Channel 4 announced a trio of top stars to head up their high-profile Christmas 2021 animated special Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby earlier this week, produced by Eagle Eye Drama, the production company recently launched by the team behind global drama brand Walter Presents, in association with Narrativia, the independent production company, launched in 2012 by one of Britain’s most illustrious and well-loved authors, Sir Terry Pratchett.
“The Abominable Snow Baby” is one of several stories by Terry Pratchett, first published in 1968 in Bucks Free Press, featured in the collection Father Christmas’s Fake Beard, illustrated by Mark Beech, published in hardback in 2017 by Penguin Books.
It’s the story of a quintessentially English town which is thrown into disarray by a huge snowfall – and the dramatic appearance of a 14-feet tall Abominable Snow Baby.
Shunned and feared by the local townsfolk, Snow Baby is rescued by an indomitable Granny who along with grandson Albert, welcomes him into her home, showering her new pet with love and affection, changing the town’s perception and helping the community overcome their initial prejudices.
Screen legend and comedy icon Julie Walters (Harry Potter, Mamma Mia, Paddington) will star as the voice of fearless ‘Granny’, whilst Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down, Ella Enchanted, Hannibal, Downton Abbey 2) will take on the role of her courageous grandson ‘Albert’ with narration from David Harewood (Homeland, Supergirl, Blood Diamond).
Commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Drama Caroline Hollick and Commissioning Editor Gwawr Lloyd, the programme is supported by a grant from the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund, the programme will be directed by Massimo Fenati and Executive Produced by Tess Cuming, with Eagle Eye Drama’s Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino overseeing the project as joint creative directors and with Rob Wilkins as executive producer for Narrativia.
Created with traditional hand drawn animation techniques to capture the timeless nature of Terry Pratchett’s story, The Abominable Snow Baby is part of a long and established tradition of Channel 4’s animated Christmas specials such as The Snowman, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and last year’s Quentin Blake’s Clown.
“Channel 4’s original Christmas animation has become a real highlight over the years and this year will be no exception,” commented Channel 4 Head of Drama, Caroline Hollick. “I’m delighted Julie Walters, Hugh Dancy and David Harewood will be bringing to life this wonderful, funny and moving yuletide tale.
“I know it’s only July, but with this amazing cast line up I can hardly wait… it’s definitely going to be a merry Terry Christmas.”
When the commissioning of the Special was first announced, Eagle Eye Drama’s Chief Creative Officer Jo McGrath commented that “Sir Terry Pratchett rightly remains one of the world’s most read and passionately loved authors for readers of all ages and we are honoured to be working with Narrativia to bring this abominably brilliant story to life on screen for Channel 4 at Christmas.
“True to form, The Abominable Snow Baby is quirky, original and very, very funny and it’s a real coup for Eagle Eye to add this brilliant gem to its sparkling and expanding roster of animated tales.
“In his lifetime, Terry wrote over seventy books, which have been translated into 41 languages,” noted Rob Wilkins, Managing Director of Narrativia and Manager of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Estate said. “He started his career as a writer of short stories for young people, who remained his favourite audience.
“The Abominable Snow Baby showcases Terry’s firmly held belief in not judging people on appearances, his reverence for the elderly, and his very genuine love of Christmas. Narrativia is delighted to see Terry’s work brought to life by the talented team at Eagle Eye Drama, in the fiftieth year of Terry Pratchett being a published author.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be supporting another Christmas special with Eagle Eye Drama,” said Jackie Edwards, Head of Fund from the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund “following the huge success of Quentin Blake’s Clown last year. The Abominable Snow Baby will beautifully bring to life the adored British story, diving into the fantastically funny world of the late Sir Terry Pratchett for a festive treat, sharing magic to young audiences this Christmas.”
Eagle Eye creates bespoke British drama made with the very best talents, both on and off screen, from around the world. Utilising in depth knowledge of the global market, the company, whose shows also include ITV’s drama Professor T, specialises in adapting hit international series for English speaking audiences. They also adapt books, both well known and hidden gems and are currently working up a number of original scripted series.
Narrativia is an independent production company, launched in 2012 by Sir Terry Pratchett. The company owns and controls the exclusive multimedia and merchandising rights to all of Sir Terry’s works, including his Discworld characters and creations. The company is headed by Managing Director Rob Wilkins and celebrated writer Rhianna Pratchett.
In 2019 Narrativia saw the release of Good Omens with Amazon Studios and BBC Studios, based on the internationally bestselling novel by Sir Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, and a second season is now in production in the UK.
• Father Christmas’s Fake Beard is available to buy from all good bookshops | Buy the paperback edition from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
Dive into the fantastically funny world of Terry Pratchett for a festive treat like no other!
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.