It's with some hesitation that I sat down to watch The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, an adaptation of a childhood literary favourite, but I needn't have worried as Charlie Higson's adaptation of Norman Hunter's Professor Branestawm was done with huge affection and an insight into what made the books, published from the 1930s right through to the 1980s, so charming.
This was a real highlight for Christmas Eve TV. Harry Hill was superb casting as the archetypal nutty professor and Higson roped in several of his comedy friends - including Simon Day (superb as Dedshott) Vicki Pepperdine, David Mitchell, Miranda Richardson, Adrian Scarborough (as that comedy staple; the bucktooth vicar - originator Dick Emery) and Ben Miller - to provide excellent support whilst Higson's script (combined with Sandy Johnson's direction) nailed that idyllic 1930s setting in much the same way Higson's period Young Bond novels were so enjoyable. They really brought to life some of the charm inherent in Hunter's stories and William Heath Robinson's splendid accompanying illustrations. Special mention must also go to Madeline Holliday as young Connie, the film's juvenile heroine. I predict great things for her.
I'm still chuckling at the photograph's coming to life, constantly uttering the words they said at the point of having their pictures taken; "Don't take it for a moment, the sun is in my eyes!" and the Robot Father with his stereotypical paternalistic patter; "Let me give you a hug...How about a game of football? 1- Nil to me...Does anyone know the cricket score?" I loved the little Doctor Who reference, complete with TARDIS.
This was the perfect fun for all the family viewing experience this Christmas. More please!