his catchphrase, "Very nice, very nice!". Voiced by Brian Trueman.

Recurring Characters

  • Billy Rabbit - "Billy" is present in all series. Billy is first a fieldmouse, voiced by an unknown actor - he appears in the episode "The Great Steamer" - and then by the familiar David Jason from "The Rescue" onwards. Jason's version famously says "Yes, Mr. Badger, no, Mr. Badger." Series 3 sees Jason's voice use the rabbit's model.
  • Alfred - "Alfred" is Toad's miserable and disagreeable horse who always refuses to do what Toad wants to do. He briefly appeared in the movie with a singing role and then made on and off appearances in the series. His catchphrase is "Nope" or "I". Voiced by Brian Trueman.
  • Auberon Mole - Mole's cousin; in the series, is a well-known playwright, and the focus of the episodes "Mole's Cousin", "Auberon's Return" and "Happy New Year".
  • Ms Carrington-Moss - The magistrate in the movie; she appears in the episodes, "The Grand Annual Show", "Buried Treasure", and "Burglary at Toad Hall". Voiced by Beryl Reid.
  • Reggie and Rosemary - The owners of the stolen motor car in the movie; they appear in the episodes, "The Grand Annual Show", and "Burglary at Toad Hall".
  • Thomas - Auberon's chauffeur and personal assistant, who is also a toad. He appears in the episodes "Mole's Cousin" and "Happy New Year".
  • Ernest - A young shrew.


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