Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 13:57 UK

Gruffalo to menace Christmas TV

The Gruffalo
Around 4 million copies of The Gruffalo have been sold

Modern children's classic The Gruffalo is to menace TV screens this Christmas in a one-off all-star animation.

The 30-minute programme will feature the voices of Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter and Rob Brydon, and will debut on BBC One in December.

Author Julia Donaldson said she is "very excited" by what she has seen of the animation so far.

The Gruffalo tells the tale of a mouse, who creates an imaginary monster which becomes only too real.


As the mouse travels through the woods in search of a nut, he meets a fox, an owl and a snake, all of whom want to eat him.

He tells them he is on his way to see his friend The Gruffalo, who conveniently likes to snack on the creature he is talking to.

The new animation will be a mixture of models and CGI.

Coltrane will voice the Gruffalo, with Bonham Carter narrating and Brydon playing the snake.

Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane
Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane will voice the main parts

Comic James Corden has landed the part of the mouse; the owl will be voiced by John Hurt; while Tom Wilkinson will become the fox.

Donaldson, who wrote the book with illustrator Axel Scheffler, said: "I'm very excited by what I have seen of the animation, in particular by how faithful it is to the original story, while incorporating lots of imaginative touches to bring the Deep Dark Wood alive."

BBC One boss Jay Hunt said: "It is a real privilege to bring a modern children's classic like The Gruffalo to BBC One.

"This captivating animation is a charming addition to the channel."

The book, which has won several prizes for children's literature and has been made into a West End and Broadway play, has sold more than 4 million copies.

It was first published in 1999.

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