01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
Region 2 DVD: pub: BBC 3. 172 minutes 6 * 26 minute episodes. Price: GBP 4.99 (UK) if you really know where to look cast: Ian Holm, Penelope Wilton and Rebecca Callard.
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The second DVD series of ‘The Borrowers’ combines the stories from ‘The Borrowers Afloat’ and ‘The Borrowers Aloft’.
You know how it is. The Clock family are in another house and are quite safe from the two women who live there until one is hospitalised and the other moves down country for a time. Living close to patronising relatives and their two obnoxious and, frankly, irresponsible sons, Ditchley (actor Ben Chaplin) and Illrick (actor Ross McCall) who endangered Pod enough that he is captured by Mildeye (actor Tony Haygarth). Fortunately, he escapes and returns to the house with Spiller (actor Daniel Newman) and home for the school holidays, George (actor Paul Cross). Things aren’t going too well for George as his relative has died and Mrs. Driver (actress Siân Philips) has the run of the house. With no supply of food and fed up with their relatives and helped by Spiller, the Clocks decide to leave, using a secret exist of Ditchley and Illrick, who when they realise they have gone that way, empty the bath as yet another prank.
The survive being drowned and Spiller knows a place where they can live, Little Fordham, but it would take nine days to walk there but two days by stream. Spiller (actor David Newman) and Arietty (actress Rebecca Callard) go and see if George can supply them with something they can use as a boat. Meanwhile, Ditchley and Illrick trap Pod (actor Ian Holm) and his wife Homily (actress Penelope Wilton) in a kettle, where they are nearly drowned in a shower. When Spiller and Arietty return, they find the drowned kettle but not Pod and Homily. As they encounter Ditchley and Illrick, the two Clock parents return and Pod calls them totally irresponsible and gets them rushing home when he explains that by emptying the bath, they emptied the house of any water which won’t please their parents.
They, on the other hand, go down the stream with Spiller to Little Fordham which is a model village. As they settle in, Arietty is seen by Miss Menzies (actress Gemma Jones), who unknown to them is a second cousin to George and has recently taken him in. The only thing they have to be careful of are the open days for the public and Pod nearly becoming target practice for a couple boys, but saved by George.
The Platters (actress Judy Parfitt and actor Robert Lang) are at a loss as to why Little Fordham is more successful their model village, Ballyhuggin, but Mrs. Driver convinces them of the existence of the Borrowers and they sneak in one night and capture them. Locked in an attic, the Clock family discover that they are to become exhibits in a sealed house. Escape seems impossible until Arietty discovers in a magazine how to make a hot air balloon. I defy anyone not to clap when they escape. A truly tense moment and a crash-landing that isn’t far from Little Fordham. Arriving home, they discover that their house has been equipped and Spiller waiting for them. Fearing that even kindness from human beans is just as much a prison, they leave by boat with Spiller seeking another home.
The extras include a photo gallery, a behind the scenes feature that demonstrates the blue screen technology used in 1993. I’m not sure if I agree with them that the Borrowers are seven inches high, especially when they are smaller than a wall dern’s height. There’s a longer feature with members of the cast Rebecca Callard (Arieitty), David Newman (Spiller) and Ross McCall (Ilrick) who discuss the story and behind the scenes at length.
Like with the first season, the second season of ‘The Borrowers’ is still a gem of perfect cast to decently budgeted effects. A real act of love for the material that has never been bettered. It’s been out a while now but if you haven’t got it yet, don’t leave too long.
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