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Sir Lenny Henry and Kit Harington among all-star cast for BBC Christmas animation Zog


Story by Jack Foley

JULIA Donaldson’s classic animated story Zog will be coming to the BBC this Christmas.

Magic Light Pictures, the multi Oscar-nominated production company, will be bringing the much-loved children’s book to the small screen following its past successes with Donaldson’s work such as The Gruffalo and last year’s The Highway Rat.

Zog is a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets himself into mischief whilst learning how to fly, roar, breathe fire and fight knights in his first four years at Dragon School.

Each year he meets a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest challenge yet: It’s Year Five, and he has to capture a princess!

The star-studded voice cast boasts a stellar cast of British acting talent, featuring Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) as the narrator, Tracey Ullman (Tracey Breaks the News) as Madame Dragon, Hugh Skinner (W1A) as Zog, Patsy Ferran (Jamestown) as Princess Pearl and Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) as Sir Gadabout.

Sir Lenny Henry says: “It’s wonderful to have voiced the narrator in Zog for this Christmas. The story has a lovely lyricism to it and it’s been really good fun seeing the beautiful animation come together. There’s a cast of brilliant actors and the story is silly, and outrageous, and surreal, and I like all of those things!”

Zog is directed by Max Lang, Oscar-nominated director of Room on a Broom and The Gruffalo, and by Daniel Snaddon, co-director of Stick Man.

It’s produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures and the composer is Rene Aubry, who has written all of the music for the collection of films.

Zog marks the sixth adaptation by Magic Light Pictures of a Donaldson/Scheffler title. Previously, Magic Light produced The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, with the former winning over 15 awards as well as nominations for an Oscar, a BAFTA and the Cartoon d’Or and delivered audiences of 10 million to BBC One for their respective Christmas Day transmissions.

Other titles include Room on the Broom, which received a 2014 Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA, an International Emmy and an RTS Award; 2015 ratings hit Stick Man and The Highway Rat, which just scooped a coveted Rose d’or in the Children and Youth category at the 57th Rose d’Or Awards held in Berlin.

Elizabeth Kilgarriff, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC Drama, commented: “Magic Light Pictures are yet again promising the BBC audience a Christmas treat with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s brilliant story of a dragon and princess who both dare to be different. To have such recognisable and wonderful voices bringing the characters to life is very exciting indeed.”

Michael Rose, co-founder Magic Light Pictures, added: “We love making films for the whole family to watch together at Christmas, and Zog is a treat – a wonderful witty story with delightful characters at its heart.”