All-star cast announced for Sky original Roald & Beatrix, the tail of the curious mouse

Monday 24 August 2020

Jessica Hynes, Rob Brydon, Alison Steadman, Nick Mohammed, Nina Sosanya and Bill Bailey join Dawn French this Christmas

Filming begins this Monday (24 August) on new Sky original Roald & Beatrix, the tail of the curious mouse, a heart-warming Christmas film inspired by the true story of when a six-year-old Roald Dahl meets his idol Beatrix Potter. A magical story of what really can happen when you are brave enough to follow your dreams…

Joining Dawn French (Vicar of Dibley) who plays Beatrix, the cast will include Jessica Hynes (W1A), Rob Brydon (The Trip), Alison Steadman (Gavin and Stacey), Nina Sosanya (Brave New World), Bill Bailey (In The Long Run) and Nick Mohammed (Intelligence). The uplifting 90-minute comedy drama airing on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV will form the highlight of Sky’s festive schedule.

Written by Abi Wilson, Roald & Beatrix, the tail of the curious mouse will be narrated by John Hannah with music scored by composer Murray Gold (Doctor Who). Produced by Hartswood Films (Sherlock, Dracula) for Sky Studios, the film will blend live action camera work, stop-frame animation and puppetry together to bring to life the vivid imaginations and magical worlds of these two inspiring and renowned children’s authors.

In the Sky original, the famed author Beatrix Potter (French) is coming to the end of her career. With her publisher (Sosanya) hounding her for her next draft, she’s unable to concentrate and has had enough of writing children’s books. It’s not just her motivation that she has lost, her optometrist (Mohammed) has recognised she has failing eyesight. With Christmas approaching, Beatrix is pressured, feeling increasingly out of touch with her readers, not to mention the trespassing fans and jovial door-knocking carol singers. Her Cumbrian farm and ever-growing Herdwick sheep collection, her long-suffering husband William (Brydon) and disobedient animals including much loved pig called Sally, act as her only real comfort as she looks for inspiration and resists taking the easy way out with her Publisher.

Two hundred or so miles away in Wales, life is changing for an anxious young boy called Roald. (Harry Tayler). Having recently lost his older sister and now his father, the once happy six-year-old has found solace and comfort in books. The beloved tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck fill his mind, distracting him from the funeral, sadness and the revelation that he might be sent to boarding school. Wanting to run away, he is encouraged by his mother Sophie (Haynes) to follow his dreams and visit his hero Beatrix Potter. Roald pushes his anxiety aside and they set off on his first big adventure. Their extraordinary journey is filled with unpredictable and humorous characters (Steadman & Bailey) all of whom ignite Roald’s imagination and provide comfort to his grieving mother. The dream of meeting his favourite author is eventually realised and their very special encounter proves to be both a magical and life changing moment for them both.

Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy, Sky Studios, said: “Roald Dahl taught us ‘a little magic can take you a long way’. This Christmas, Sky presents the magical tale of how a boyhood Dahl met his idol Beatrix Potter. With Dawn French leading an all-star cast this surprising story, inspired by a real life encounter, is a tale as much for our times as yesteryear. Produced by Hartswood, it’s a giant peach of a Christmas gift.”

Elaine Cameron, Producer, Hartswood Films, said: “This film follows a joyous and magical journey involving two of Britain’s most loved children’s authors. As filmmakers in the middle of a world-wide pandemic, we are similarly embarking on a journey – quite unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. The optimism and resilience of the cast and crew and the bravery of Sky to back us to the hilt, is as inspiring to me as a producer as the story itself. We are delighted that Abi’s wonderful writing has attracted such a stunningly funny cast.”

Produced by Hartswood Films for Sky Studios, Roald & Beatrix, the tail of the curious mouse was commissioned by Jon Mountague, Sky Studios’ Director of Comedy and Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content. Produced by Elaine Cameron, directed by David Kerr (Inside Number 9, Jonny English Strikes Again) and written and exec produced by Abi Wilson, the show is executive produced by Sue Vertue and Dan Cheesbrough for Hartswood Films and Jon Mountague for Sky Studios. The film will be distributed internationally by NBCUniversal Global Distribution. The production is also pleased to be supported by Creative Wales, shooting on location in Wales and at Seren Studios in Cardiff.

