The film is scheduled for Monday December 16th at 4.45 and will be shown on the CBeebies channel. The animation is remarkably close to the original illustrations and I hope will bring festive cheer to all! A great way to begin the Christmas celebrations!
You can read more about the production on the BBC website here:
And you can read about when I met Richard Briers here:
And now I thought I'd post a little piece about how I came to be commissioned to illustrate these enchanting stories...
Many, many years ago, more than I care to remember, I visited Joyce Dunbar at her Norfolk home. We'd done a book together (Five Mice and the Moon) and had kept in touch. She told me she was having trouble finding an illustrator for some stories she'd written. Almost as an after-thought she gave me the manuscript to read on the train home. At once I began drawing... and drawing... and drawing! The characters leapt off the page and into my sketchbook, and were unusually easy to imagine and create. And I filled their world with so many details and all the paraphernalia of my own life. Illustratively speaking these are semi-auto-biographical and I remain hugely proud of these loveable creatures into whom I put so much of my personality.
Everyone loved the drawings and I got the job, and a series of four books followed. Sadly now out of print, I still get asked about these books. They've been much imitated; there is even a very cheeky American series called Mouse and Mole by a certain Wong Herbert Lee - a blatant rip-off but entirely lacking the charm and heartfelt storytelling of the original. So I am very happy that at least the films, if not the books, are being revived.
Here are some of those very early sketches... it's been such a joy to look at these again. It's made me want to return to using scratchy old pen and ink again!