The writer of upcoming BBC and Netflix series “Watership Down” and the producers behind hit animated specials including “The Gruffalo” are adapting the classic children’s tale “The Velveteen Rabbit” for TV. Magic Light Pictures and Tom Bidwell are in development on the project and already talking to broadcasters.
For U.K.-based Magic Light, it will mark a move into a hybrid style of live-action and animation. Its previous animated specials include popular adaptations of Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” and several of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s books, including “The Gruffalo,” “Stick Man,” and “Zog,” which will be a highlight of the BBC’s 2018 Christmas schedule in the U.K.
Bidwell is the creator of the BAFTA- and International Emmy-nominated “My Mad Fat Diary” and the Oscar-nominated short “Wish 143.” He comes to “The Velveteen Rabbit” project off the back of a BAFTA win for his work on CBBC series “Katy.”
Margery Williams’ classic story, about a boy and his beloved toy rabbit, was first published in 1922 and has been adapted for stage and screen multiple times. Magic Light Pictures co-founder Martin Pope said that with Bidwell’s “captivating characters and the heart-tugging story, we are hoping to create a film that will prove essential Christmas family viewing for years to come.”
Bidwell said that “like all great works of children’s literature ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ tells a story about important themes like love and loss, yet it does so with breathtaking imagination and joy.” He added: “I love the fact that it’s a vignette set at Christmas. It’s almost like our audience is pulled inside the picture on the front of a Christmas card into a world of magic and wonder.”