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The Borrowers
The Borrowers.jpg
Written by Richard Carpenter
Mary Norton (novel)
Directed by John Henderson
Starring Ian Holm
Penelope Wilton
Rebecca Callard
Music by Howard Goodall
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Cinematography Clive Tickner
Editor(s) David Yardley
Running time 164 min.
Production company(s) BBC Two
Distributor Turner Home Entertainment
Original release 8 November 1992 (1992-11-08) (UK)
27 November 1993 (1993-11-27) (US)
Followed by The Return of the Borrowers

The Borrowers is a BBC TV adaptation first broadcast in 1992 on BBC2 and then later on American television station TNT. The series is adapted from the 1952 Carnegie Medal-winning first novel and the second novel of author Mary Norton's The Borrowers series: The Borrowers and The Borrowers Afield (1955). The film stars Ian Holm, Penelope Wilton and Rebecca Callard and was directed by John Henderson. The series was named on the BFI's list of "100 Greatest British Television Programmes".

Throughout the series, every episode (except the last one) ended on a cliffhanger. The series was followed by The Return of the Borrowers. That TV series aired in 1993 also on BBC2 and TNT.

Both series follow the Clocks, a family of tiny people who are forced to flee from their home under the floorboards in an old manor into the English countryside.


The Clock Family are "borrowers," tiny people who live in the houses of regular sized "human beans" (a borrower mispronunciation of human beings). They survive by borrowing all they need from big people and try to keep their existence secret. The main characters are a teenage borrower girl named Arriety and her parents, Pod and Homily. During a borrowing expedition with her father and contrary to borrower nature, Arriety befriends a human boy named George who lives in the home and develops a friendship with him.

The tiny family, who live under the kitchen floorboards of an old manor (Chawton House in Hampshire was used for on location filming), are eventually discovered by the other humans who occupy the home and are forced to flee into the English countryside. After finding an old boot to live in, the family befriends a fellow Borrower - a young man who goes by the name "Dreadful Spiller". Spiller helps them find a more permanent home by reuniting them with relations who had formerly run away from the same manor after one of them was seen and eventually relocated in the caretaker's cabin on the manor's grounds.



BAFTA Awards

  • 1993 Best Children's Programme (Fiction) (Nominated)
  • 1993 Best Design (Won)

Royal Television Society

  • 1992 Best Production Design (Won)
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