Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood, and Christopher Eccleston have been cast to star in The Borrowers alongside Robbie Sheehan (Misfits), Aisling Loftus (Dive), Sharon Horgan (Free Agents, Pulling) and Shaun Dooley (Exile, South Riding) in an action-packed adventure film for all the family on BBC One this Christmas.
Written by Ben Vanstone (Merlin, EastEnders) and produced by Working Title Television, the 90-minute film is an adaptation of Mary Norton’s classic children’s books that brings the world of the tiny Borrowers who live under our floorboards into the 21st century.
Aisling Loftus plays Arrietty Clock, a head-strong teenage Borrower who is desperate to explore life outside her hidden family home. Her parents, Pod and Homily – played by Christopher Eccleston and Sharon Horgan – are terrified of the world of the “human beans” and are fiercely protective of their daughter. Arrietty sneaks out one night and befriends James, a lonely boy who lives above her in the house with his father Robert Millman – played by Shaun Dooley. This leads to a world of trouble when the Borrowers’ hidden home is discovered by his formidable grandmother and they are forced to abandon their home and venture into the big wide world.
Victoria Wood plays Grandma Driver. She knows the “little people” exist, she’s always known, and is determined to hunt them out of her house. Stephen Fry plays scientist Professor Mildeye who also knows of the little people and their existence. Determined to restore his reputation and resurrect his academic career, he’ll go to any length to capture them and reveal their identity to the world.
Robbie Sheehan plays Spiller; a leather jacketed tearaway who takes quite a shine to Arriety. She’s not quite sure what to make of this, but when her parents are captured by the evil Professor Mildeye, she is forced to enlist both Spiller’s and human bean James’ help. They go on a series of daring adventures to try and outsmart Mildeye and return the Clock family to their former home in time for Christmas.
Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One, says: “The Borrowers will be part of a really special family Christmas on BBC One and with with its stellar line-up it is set to be a truly wonderful programme.”
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “A brilliant and bold contemporary version of this classic tale with all the charm of the original but with a thrilling, moving and funny modern sensibility written and directed by two of our most exciting young talents with an amazing cast – it’s the perfect Christmas present!”
Juliette Howell, Head of Television, Working Title, says: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Ben’s take on this classic story. It feels fresh, original and above all funny. The perfect Christmas treat.”