Voices: Rory Carty, Andrew Clitheroe, June Whitfield, Richard Wilson, June Watson, Jenny Moore, Mary Jane Bowe, Sarah Woolcock, Enn Reitel, Moir Lesley.

Voices: Rory Carty, Andrew Clitheroe, June Whitfield, Richard Wilson, June Watson, Jenny Moore, Mary Jane Bowe, Sarah Woolcock, Enn Reitel, Moir Lesley.

In the 100 years since Beatrix Potter created the “Peter Rabbit” characters, no animated adaptation had ever been authorized until now, and TVC London has made the wait well worthwhile. “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” seems guaranteed to become a classic, rivaling the source material’s popularity and durability.

The lavish production budget ($ 11 million for six episodes) and the generous animation (24 cels per second) pays off in a gorgeous production that adroitly re-tells Potter’s endearing tales using her original words and visuals.

The spellbinding voicework, directed by Geoff Dunbar, allows the story to unfold with wit and vitality. No shrill exaggerations needed here to bring the pictures to life — with “Peter Rabbit’s” luxurious animation, the voices can meld beautifully with the artwork, rather than being called upon to prop up the artwork as is almost always the case with TV animation.

This first episode tells the familiar “Peter Rabbit” tale about his misadventures on Mr. McGregor’s farm. The animation and voicework are right on the mark, allowing young and old viewers alike to really feel Peter’s terror at the prospect of ending up in one of Mrs. McGregor’s pies.

Kudos to the Family Channel for picking up this beautiful international effort, apparently having caught the network kidvid departments napping.

Future episodes, alas, will follow slowly, with five premieres scheduled for the coming year.

But, as with the entire series itself, the wait should be well worth it.

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends the Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny

(Mon. (29), 8-8:30 p.m., Family Channel)

Production

Filmed by TVC London Prods. for Frederick Warne & Co. in association with the BBC, Pony Canyon Inc. and Fuji Television Network Inc. Animated by Grand Slamm Partnership Ltd. Exec producer, Jonathan Peel; producer, John Coates; episode producer, Ginger Gibbons; live-action producer-director, Dennis Abey; episode director, Geoff Dunbar; series director-writer, Dianne Jackson; based on stories by Beatrix Potter.

Crew

Camera, Mike Thompson; live-action editor, Taylor Grant; animation editors, Corinne Lejeune, Jamie Martin; series art directors, Jill Brooks, Michael Gabriel; music, Colin Towns.

Cast

Cast: Niamh Cusack.
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