Downton Abbey creator to pen Wind in the Willows musical

Julian Fellows relocates to Toad Hall for stage version of Kenneth Grahame's classic

LAST UPDATED AT 13:15 ON Fri 9 Dec 2011

JULIAN FELLOWES, the creator of Downton Abbey, is swapping one stately home for another as he relocates to Toad Hall to pen a new musical version of Kenneth Grahame's famous children's tale, The Wind in the Willows.
 
He will work on the latest stage adaptation of the novel, featuring the much-loved characters Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mr Toad, with composers and lyricists George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The trio last worked together on a West End and Broadway production of another family favourite, Mary Poppins.
 
Grahame's book, set on an English riverbank and first published in 1908, has become a classic and spawned many stage and screen versions.
 
It was first turned into a play, Toad of Toad Hall, by AA Milne in 1929, while Alan Bennett's 1991 interpretation has become a Christmas favourite.
 
A 1996 TV film version featured Monty Python members Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin, plus Stephen Fry and Steve Coogan. In the 1980s there was a long-running stop-animation TV series based on the book featuring David Jason.
 
Fellowes appeared undaunted by the task of re-interpreting the book. "I suspect this is something I've been wanting to do subconsciously for many years," he told The Daily Telegraph.
 
The BBC reports that the show will be created with the aim of a run in the West End, although a venue and dates have yet to be announced. · 

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