BBC Christmas animation Revolting Rhymes is both delightful…and progressive

Are Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood a couple in the BBC’s new Christmas Dahl?

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In the BBC’s fabulous new Christmas animation, a story is weaved together from Roald Dahl’s alternative book of Fairy Tale poems, Revolting Rhymes.

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The collection of six rhymes, which retell classic fairytales with different twists and endings, were written by Dahl in 1982, but the BBC has put a modern new spin on them as two half-hour films. 

Without giving too much away, the story is changed to imagine a close relationship between Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood – so devoted in fact that they could be an item.

The two meet in childhood and stay friends as adults, battling wicked wolves and greedy banker pigs in a story where their relationship is close – although it’s unclear just how close.

Asked by RadioTimes.com whether this was indeed the case and they have been reimagined as a couple, Martin Pope, the co-founder of animators Magic Light Pictures, was deliciously coy.

“We wouldn’t be so gauche as to say that they are in a relationship but let’s just say that we have left it open,” he chuckled.

“They are two people who meet as friends and stay together throughout the rest of the story. They are two girls who are friends – people can read into that whatever they like.

“Sometimes I look at it one way, sometimes I look at it another way, that’s storytelling!”

The two films will air at Christmas and feature a stellar voice cast including David Walliams and Rob Brydon with Gemma Chan voicing Snow White, Dominic West playing the Wolf and Rose Leslie bringing to life Red Riding Hood.

Bertie Carvel (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Doctor Foster) plays both the Magic Mirror and the Prince, and Tamsin Greig is the Babysitter and Miss Maclahose.

Producers Magic Light Pictures is the Oscar-nominated production company behind the BBC’s other recent children’s festive centrepieces The Gruffalo and Stick Man.

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West said of his role: “Voicing the Wolf in these wonderful films was a huge amount of fun. The incredible poems written by Roald Dahl have been beautifully brought to life by the production team and I was delighted to take part in the project. I look forward to enjoying them with the family this Christmas.”