MOG COMES TO CHANNEL 4 FOR CHRISTMAS: CAST AND THEME SONG REVEALED
Channel 4 in association with Universal Pictures Content Group has commissioned a new hand-drawn animated special produced by Lupus Films, for HarperCollins Children’s Books and Universal Pictures Content Group, of classic children’s book Mog’s Christmas in the 100th anniversary year of Judith Kerr’s birth.
The team last worked together on Channel 4’s Emmy award-winning seasonal hit – an adaptation of Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea – which was the third highest-rating programme on the channel in the whole of 2019.
A trio of towering British musical talent has collaborated on the theme song. Multi award-winning composer David Arnold and Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black have penned “As Long as I Belong” which has been recorded for the film by singer-songwriter, author, mum of five and podcaster Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Speaking at Air Studios in London where the song was recorded, Sophie Ellis-Bextor said: "When I told my kids I’d been asked to sing Mog’s song, they couldn't really believe it because Mog has been part of our world since my eldest was small, and he's 20 next year! It feels really special."
David Arnold, composer, said: "I'd have been really annoyed if they’d have asked someone else – it takes you back to the days when you were reading the book to your kids, so it's a lovely thing to be asked to do."
Lyricist Don Black said: “We both had such a great time doing The Tiger Who Came To Tea that it was an easy decision to come back for Mog – it's a dream project for a lyricist."
A sparkling voice cast led by narrator Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton, Broadchurch) brings Mog’s family and neighbours to life. Claire Foy (The Crown, A Very British Scandal) plays Mrs Thomas, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr Strange) is Mr Thomas, Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter, The Age of Innocence) and Maggie Steed (Paddington 2, Fisherman’s Friends) play the Aunts.
Zawe Ashton (Mr Malcolms List, Fresh Meat), is one of Mog’s neighbours, Mrs Gaynor, Charlie Higson (The Fast Show, Ted and Ralph) plays the Jolly Uncle, comedian Gareth Berliner (Dr Who) is the Chestnut Seller and newcomers Amelie Law (age 11) and Teddy Skelton (age 9) play children Debbie and Nicky.
Meanwhile, Mog’s purrs and miaows will be provided by Tacy Kneale, Judith Kerr’s daughter, who said 'Our own Mog was a huge part of my childhood. I hope I've done her justice!'
Created by Judith Kerr the author/illustrator and based on the antics of her first family cat, the Mog series of books started with Mog the Forgetful Cat, which was first published in 1970 by HarperCollins Children’s Books and has never been out of print. The warm-hearted and funny adventures went on to inspire a further 17 picture books in the series, selling over four million copies worldwide and translated into 21 languages.
In Mog’s Christmas Mr and Mrs Thomas and their children Debbie and Nicky are busy making preparations for Christmas. With two Aunts and a jolly Uncle also staying in the house, Mog, the beloved family cat, is feeling a bit ignored. When Mr Thomas and the two children arrive home with an enormous Christmas tree, Mog takes fright and scrambles onto the roof for safety.
Regardless of the Thomas family's attempts to rescue her, Mog doesn't manage to come down. Despite everyone’s fears, Mog has a magical night in the snow with a cat themed Christmas dream.
The next morning on Christmas day, when a hungry Mog hears the mention of breakfast, she falls down the chimney and arrives in the kitchen to the surprise and relief of all the family. At last Mog has everyone’s attention, and a Happy Christmas is had by all!
Gwawr Lloyd, Drama Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 said: “We are utterly delighted to be bringing Mog to screen with our partners. It is the perfect Christmas tale full of fun and adventure with a star-studded cast including Claire Foy as Mrs Thomas and Benedict Cumberbatch as Mr Thomas...
"Channel 4 has a long-standing relationship with Lupus Films and together with their creative flair we have brought so many classic stories to the screen that have been enjoyed by generations of viewers. Judith Kerr’s much-loved Mog will be a great addition to this collection and a really special festive treat for the audience.”
Ruth Fielding, producer and co-founder of Lupus Films said: “We are delighted to create another animated film for Channel 4 and Universal Pictures Content Group working with our long-time collaborators, director Robin Shaw and screenwriter Joanna Harrison...
"This festive, family-friendly tale has huge cross generational appeal and is the perfect literary classic to adapt for the whole family to come together to watch. We are thrilled to once again bring Judith Kerr’s delightful illustrations to life in animation and to do so in the 100th anniversary of her birth feels very special”.
Juliet Matthews, Colour Publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books added: “HarperCollins Children’s Books is proud to be the home of all of Judith Kerr’s books. We are thrilled that the beloved Mog will now be introduced to a whole new generation of children through this delightful animation”.