"I can be an Intrepid Sailor,
just like Wilfred - I know I can!"
This is the seventh of HIT Entertainment's
"Brambly Hedge" films, adapted from
books by Jill Barklem, and it's one that
takes us away from confines of that
tangling hedgerow, on a waterborne adventure
to the seaside. You see, the
hedge mice have run out of salt, and the
salters aren't due until next Summer,
so Dusty Dogwood and Poppy Eyebright are
going to sail their little boat -
the Periwinkle - all the way down the
river to visit the Saltapples, at
Seagull Rock, near Sandy Bay, beside the
Of course, this wouldn't be a proper "Brambly
Hedge" story without little
Wilfred Toadflax and Primrose Woodmouse
at the heart of events, and sure
enough, these two nibblers take centre
stage, right from the start. Wilfred's
going with Dusty and Poppy and he's learning
how to tie knots, all excited.
Why, he's going to be an Intrepid Sailor,
just like the ones described in the
book by his hero, Sir Hogweed Horehound.
Only, Primrose wants to come too.
And she wants to be an Intrepid Sailor,
as well, which gets
with frustration. She can't possibly become
an Intrepid Sailor. It's... well...
it's just not right...
Their little feud causes a temporary hitch
in the journey, as they run aground
on a mudbank. But they're soon on their
way again, and once at Seagull Rock
their little adventure gets much bigger,
as they meet Purslane and Frith
Saltapple and their littl'uns Pebble,
Shell and the oh-so-cute toddler, Shrimp,
and they have a strange luncheon, and
they see the sea for the very first
time. But they also encounter a ferocious
storm, which lashes the Saltapples'
beach house and leaves young Shrimp in
grave danger, until Intrepid
Primrose saves the day!
Just like its predecessors, "Sea
Story" is overflowing with miniature, mousy
delights brought to us by the teams at HOT
Animation and Mackinnon &
Saunders.The models, the furnishings,
the lighting - it's all exquisite - and
each little mouse imbued with such personality
as they walk and talk and
nibble and interact with one another.
In this instance, little Shrimp steals
the show, in her pink ribbon bonnet. The
way she behaves around
Primrose is just a joy to behold, whether
offering shells, or waving strings
of starfish. When events overwhelm her,
during the storm, and Primrose
attempts to distract her as the contents
of the Saltapple's kitchen
skirl around them - well - it's a technical
tour-de-force. Oh, but there's
so much more to behold and wonder at,
away from that set-piece finale.
There's Primrose's indignance towards
Wilfred before we set sail,
a magnificent tableau of the mice lounging on
the beach after lunch, and
then, the congregation in the stormbunker
lit by a single golden lamplight.
And let's not forget the set dressing.
The Saltapples' dinner table sports
conch shells for table legs, and there's
even a rocking seahorse in the
children's' bedroom. Truly, there
are too many moments and details
to list here, and each viewer will surely find
their own to savour.
Of course, the comparatively simple comings
and goings of a gaggle of
Edwardian mice are never going to be everyone's
cup of tea. But of their
type, and of that genre of classic animated
adaptation - well - the Brambly
Hedge films are simply flawless.
According to Sir Hogweed Horehound, Brambly
Hedge's greatest explorer,
Intrepid Sailors have to master three
Intrepid Sailor must be brave.
2. An Intrepid Sailor must be able to go with the
3. An Intrepid Sailor must be able to sail.
"Sea Story" premiered on BBC1,
on 29th December 1999...
Hedge: Winter Story
Hedge: Spring Story
Hedge: The Secret Staircase
Hedge: The High Hills
Hedge: Poppy's Babies
Hedge books at Amazon.co.uk
Hedge on DVD
"Sea Story" is included
in this four film compilation:
Hedge: The Classic Collection
2 / "The Secret Staircase", "The High Hills",
/ HIT Entertainment
/ January 2004
Then there are these two releases:
Hedge: Spring Story
2 / HIT Entertainment
/ April 2007
compilation DVD includes "Winter Story"
2 / HIT Entertainment / December 2005
a HOT Animation production for
HIT Entertainment PLC
in association with the BBC
based on the books by Jill Barklem