BBC Radio 4, 23-27 December 2013
This charming set of adaptations
revolved around the basic conceit of the protagonists of each tale, including Ginger (Reece Shearsmith), and Pickles
(John Henshaw), and Pigling Bland (Johnny Vegas), telling their stories to their counsellor Beaty (Morwenna Banks).
As they spoke, they came to understand the implications behind their various predicaments and how they might be solved; Ginger
and Pickles, for instance, realized that it wasn't enough to survive in the retail business by promising not to eat their
customers. They had to make money as well.
This discreet modernization of Beatrix Potter's work worked extremely well
insofar that it helped to emphasize the moral elements of the tales - although creating a charming world (based on the author's
own experiences of growing up in Cumbria), they also offer suggestions as to how we should behave. We should not
indulge in pointless rivalries, take care to look around us (and hence avoid Peter Rabbit's possible fate of being eaten up
by Mr. McGregor), try not to live beyond our means, both economically as well as emotionally, and treat everyone with respect.
this didacticism, the stories were nonetheless highly entertaining, performed by an all-star cast including Vegas, Janine
Duvitski and Seymour Mace, with a jolly score provided by Faze Music. One of my most treasured possessions in childhood
was a series of Potter adaptations on coloured vinyl 45rpm records, narrated by Vivien Leigh with music by Cyril Ornadel.
I have to say that Harrison's series was equally as good, if not better than those classics from the Sixties.
charming Christmas series in Radio 4's 15-Minute Drama slot was the work of Vegas' Woolyback Productions,
which is turning out to be one of the most inventive independent companies contributing to radio drama at present.