Fans of Julia Donaldson will be glad to hear that the many film adaptations of her classic children’s books will be coming to BBC One this Christmas, from The Gruffalo to brand new film Zog and the Flying Doctors.
With eight film adaptations airing between Christmas Day and New Years Eve, the 30-minute specials starring the likes of Rob Brydon, David Tennant, Helena Bonham Carter, Lenny Henry and other acting legends are bound to bring a smile to your face.
While many of the films are able to watch on BBC iPlayer right now, here’s everything you need to know about which adaptations will be airing on BBC One over Christmas and how to watch them.
Airs: Christmas Day, 8.55am, BBC One
Arguably one of the most famous of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s books, The Gruffalo tells the story of mouse (voiced by James Corden) who lies to three carnivorous animals by telling them that he’s on his way to meet a scary-looking monster he calls a Gruffalo, however he soon ends up coming face to face with his imaginary creature.
Featuring the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt and Rob Brydon.
The Gruffalo’s Child
Airs: Christmas Day, 9.25am, BBC One
James Corden returns in The Gruffalo’s Child, a sequel to the BBC’s 2009 Christmas film based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name.
In this sequel, we meet the Gruffalo’s child, who ignores her father’s warnings and goes out into the cold in search of the Big Bad Mouse, who she’s convinced doesn’t really exist.
Also starring Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, Shirley Henderson, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Lewis and Phoebe Givron-Taylor.
Buy Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo’s Child on Amazon or watch the film on BBC iPlayer.
The Snail and the Whale
Airs: Christmas Day, 11am, BBC One
The Snail and the Whale, which made its BBC debut last Christmas, is returning to our screens this year to charm audience once again.
Starring the likes of the late Diana Rigg, Sally Hawkins, Rob Brydon and Cariad Lloyd, the tale based on the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name follows an ambitious snail who travels across the world with the help of a grey-blue humpback whale. However, when noisy motorboats startle the whale, it’s up to the snail to save her friend.
Buy Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale on Amazon or watch the film on BBC iPlayer.
Airs: Christmas Day, 11.25am, BBC One
Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name, Zog follows the titular accident-prone dragon (Hugh Skinner) who wants to impress his teachers at Dragon School, but each year finds himself needing bumps and bruises patched up by a kind young girl. In his fourth year, he’s challenged with capturing a princess, but can the young girl help him with his hardest task yet?
With narration from Sir Lenny Henry and a cast featuring Tracey Ullman, Patsy Ferran, Kit Harington and Rob Brydon.
Zog and the Flying Doctors
Airs: Christmas Day, 2:35pm, BBC One
Zog and the Flying Doctors – this year’s brand new Julia Donaldson adaptation – sees the return of the titular dragon and his friends, Princess Pearl (Patsy Ferran) and Sir Gadabout (Daniel Ings) as they care for various creatures across the land. However, when bad weather strikes, the trio are forced to land at the palace, where Pearl is captured by her uncle The King. Will Zog and Gadabout be able to save their friend?
Lenny Henry returns to narrate the sequel with Mark Bonnar, Lucian Msamati and Alexandra Roach voicing characters. If you’re unable to watch Zog and the Flying Doctor’s Christmas Day debut, BBC One will be airing a repeat on Friday 1st January at 12:10pm.
Room On The Broom
Airs: Wednesday 30th December, 1:25pm, BBC One
Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name, Room on the Broom stars Gillian Anderson as a kind witch, who invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom despite protests from her cat (Rob Brydon).
Featuring the voices of Martin Clunes, Sally Hawkins, Simon Pegg, Timothy Spall and David Walliams.
The Highway Rat
Airs: Thursday 31st December, 1:25pm, BBC One
Starring David Tennant as the Highway Rat, this 2017 Christmas film based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book of the same name follows the ravenous rodent as he searches for sugary treats to steal until his sweet tooth leads him to a sticky end.
Featuring the voices of Rob Brydon, Frances de la Tour, Tom Hollander, Nina Sosanya and Husaam Kiani.
Airs: Thursday 31st December, 1:50pm, BBC One
This 2015 Christmas treat, based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book, tells the story of Stick Man – a father who goes on an incredible adventure across the season to make it home for Christmas. From getting thrown in a river and landing on a fire, to escaping from a swan’s nest and a dog, Stick Man travels far and wide to get back to his family.
Featuring the voices of Hugh Bonneville, Rob Brydon, Martin Freeman, Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Saunders and Russell Tovey.