Matt Lucas, who stars as Davydd - the "Only Gay In The Village" - in BBC comedy series Little Britain is now starring as Toad in the BBC's new production of Wind in the Willows to be screened on Boxing Day (26th December).

The Wind in the Willows - popular with British children - is a classic of children's literature written in 1908 by Kenneth Grahame . The story is alternately slow-moving and fast-paced, focusing on three animal characters in a bucolic version of England . The book is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality and camaraderie. It gives as much pleasure to adult readers as to children, although for rather different reasons.

Its main chaaracters are Toad of Toad Hall, a rat and a badger.
The only Toad in the village

Little Britain's Matt Lucas immerses himself in new role for Wind In The Willows on TV

By EWAN FLETCHER, The Mail on Sunday 21st October 2006

(bottom)Toad of Toad Hall as shown in the 1980s animated series of Wind in the Willows. (Top and middle)The BBC's new Wind in the Willows has Toad looking more humanoid than frog.

There is no need for green make-up. With his bald head and rotund figure, Matt Lucas requires only a flamboyant tweed suit to turn him into a convincing Mr Toad.

The Little Britain comedian has just finished filming a spectacular 5million star-studded production of The Wind In The Willows, to be screened on the BBC on Boxing Day.

In it Lucas, pictured here for the first time in the role, swaps the latex leotards he wears as Dafydd, The Only Gay In The Village, for some equally bizarre Victorian outfits.

They include a green-checked three-piece suit with extraordinary blue piping, a red tartan outfit with plus-four breeches and a set of pink and green striped overalls.

In one scene, Toad is even reminiscent of Lucas's other outrageously camp character, Florence the moustachioed transvestite.

The arrogant amphibian escapes from jail disguised as a washerwoman in a long dress, shawl and floral bonnet that distinctly resemble those worn by his 'laydee' in Little Britain.

Bob Hoskins, who plays Badger, sports equally outrageous costumes - and even has white stripes dyed into his hair. The film also stars Anna Maxwell Martin and Imelda Staunton.

The screenplay, adapted from Kenneth Grahame's book, was written by Lee Hall, best known for Billy Elliot. But purists may be upset that this most bucolic of English tales was in fact filmed in the ancient forests of Romania.

  • Mole – a mild-mannered, home-loving animal, and the first character the reader is introduced to. Originally overawed by the hustle and bustle of riverside life, he eventually adapts to it.
  • Ratty (the European Water Rat ) – relaxed and friendly, he loves the river and takes Mole under his wing.
  • Mr. Toad – the richest character and owner of Toad Hall. Although good-natured, Toad is impulsive and self-satisfied. He goes through obsessions with crazes, such as punting, houseboating, horse-drawn caravans, each of which in turn he bores of and drops. Eventually he discovers motor-cars, and after a series of accidents is imprisoned for theft, dangerous driving and impertinence to the rural police. Several chapters of the book chronicle his escape, disguised as a washer-woman. His friends eventually reform him and win back Toad Hall, which has been usurped by the weasels and stoats in his absence.
  • Mr. Badger – A kindly but solitary figure who 'simply hates society'. He can be seen as the wise hermit, embodying common sense.
Other Characters
  • Otter – a friend of Ratty
  • Portly – son of Otter
  • The Magistrate
  • The Court Clerk
  • The Gaoler
  • The Gaoler's Daughter
  • The Engine Driver
  • The Barge Woman
  • The Gypsy
  • The Chief Weasel
  • The god Pan – makes a single, otherwise anomalous, appearance
  • The Wayfarer; a vagabond water vole (water rat), who also makes a single appearance
  • Inhabitants of "the Wild Wood"
    • Weasels, stoats and foxes and so on: described by Ratty to Mole as: They're all right in a way--I'm very good friends with them--pass the time of day when we meet, and all that--but they break out sometimes, there's no denying it, and then--well, you can't really trust them, and that's the fact.
    • The squirrels : in Ratty's opinion "are all right".
    • The rabbits : Ratty thinks some of 'em are all right, but "rabbits are a mixed lot".

Last edited by Blackleaf; Oct 22nd, 2006 at 06:16 AM..