One of the Christmas offerings from the BBC this year was The Borrowers, a modern adaptation of the Mary Norton classic.
Although it is a well-known story it hasn’t been adapted for the screen many times. It was made into a film in the 1970s and once again in the 1990s, and more recently an anime version from Studio Ghibli. But the television series of the 1990s with Penelope Wilton and Ian Holm is one of my all time favourite shows, let alone adaptation of The Borrowers, so this new version had a lot to live up to.
There is no doubt that scenes were a very small man treats the humble living room as an assault course all to get one Quality Street for pudding is mesmerising. But after that it just felt weird.
The cast, all good actors, just felt wrong. Christopher Eccleston as Pod saved the borrowers once before and retired before reaching 50. Sharon Horgan as Homily had raised a child begging to join the adult world at 40 and now Victoria Wood is a grandmother to quite a grown up child. All this miscasting of ages made it jar slightly.
And Stephen Fry being evil and lusting after Victoria Wood was strange.
My biggest annoyance about the show was the modernisation of it. As a child I loved Arrietty, she owned a miniature book set and wrote in her diary using a small pencil but to her was one of those inconveniently large pencils.
She acted like a teenager does, wanting to be like her parents and at the same time not. But in this version she wanted a man to call her own and that man should not be her father.
So she stumbles out into the world to find Spiller, who has now become a tearaway (made obvious by the fact that he is wearing a leather jacket) and had set his eyes on Arrietty.
This modern update of the story completely missed the important bit that Spiller was actually a nice person just wild and knew more about the world than Arrietty. They developed a friendship which allowed Arrietty to get to know more about the world rather than just she found a pretty man to kiss.
So I found this Christmas treat completely missed the mark as it just took the originally story at face value and missed the important aspects of growing up and why Arrietty is such a good character, rather than a girl annoyingly screeching at her father about nothing.