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24 September 2014

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Mark Gatiss as Rat, Matt Lucas as Toad and Lee Ingleby as Mole

New Year's Day, 6.20pm, BBC One

Famous faces are subtly transformed into Kenneth Grahame's much loved animal characters.

For Matt Lucas this means being dressed in green with a false belly and stick-on warts.

"It's an hour in make-up," reveals Matt, "I have strange eye sockets that make me look quite different with enlarged eyebrows. To get inside the skin of Toad I use gestures that are toad-like.

"Toad's a wonderful iconic character, very proud and arrogant but lovable. He's a dandy and a wastrel."

Did you know?

Writer Kenneth Grahame originally created the adventures of Toad, in letter form, to amuse his son, born in 1900. The book was published in 1908.

We learn about life on the riverbank through the experiences of Mole, played by Lee Ingleby.

"For my teeth, they put an enamel paint on," explains Lee, "I don't mind the look. It just comes off when you are talking sometimes, which is disconcerting. My nose is prosthetic and it's strange to have that."

Film star Bob Hoskins suffers for his art as Badger.

"My shoulders, joints and back all ache from playing this part," reveals Bob.

"It's because I've given him a certain walk, all hunched shoulders and moving from side to side. I wanted to get the correct Badger posture but as a result I've got all the aches and pains!"

Did you know?

The Wind in the Willows' Costume Designer Vinilla Burnham, previously created animal costumes, including Aslan, in the BBC's The Chronicles of Narnia. She also designed the batsuit for the 1989 Batman film.

Matt Gatiss explains how he brings Rat to life.

"I'm mostly human, but I just do the odd thing like standing in a different way, or when I'm running, I try to make it more animated," says Mark.

"I thought the twitches, as long as they're kept subtle, would be good, and I hold my hand, or paw, in a certain way.

"My real nose looks like a prosthetic nose and I have sticky out ratty ears, which look very convincing. The teeth are a bit uncomfortable because they are on wire and clip on, but they give you such a good look."

The Wind in the Willows was filmed in Bucharest, and has been adapted by Lee Hall, who previously wrote Billy Elliot.

Further information:
  • Wikipedia entry on The Wind in the Willows »*
  • Wikipedia entry on Kenneth Grahame »*

  • * The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    Actor Profiles

    Bob Hoskins as Badger

    Bob's been the star of many hit movies, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? More recently he went looking for dinosaurs in The Lost World.

    Matt Lucas as Toad

    Matt's used to dressing up in unusual costumes in Little Britain. Read more about Matt »

    Mark Gatiss as Rat

    Mark's written episodes of Doctor Who and played many characters as part of The League of Gentlemen.

    Lee Ingleby as Mole

    Lee's more used to playing tough characters in dramas such as Life on Mars and The Street.

    Imelda Staunton as the Barge Lady
    Imelda Staunton
    The Barge Lady

    Anna Maxwell Martin as the Gaoler's Daughter
    Anna Maxwell Martin*
    The Gaoler's Daughter

    * The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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