The BBC and Netflix have announced they are co-producing a new TV series of Watership Down, based on the classic Richard Adams novel.
The animated show, which will air next year on BBC One in the UK and Netflix overseas, will be written by Tom Bidwell and Noam Murro. The series is a co-production between BBC One and Netflix, and produced by 42 and Murro’s company Biscuit Films. The animation team will be led by Pete Dodd and Hugo Sands, working with the Dublin-based studio Brown Bag Films.
Several big-name actors are already lined up to voice the characters, including James McAvoy, John Boyega, Nicholas Hoult and Ben Kingsley.
Matthew Read, BBC drama commissioning editor, said in a statement: “Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down, Richard Adams’ novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest-selling books in history. It is fantastic to have the opportunity to bring a modern-classic to a mainstream BBC One audience with such an incredible roster of actors alongside the talented team overseeing the animation. This fantastic take on the novel will unite the whole family, and bring this classic story to a new generation.”
Watership Down was first published in 1972 and went on to become a children’s classic, winning both the Carnegie and the Guardian Children’s Book Prize.
A film, which terrified many younger viewers, was released in 1978, although the producer of the new TV show said his version would be less "brutal".
Rory Aitken told The Telegraph: “The thing about Watership Down is that it’s an epic adventure story. It’s not a terrifying, brutal story. I think that in a way we want to restore the reputation that the book should have as one of the great adventure stories of all time.