BBC One has ordered a one-off half-hour animated adaptation of kids book The Highway Rat from independent production company Magic Light Pictures, TVWise has learned. The adaptation is set to be a key part of BBC One’s 2017 Christmas schedule.
Based on the 2011 book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Highway Rat tells the tale of a greedy rat who tyrannises animals along the highway, as he steals their food at every opportunity: clover from a rabbit, nuts from a squirrel, a leaf from some ants – he even steals his own horse’s hay. However what he really craves are cakes and all things sugary, and it’s his sweet tooth that finally leads him to a sticky outcome.
The adaptation was acquired for the BBC by Director of Content Charlotte Moore and Acting Controller of Drama Commisisoning Lucy Richer. Magic Light Pictures is producing, with animated services being provided by Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town, South Africa. Stick Man helmer Jeroen Jaspaert is directing. Magic Light’s Michael Rose and Martin Pope will serve as producers.
“We’re delighted to be in production with our next Donaldson/Scheffler title for BBC One” said Michael Rose, Co-Founder of Magic Light Pictures. “Julia and Axel have given us another brilliant story to work from – a swashbuckling tale of bandits and biscuits for all the family to enjoy”.
This marks the fifth adaptation of a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler kids book that Magic Light has produced for BBC One. The indie previously adapted The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Room On The Broom and Stick Man – all of which have aired in key slots on Christmas Day on the various years they were produced. The most recent adaptation, Stick Man, was a ratings hit, managing an audience of 9.3 million viewers and a 41% share.
“I am thrilled to be continuing our relationship with Magic Light to make this special animation for BBC One next year”, added BBC Commissioning Editor Elizabeth Kilgarriff. “There isn’t a better team to bring the Highway Rat to television screens. It will be a Christmas treat for all the family.”