Channel 4 has commissioned Quentin Blake’s Clown - based on the classic children’s book - for December 2020. Produced by Eagle Eye Drama (the production company recently launched by the team behind global drama brand Walter Presents), the animated Christmas special is based on a popular book by one of Britain’s most illustrious and well-loved authors/illustrators, Sir Quentin Blake.
Inspired by a book of the same name (and one of Sir Quentin’s favourites amongst his titles), Quentin Blake’s Clown is a half hour animation bringing to life the adventures of a little toy clown, thrown away with a load of old discarded toys, as he goes on a journey to find a new loving home for himself and his friends.
Created with traditional hand drawn animation techniques to capture the unique style of Quentin Blake’s artwork, the programme will be narrated by Hollywood star and Bafta-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown, Harry Potter, Alice In Wonderland) and 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 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Accompanying the programme will be a short ‘making of’ special feature with contributions by Quentin Blake, Helena Bonham-Carter and the key animators and executives, giving insight into the creative process.
Quentin Blake said: “Clown has always been one of my favourite characters, and it’s wonderful now to see him off the page and running about on his own.”
Channel 4 Head of Drama, Caroline Hollick said: ”We’re delighted that this Christmas, Channel 4 will show this enduring tale of a box of once much-loved, now discarded toys and Clown’s impassioned journey to find them all a new home. Quentin Blake’s unique style of drawing has been delightfully realised in animation form by the extremely talented team at Eagle Eye Drama. I’m excited to be part of such a dynamic European collaboration, and we’re very pleased that Helena Bonham-Carter has agreed to bring her distinctive, rich voice to the story.”
Executive Producer Massimo Fenati commented: “Quentin Blake’s Clown is a charming and heart-warming story, and bringing to life Sir Quentin’s exquisite, inimitable style for the screen is an inspiring creative task. An exciting jigsaw-puzzle of incredibly gifted animators from all over Europe have embraced this creative challenge enthusiastically and everyone on the team feel privileged to be working from such wonderful source material.”
Eagle Eye Drama’s Chief Creative Officer Jo McGrath added: “Eagle Eye Drama’s core mission is championing and creating unique and inspiring scripted projects – across all genres and forms. We are delighted to be adding Quentin Blake’s Clown to our growing production slate and hope this will be the first of many animation projects we can bring to life.”
Jackie Edwards, Head of Fund from the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund commented: “We’re so proud of the range of projects we’ve funded this year, nurturing stories and concepts we feel will enrich television for young audiences. The Young Audiences Content Fund exists to support the creation of stories that represent, reflect and inspire the UK and we’re so excited to be able to help bring the uniquely special talents of Sir Quentin Blake to screen this Christmas.”
Commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Drama Caroline Hollick, and supported by a grant from the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund, the programme will be directed by Luigi Berio and Executive Produced by Massimo Fenati, with Eagle Eye Drama’s Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino overseeing the project as joint creative directors. International distribution will be handled by New Regency.
Susan Wilks firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT EAGLE EYE DRAMA
Eagle Eye Drama was formed by Walter Iuzzolino, Jo McGrath and Jason Thorp, the same three founders and creative team behind the global drama company Walter Presents. The company focuses on producing English language series inspired by hit foreign language shows they have discovered and championed from around the world. Eagle Eye Drama has the full backing of Channel 4, who have a minority stake in the new company invested through the growth fund.
ABOUT THE YOUNG AUDIENCES CONTENT FUND
Managed by the BFI, the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) supports the creation of distinctive, high-quality content for audiences up to the age of 18. Up to £57 million over a three-year pilot, will support the creation of distinct, high-quality content for children and young audiences to be broadcast on free-to-access, Ofcom regulated television channels and online platforms.
Financed by UK Government as part of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Contestable Fund, the YACF aims to provide new avenues for creators of original content and bring new voices to the market, and back content which entertains, informs and reflects the experiences of young people growing up across the UK today. www.bfi.org.uk/yacf
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a cultural charity that:
· Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
· Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
· Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
· Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.