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Friday, 25 April 2014

Thompson takes Peter Rabbit to Scotland

PETER Rabbit is set for a new lease of life – but he won’t be having any adventures in the Lake District.

The next installment of the children’s classic will be based in Scotland. Hollywood actress Emma Thompson plans to write a new Peter Rabbit book and take our bonny bunny north of the border.

The new book comes 110 years after Lake District author Beatrix Potter first penned The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Beatrix Potter biographer, Judy Taylor, was chairwoman of the Beatrix Potter Society for 13 years.

She was shocked to hear about the plans for the book.

She said: “I was surprised by the whole thing. That she is taking Peter Rabbit to Scotland is even more surprising. Beatrix Potter originally wrote the story while on holiday there. It’s not in the story, it’s only the people who have studied the background that know that fact.

“She spent 11 years of summer holidays in Scotland, before coming to the Lake District. There have been lots of imitation books in America. There’s a great number of variations of the book.

“We hope it’s a good book. For me, personally, I don’t see the need for it.”

Ms Thompson revealed her Peter Rabbit plans on American talk show, The Late Late Show.

She has written screenplays for Sense and Sensibility and Nanny McPhee and plans to take a break from acting.

A spokeswoman from publishing company Frederick Warne, who hope to publish the book, said: “Frederick Warne are currently in discussion with actress, Emma Thompson about working with her on a project to mark the 110th anniversary of the first publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Warne. We are still at very early stages of this project.”

Norman Warne, Beatrix’s secret fiance, was one of the founding members of Frederick Warne who own all the rights to the Beatrix Potter brand.

As a child Beatrix Potter and her family enjoyed long summer holidays in the Birnam area of Perthshire, Scotland. Staying in the countryside, Beatrix and her brother, Bertram, were able to study the local wildlife. It was from Eastwood, in Dunkeld, in 1893 that Beatrix wrote the now famous picture letter to Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of her last governess, which was later to become The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Cumbria Tourism are confident that a Scottish story isn’t on the cards, and that Peter will stay well and truly in the Lakes. A spokeswoman said: “A lot of tourism businesses here wouldn’t be happy bunnies if a new book was set in Scotland, but we’re confident it won’t come to that. I think Emma made a little joke to amuse her interviewer who is Scottish and we shouldn’t take it too literally. We know the publishers respect that Peter Rabbit is a Lake District story and an iconic Lakeland character and would want to see that reflected in any new book.”

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