Dafydd Elis-Thomas Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and TourismI’m delighted that Creative Wales has been able to support this production, which promises to be a magical adventure based on two authors which have strong links with Wales. We are pleased that Wales is the location of choice for this production from Hartswood Films, who have a strong track record in the delivery of high quality drama in Wales. This production provides a timely and welcome boost to the skilled crew and supply chain returning to work on such an exciting, prestigious project.”

Roald & Beatrix, the tail of the curious mouse will air on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV this Christmas.

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact:

Dominic.Collett@sky.uk

Molly.wyatt@sky.uk

About Sky

With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 32,000 employees help connect our customers to the very best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own local, original content.

Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, we plan to double our investment in original content by 2024. We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in UK creative sector in the first five years alone.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, we believe it is our responsibility to do it safely. That’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. We recently announced a series of commitments to help tackle racial injustice and improve diversity and inclusion. To ensure the commitments are delivered, Sky will invest £10million per year across its markets for each of the next three years. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030 – two decades before we have to – and we’re an inclusive employer recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity.

About NOW TV

NOW TV is a leading UK streaming service, giving you the best TV, box sets, movies, sports and kids entertainment whenever, and wherever, you want it. Pick from the range of content passes including Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Kids and reality TV with hayu.

You can stream content to watch through the NOW TV app, available on over 60 devices including the NOW TV Smart Stick and Smart Box and even download your favourite shows and movies to watch on the go.
NOW TV is the home of the best new and original British comedies, Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy award winning dramas, Sky originals and movies. NOW TV customers can enjoy over 30 new movies every month and Sky Atlantic shows, without a contract.

Sports fans can enjoy all the action across all 11 Sky Sports channels through day, week or month passes.
NOW TV also offers great value reliable broadband as a standalone contract-free service with NOW Broadband.

For more information, visit nowtv.com
For the latest special offers visit nowtv.com/offers
Follow us at facebook.com/NOWTV
Check out our latest videos and pictures at Instagram.com/NOWTV
Join the conversation on twitter @NOWTV

About Sky Studios

Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe.

We develop, produce and fund original drama, comedy and documentary for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond, with 52 scripted shows already in production. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky originals including Emmy-winning Chernobyl, Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose and international hits Babylon Berlin and Riviera, Sky Studios is the new creative home of Sky originals, such as The Third Day with Jude Law, ZeroZeroZero from the makers of Gomorrah and The New Pope directed by Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino.

We’re an agile Studio, seeking out the best untold stories from new voices while working in creative partnership with today’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to bring viewers stories they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

With commissioning talent and production capability across the UK, Germany and Italy, we understand local tastes across Europe better than anyone else and have plans to more than double our investment in original content by 2024, fully supported and backed by Comcast NBC Universal.

We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in UK creative sector in the first five years alone.

Sky Studios invests in the cultural economy and global production sector with equity stakes in nine production companies in the UK and the US, including Great British Bake-Off creator Love Productions, and the premiere reality crime producer in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, creator of long-running hit Snapped. Sky Studios has invested in high quality factual specialists Blast Films and True North Productions; entertainment and format expert Znak & Co (US & UK); natural history producer True to Nature; drama producers The Lighthouse and Longboat Pictures; and growth businesses Sugar Films, Chrysalis Vision, and Talos Films (US).

Sky Studios launched in June 2019. The senior leadership team is Chief Executive Officer Gary Davey, Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip, Chief Finance Officer Caroline Cooper, Director of Drama UK Cameron Roach, Director of Comedy UK Jon Mountague, Director Original Production Sky Italia Nils Hartmann, and Director Original Productions Sky Deutschland Marcus Ammon.

Related news