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Olivia Colman and Matt Smith lead voice cast of Magic Light Pictures’ Superworm

Magic Light Pictures is returning to the world of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler this Christmas with a new adaptation of the pair’s beloved story, Superworm for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

As usual, the adaptation has already attracted some of Britain’s best-loved stars, this time around seeing Oscar winner Olivia Colman lead a voice cast as narrator, with Emmy nominee Matt Smith signed up to play the titular hero, Superworm. The pair are joined by Patricia Allison (Sex Education) as Butterfly, and Rob Brydon as the Crow.

Further cast members will be revealed later on in the year.

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.”

Smith added: “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.”

The animated version of the popular story will mark Brydon’s ninth appearance in a Donaldson/Scheffler adaptation, who previously narrated Magic Light Pictures’ adaptation of The Highway Rat.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the half-hour animated special will mark a first for Sex Education’s Patricia Allinson, who has said she is “excited to become part of the tradition” that has placed Magic Light animations as “such an important part of the Christmas TV schedule.”

“Butterfly is a very determined character, and a loyal friend, so I am looking forward to recording a lot.”

Donaldson and Scheffler, the now famed creators of The Gruffalo, collaborated once again on this animated half hour, which has been acquired by Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer and Tommy Bulfin, commissioning editor, BBC Drama.

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 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.

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.

Tommy Bulfin, commissioning editor, BBC Drama said: “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.”

Martin Pope, co-founder of Magic Light Pictures, concluded: “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.”

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