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Magic Light Pictures’ ‘Superworm’ Coming to BBC Christmas 2021

The producers of ‘Zog’ and ‘The Snail and the Whale’ cast Oscar winner Olivia Colman and Emmy nominee Matt Smith in their new animated adaption of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name.

Magic Light Pictures is bringing Superworm, based on a book of the same name by authors Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, to BBC One and BBC iPlayer for Christmas 2021. The project comes on the heels of the company’s successful production of the animated special, Zog and the Flying Doctors, produced last year for BBC, also based on a book by the same award-winning writers. Magic Light Pictures has been providing family programming to BBC One for over a decade, and their films, based on books by the award-winning duo, are among the most popular family titles on BBC iPlayer.

The voice cast for the animated adaptation will be headlined by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as 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 cast to be announced later in the year.

Superworm is a hero with a difference. Super-long and super-strong, he is always on hand to help 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 he too often takes all the credit. When the wicked Wizard Lizard hears about Superworm's special skills, he sends his servant Crow to kidnap him. Despite everything, with her friend in deep trouble, Butterfly comes to the rescue, convincing the other creatures to help her with a daring plan.

“This is such a lovely project to be involved with,” commented Colman. “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.”

“I’m delighted to play the part of Superworm!” shared Smith. “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.”

“The Magic Light animations are such important part of the Christmas TV schedule, I’m excited to become part of that tradition,” added Allison. “Butterfly is a very determined character, and a loyal friend, so I’m looking forward to recording a lot.”

“This will be my ninth appearance in a Donaldson/ Scheffler adaptation,” remarked Brydon. “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 on this animated half hour project, which was acquired by BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore, and BBC Drama commissioning editor Tommy Bulfin. Superworm is the ninth TV adaptation of the duo’s titles for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The annual Magic Light Pictures films have become a popular fixture in the Christmas programming 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 7 million viewers in all-screen +30-day figures.

Superworm is being directed by Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman, from a script by Max Lang and Suzanne Lang. 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,” noted Bulfin. “I can’t wait for audiences to fall in love with Superworm, who is super-long and super-strong.”

“We’re delighted to be making Superworm for BBC One,” concluded Magic Light Pictures co-founder Martin Pope. “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.”

Source: Magic Light Pictures