Every bit as good as the animated version, though undeservedly in the shadow of it
'The Tailor of Gloucester' is one of my favourites of Beatrix Potter's stories, and adapted to superb effect in one of the best episodes of the animated series 'The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends', still a great Christmas favourite.
Every bit as good, but not nearly as well known and in the shadow of the animated adaptation, is a live action version from 1989, with a wonderful marriage of music, storytelling and dance while still showing complete respect for Potter's story and the feel of it.
It fares strongly in the lavish production values, that have atmosphere but also adhere to the colour and quaintness of the story, love the use of snow falling gently over the sets representing the town. The music is a mix of the whimsical, tender lyricism and haunting pathos, with lovely use of carols and such.
Dancing is athletic and graceful, with lively but also intricate choreography, and never distracts from the simple but charming and touching story. There is a real Christmassy feel and even though it's not the illustrations from the story or the animated visuals one is still immersed into Potter's quaint but enchanting world.
Characters are true to personality and never out of character, Simpkin being played by a full-grown man in costume may be peculiar at first but the cantankerous and crafty traits of Simpkin's character still comes through and to be honest it couldn't have been done any other way. The mice provide much charm and resourceful, being particularly faithful to Potter's drawings.
Ian Holm is a very deeply felt Tailor, and Lynn Redgrave narrates with sincerity.
Overall, the animated version is more famous but this less-easy-to-find and every bit as good live action version does not deserve the relative obscurity or being in the shadow of the animated version. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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