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Neil Gaiman's fairytale The Sleeper and the Spindle BBC Radio adaptation to air this Christmas

The fairytale - starring Gaiman himself - will come to life on Boxing Day.

Neil Gaiman
Published: Monday, 30th November 2020 at 12:01 am

Neil Gaiman's perfect Christmas fairytale, The Sleeper and the Spindle, will be brought to life this festive season on BBC Radio 4.


Penelope Wilton, Gwendoline Christie and Ralph Ineson will join Gaiman himself in the radio adaptation of the tale.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is a new tale drawing on traditional folk stories, interweaving Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in an enchanting drama which puts women in centre stage.

It tells the story of a soldier-queen, played by Christie, who is preparing for her wedding day. While getting ready for the big day in her mountain kingdom, three dwarves - guardians from her childhood - race towards her.

They were due to attend the celebration, but instead bring bad news of a sleeping sickness sweeping the land.

As a girl, the soldier-queen survived her own long, magical sleep, so throws on her armour, straps on her sword and rides into the middle of the plague to try and find its root and save her suffering people.

She finds that the magical sleep is spreading from a castle deep in the forest. Here, our heroine discovers an enchanting, sleeping girl and an extremely old woman, who forever remains awake.

However, when the queen attempts to wake the beautiful, sleeping girl in the traditional way, she realises that all is not how it seems.

The adaptation will see Wilton take on the role of the narrator/old woman, while Gaiman (Good Omens) will feature as the Home Secretary.

Ineson, Stefan Adegbola, and Ian Dunnett Jnr will play the first, second and third dwarf, while Dunnett Jnr will also read the parts of The Prince, The Tinker and The Woodcutter.


Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and The Spindle will air on BBC Radio 4 on 26th December from 3pm to 4pm. If you’re looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide.


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