Building on the success of Zog and the Flying Doctors, Magic Light Pictures, the multi-Oscar nominated company, is bringing Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved story Superworm to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
The first-rate voice cast for the adaptation will be headlined by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as the narrator and Emmy nominee Matt Smith playing the hero, Superworm. They are joined by Patricia Allison (Sex Education) as Butterfly, and Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) as the Crow, with other casts to be announced later in the year.
Here’s the synopsis:
Superworm is a hero with a difference. Super-long and super-strong, he’s always on hand to help out all the other animals and insects – whether he’s saving baby toad from an accident, rescuing beetle from falling down a well, or even good-naturedly offering himself up as a skipping rope for some bored bees. Superworm and his best friend Butterfly make a great team but Superworm too often takes all the credit. When the wicked Wizard Lizard hears about Superworm’s special skills, he sends his servant Crow to kidnap Superworm. Despite everything, with her friend in deep trouble, Butterfly comes to the rescue, convincing the other creatures to help her with a daring plan…
Olivia Colman said: “This is such a lovely project to be involved with. When reading the script, and imagining all those goings on at the end of the garden, I could really get a feel for the pure fun and joy that the film will bring. I’ve always loved these charming productions at Christmas and I’m delighted to be voicing the narrator.”
Matt Smith said: “I’m delighted to play the part of Superworm! And join such a fabulous cast of actors, artists and storytellers. What fun to be part of the BBC’s Christmas line up in this great children’s tale.”
Patricia Allison said: “The Magic Light animations are such important part of the Christmas TV schedule, I’m excited to become part of that tradition. Butterfly is a very determined character, and a loyal friend, so I’m looking forward to recording a lot.”
Rob Brydon said: “This will be my ninth appearance in a Donaldson/ Scheffler adaptation. Working on these Magic Light productions is always a delight and deciding how to voice characters is such fun. I love watching them on TV at Christmas – a lovely way to round off my year.”
Donaldson and Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo, collaborated once again on this animated half-hour, which has been acquired by BBC CCO Charlotte Moore and BBC Drama commissioning editor Tommy Bulfin. Magic Light has been providing festive family treats to BBC One for over a decade, and their films, based on the books by the award-winning duo, are among the most popular family titles on BBC iPlayer.
Superworm is being directed by Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman, from a script by Max Lang and Suzanne Lang. The producer is Barney Goodland with executive producers Martin Pope and Michael Rose for Magic Light Pictures. The composer is Rene Aubry, who has written the music for the collection of Magic Light films. Animation services will be provided by Blue Zoo Animation Studio.
“The Donaldson and Scheffler adaptations are a lynchpin of the Christmas schedule and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with them and the award-winning Magic Light Pictures again this year. I can’t wait for audiences to fall in love with Superworm, who is super-long and super-strong,” commented Bulfin.
Magic Light Pictures co-founder Martin Pope: “We’re delighted to be making Superworm for BBC One. It’s a lovely comedy. Superworm’s a brilliant central character, who has great friends who will ultimately triumph over the wonderfully entertaining villain, in this delightful story based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.”
Superworm is the ninth TV adaptation of a Donaldson/Scheffler title for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The annual Magic Light Pictures films have become firm fixtures in the Christmas schedules. In the lead up to last Christmas, original festive idents featuring The Gruffalo and Zog book-ended shows on BBC One.
Zog and the Flying Doctors, which aired on Christmas Day 2020 and starred Sir Lenny Henry and Rob Brydon, secured seven million viewers in all-screen +30day figures.