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  Short British Films &  TV Specials
Wilfred Toadflax, ready for a spot of exploring in "Brambly Hedge: The High Hills" from HIT Entertainment

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Brambly Hedge:
The High Hills   (1999)
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   producers:  HOT Animation for HIT Entertainment
                      in association with the BBC
   animation:  stop-motion animation
      run time:  25mins

    "The High Hills - You're going to the High Hills?
     Oh, Mr Apple, may I go too?"


    It's a misty autumnal morning, on the cusp of Winter. An inspiring morning,
    as it happens, because Young Wilfred Toadflax has been dreaming of explorers,
    and reading about them in his favourite book "Daring Explorers of Olde Hedgeways".
    Wilfred wants nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Sir Hogweed

    Lucky for Wilfred, his dream is about to come true. Mr and Mrs Toadflax have
    been weaving blankets for the Voles who live in the High Hills, to keep them snug
    through the winter months. They're dyed with a unique gold lichen - Great Grandpa
    Blackthorn's special lichen - which grows in the mountains, in some long lost
    location. Alas, it's now run out. Still, they've enough blankets for the time
    being, and they and Mr Apple will soon be off to deliver their wares. And
    - yes - Wilfred can come too, provided he gets permission from his parents.
    It doesn't take much begging from the youngster to get their agreement, and
    two provisos. He must be helpful, and he must always do what Mr Apple says.
    Our Wilfred eagerly agrees, of course, and he takes additional advice from the
    words of  Sir Hogweed Horehound.

    "A good explorer should take in his trusty pack, all he
    needs to survive an adventure..."

    Wilfred's own pack is positively brimming with trusty equipment and provisions.
    And although it draws a few chuckles from his family and friends, it's safe to say
    that its contents actually prove more than useful as his adventure in High Hills

    Thus begins the sixth film in the "Brambly Hedge" series. And yet again,
    it's a feast for the eyes and the ears. Each frame is imbued with lovely
    seasonal detail and atmosphere. Here we have the grey mists of Autumn
    on show, with muted colours in the landscape, and the little inhabitants
    are swaddled in thick scarves and coats as they embark on their mini
    adventure. Gosh, the tailoring is magnificent. There are such textures and
    stitches in those minute mousey clothes. And the lighting is extraordinary.
    Wilfred and Mr Apple get lost in the High Hills, and as the fog surrounds them,
    so they are enveloped in chilly grey and violet hues. Meanwhile, their concerned
    friends and relatives flit between the houses of the hedgerow, lit with
    cozy orange firelight which spills through the windows, drawing them
    towards company and kinship...

    Once more, little Wilfred steals the show. He is instilled with such enthusiasm
    for his little adventure, from whiskers to tail. And it's balanced by Mr Apple's
    sturdiness. They may be lost, and his old injured paw may well be troubling
    him so, but Mr Apple remains steadfast and true for his little companion.
    And admiring of him too, for Wilfred proves to be the pluckiest of his explorers
    with his trusty pack. There's a fair bit of drama in this tale, with some suitably
    vertiginous camerawork accompanying the pair as they climb the hills. Their
    whitewater descent includes some ambitious and clever juxtapositioning, with
    the models riding computer-generated rapids. It all ends safely, back home at the
    hedgerow and another of this series' exquisite delights: The multi character
    shot. This viewer counted thirteen excitable mice crammed in to frame,
    enthusing to Wilfred's tales of adventure with Mr Apple.

    So what we have here is yet another flawless adaptation to savour. Students
    should be forced to watch this, to see just how much craftsmanship has gone
    in to bringing Jill Barklem's mousey world to life. Oh, and let's not forget
    the voice cast. Jim Broadbent works wonders with Mr Vole, a rustic man
    of the hills whom you feel you've known all of your life already. And Wilfred's
    enthusiasm, and Primrose's precious concern for her friend. Ah, t'is great.
    These are films to watch on a chilly evening, cosseted in front of the fire
    with cocoa and cake - especially the tales set in Autumn and Winter,
    when the film makers really go to town with the seasonal toning...
    Come... gather round... fetch a blanket for snuggling and we'll watch
    it together...
Ernest Vole in "Brambly Hedge: The High Hills" from HIT Entertainment

     Broadcast info

     "The High Hills" premiered on BBC1, on 2nd April 1999...


    See also

    Series overview

    Brambly Hedge: Winter Story

    Brambly Hedge: Spring Story

    Brambly Hedge: The Secret Staircase

    Brambly Hedge: Sea Story

    Brambly Hedge: Poppy's Babies

     Further reading

    Brambly Hedge books at


     Brambly Hedge on DVD

     "The High Hills" is included in this four film compilation:

Brambly Hedge: The Classic Collection
                Region 2 / "The Secret Staircase", "The High Hills", "Sea Story"
                and "Poppy's Babies"
/ HIT Entertainment / January 2004

    Then there are these two releases:

     UK DVD Brambly Hedge: Spring Story
Region 2 / HIT Entertainment
/ April 2007

Christmas Children's Favourites
                This compilation DVD includes "Winter Story"
                Region 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

exec producers:

supervising director:





sets, decoupage
& miniatures:

art direction:
editorial consultant:
prod assistants:
production manager
for HIT:
model lighting
assistant camera:

dubbing mixer:
generated images:

post production:

Theresa Plummer-Andrews (for the BBC)
Kate Fawkes, Peter Orton (for HIT)
Brian Little

Jackie Cockle
Jocelyn Stevenson
Ernie Wood

Paul Couvela
George Laban, Jud Walton,
Mike Cottee, Timon Dowdeswell
Mackinnon and Saunders
Georgina Hayns, Bethan Jones,
Allison Lloyd, Darren Marshall,
Michelle Scattergood, Bridget Smith,

Stuart Sutcliffe, Mark Thompson,
Caroline Wallace
Geraldine Corrigan, Karen Betty,
Clare Elliott

Jon Fletcher, Lucy Beckett

Richard Sykes,
Jeff Spain, Rick Kent,
Samantha Hanks, Simon Walmsley,
Lucy Burscough
Yvonne Fox, Barbara Biddulph
Jane Fior
Bella Reekie, Macushla Carney

Karen Davidsen

Joe Dembinski, Peter Murphy
Shirlaine Forrest
Zyggy Markiewicz

Aad Wirtz

Colin Ralph
Shane Warden, Alan Bishop

    Robert Lindsay (narrator)
    Neil Morrisey (Wilfred Toadflax)
    Charlotte Coleman (Primrose Woodmouse)
    Jim Broadbent (Basil / Ernest Vole)

    June Whitfield (Mrs Apple / Heather Vole)

    Michael Williams (Mr Appple)
    Rosemary Leach (Lady Daisy Woodmouse / Old Mrs Eyebright)
    Anton Rodgers (Lord Woodmouse)
    Alun Lewis (Mr Toadflax)
    Noreen Kershaw (Mrs Toadflax / Mrs Crustybread)
    Kate Harbour (additional voices)
    David Holt (additional voices)


     On the web

     The World of Brambly Hedge 
     The official site including some handy details on the
     development of the films...

       HOT Animation
     The studio behind the hedgerow...

 Mackinnon & Saunders
     They made the mousey models and props...

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© HIT Entertainment Ltd & Jill Barklem / F2013