BBC One will air an animated adaptation of Charlie Mackesy’s best-selling book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse this Christmas.


The adaptation will take the form of a short film, with Mackesy’s original illustrations brought to life as full-colour hand-drawn animation.

Exploring the unlikely friendship of – you guessed it – a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse as they journey together in the boy’s search for home, the short has also enlisted an all-star cast.

Idris Elba (Luther) will voice the fox, with Tom Hollander (The Ipcress File) as the mole and Gabriel Byrne (ZeroZeroZero) as the horse – the trio will be joined by newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll as the boy.

"The journey of making the film of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse with my ridiculously talented and kind animation team has been a magical one," said Mackesy. "It’s so great to think the story will be in the nation's homes this Christmas – and I really hope it helps bring comfort, love and laughter."

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Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, added: "Charlie Mackesy’s heart-warming and inspirational story brought to life through NoneMore Productions’ and Bad Robot Productions’ beautiful animation, is about the importance of love, kindness and friendship. It’s the perfect fit for Christmas on the BBC and a reminder to us all about what really matters in this world."

Idris Elba in a yellow t-shirt
Idris Elba will voice the fox in the BBC's adaptation of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Alex Piper

Co-directed by Charlie Mackesy and Peter Baynton, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse will also feature an original score by composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Geoff Alexander.

Other highlights from the BBC's schedule already confirmed for Christmas 2022 include an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s children's book The Smeds and The Smoos starring Bridgerton's Adjoa Andoh and Gavin and Stacey's Rob Brydon and special festive episodes of Call the Midwife and Death in Paradise.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this Christmas – buy the original book now.

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