There’s a new trailer for Kenneth Grahame famous story, The Wind in the Willows. It’s terrifying. That’s its job.
When Grahame wrote his novel more than a century ago, the UK countryside was rather different. More than half of the UK’s species have declined in the last 50 years, due to challenges such as climate change, habitat loss and inappropriate development. The character, Ratty, in the story is a water vole, the BBC notes in its story, a species which is currently the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal. The UK has also lost seven in every ten toads that were around 30 years ago.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust adds, “97% of lowland meadows and the beautiful wildflowers, insects, mammals and birds that they supported have disappeared; 80% of our beautiful purple heathlands have vanished – with their blaeberries, sand lizards and the stunning nocturnal birds, nightjars. Rivers are in deep trouble too: only 20% are considered as healthy and 13% of freshwater and wetland species in Great Britain are threatened with extinction.”
So UK agency, Don’t Panic, has brought together an influential crowd – Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry – to star in its campaign for The Wildlife Trusts, to try to stop the rapid depletion of the UK’s natural landscape.
The film begins with the bucolic splendour the book evokes. It doesn’t last long. As the trailer progresses so does the damage that is wreaked on the animals’ world. At the trailer’s end, Toad hangs a picture of a puffin entangled in plastic on the wall in Toad Hall and says, “Farewell old friend.”
The magnificently crafted animation is by Rowdy.
Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive officer of The Wildlife Trusts, commented, “We are a nation of nature-lovers, yet we live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. If we want to put nature into recovery we have to create a mass movement of people calling for change. Our film is a sad version of Wind in the Willows – showing how Ratty and Toad have hit the buffers – but it ends with a message of real hope. It’s not too late to create strong laws which will help our wildlife make a comeback – and it’s not too late to establish a Nature Recovery Network which will enable us to plan a wilder future.”
Sir David Attenborough, president emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, who narrates the trailer, added, “It is desperately sad that so much of our country’s wildlife has been lost since Kenneth Grahame wrote his wonderful book The Wind in the Willows. Of all the characters in the book it is hard to know whose descendants have suffered the most. Water Voles, Toads and Badger’s friends in the book, Hedgehogs, have all seen catastrophic declines.
“I am backing The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to rally people to secure a ‘wilder future’ by restoring large areas of wildlife habitat, in city and country. What we create may not look exactly like the countryside that Kenneth Grahame drew such inspiration from, but our wildlife won’t mind just so long as it has the places it needs to live and thrive.”
Agency: Don’t Panic
Creative Partner: Rick Dodds
Senior Creative: George McCallum
Creative: Alice Dowdall
Founding Partners: Joe Wade & Mark Whiteway
Strategy & Media: Ellie Moore
Client Services Partner: Jane Marshall
Account Manager: Thea Deakin
Senior Project Manager: Louise Boyd
Agency Producer: Huw Allen
Head of Artwork: Paul Howard
Designer: Ellen Crowther
Production Company: Rowdy
Director, Producer & DOP: Matthew Day
Director & Producer: Thomas Harnett O’Meara
Animation: Andy Biddle, Tobias Fouracre, Anthony Farquhar Smith & Max Martin
1st AC & BTS: Toby Goodyear
Post Production: Alasdair Brotherson
Sound: String And Tins
Original Music & Sound Design: Will Cohen
Additional Sound Design: Lawrence Kendrick
Client: The Wildlife Trusts
Chief Executive Officer: Stephanie Hilborne
Director of Campaigns & Policy: Nikki Williams
Campaign Co-ordinator: Joanna Richards