Multi-Oscar-nominated production company Magic Light Pictures has revealed that Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch, Pirates! Band of Misfits) will lead the voice cast for it’s next festive animated family special, Zog, coming to BBC One (U.K.) this Christmas. The tale is another adaptation of a beloved children’s book by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo).
Lenny Henry will narrate the special, joined by a stellar roster of British acting talent: 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.
“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,” said Henry. “There’s a cast of brilliant actors and the story is silly, and outrageous, and surreal, and I like all of those things!”
The story centers on Zog, 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!
Oscar-nominated director Max Lang (Room on a Broom, The Gruffalo) and Daniel Snaddon (co-director, Stick Man) helm the project, which is produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures and features original music by regular studio collaborator Rene Aubry. Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town is providing the animation.
“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,” said Rose, co-founder of Magic Light Pictures.
Zog was acquired for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Elizabeth Kilgarriff, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC Drama.
This is Magic Light Pictures’ sixth Donaldson/Scheffler adaptation, having previously produced The Gruffalo (15+ awards; nominations for Oscar, BAFTA and Cartoon d’Or), The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom (BAFTA, International Emmy and RTS Award; Oscar nomination), Stick Man and The Highway Rat (Rose d’or Award – Children and Youth).