Melissa Bradshaw

BBC One announces musical adaptation of Michael Morpurgo book

10:15, 19th August 2019

BBC One has announced that a special animated adaptation of Sir Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book Mimi and the Mountain Dragon, narrated through classical music, will receive its television premiere this winter.

The film, which will be broadcast on BBC One during this year’s Christmas period, features as part of the BBC’s 2019/20 focus on literature. It aims to help introduce children to classical music with an original score written by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman (The Little Prince) and performed by the BBC Philharmonic featuring the Hallé Choir.

Jan Younghusband, head of commissioning for BBC Music TV, approached Morpurgo and asked him if he could write a children’s story that could be set to classical music for BBC Television. Inspired by a previous trip to a village in Switzerland, Morpurgo wrote Mimi and the Mountain Dragon – a tale of a little girl called Mimi who finds a baby dragon and journeys through blizzard and darkness to return it to its mother, a mighty mountain dragon feared by the entire village.

‘Many years ago, in the Engadine valley in Switzerland, I saw village children in red hats, cracking whips, ringing cowbells, banging drums, creating a great cacophony of noise as they paraded up through the village,’ Morpurgo says of his inspiration behind the story. ‘I asked why this was happening. They are driving away wicked spirits, I was told. So began my story of Mimi and the Mountain Dragon.’

Based on original illustrations by Emily Gravett and adapted for the screen by novelist, poet and playwright Owen Sheers, the film is produced by Leopard Pictures and animation studio Factory.

Younghusband comments: ‘At the BBC we have a proud heritage of finding new ways to introduce children to classical music, stretching right back to Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, The BBC’s Ten Pieces project and now Mimi and the Mountain Dragon.

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