The Snow Spider series by Jenny Nimmo is to be adapted into a five-part fantasy drama on CBBC and BBC Wales.
The bestselling trilogy, first published in 1986, follows nine-year-old Gwyn Griffiths on a mystical journey of discovery. Produced by Leopard Pictures and adapted for television by BAFTA award-winning writer Owen Sheers, the new 5 x 30’ drama will arrive on CBBC and BBC Wales in 2020.
Led by new director, Jennifer Sheridan, with Martyna Knitter as director of photography, "The Snow Spider" will be made by a strong female led production team and will feature special effects from Liverpool-based visual effects company Sparkle VFX. Filming will take place on location in and around the Wirral with additional filming in Wales throughout October.
"The Snow Spider" opens with Gwyn Griffiths gloomily awaiting the day of his ninth birthday, an occasion marred once again by the reminder of his missing sister Bethan, who disappeared four years earlier. Little does he know his life is about to be changed forever.
Set in a picturesque Welsh landscape, the drama boasts an all Welsh cast including Melanie Walters ("Gavin & Stacey") as Gwyn’s grandmother, Nain; Matthew Gravelle ("Broadchurch") and Kezia Burrows ("Doctor Foster") have been cast in the roles of Gwyn’s parents, Ivor and Glenys Griffiths.
The children will be played by newcomers Fflyn Edwards as Gwyn Griffiths; Mali Jenkins as Bethan and Gwyn’s mysterious friend, Eirlys; along with Dion Mason-Jones and Eva Ossei-Gerning as Gwyn’s friends Alun and Nia Lloyd. Also joining the cast will be Carli De La Hughes and Simon Nehan as Alun and Nia’s parents Rhiannon and Richard, plus Jonah Kelly-Fisher and Macsen Forrest as the devious school bullies Dewi and Gary.
Author of the original best-selling book trilogy, which has sold 78,595 books across all editions in the BookScan era, Nimmo said: “Owen Sheers' adaptation is really wonderful. He has so cleverly brought the story into the present, while enhancing the magic and atmosphere. I am also excited to see such an incredible mixture of established and brand new talent, led by director Jennifer Sheridan, all bringing my book to life on CBBC....Brilliant!”
Sheers added: “It’s been such a pleasure to dive into the world of Jenny Nimmo’s The Snow Spider, and now to have such an exciting cast and creative team to take my adaptation of her book from the page to the screen is very exciting. The whole project holds a special resonance for me as I have fond memories of my parents’ neighbour, Julia Jones, adapting the books for TV back in the 1980s, so to be able to create a new, modern version has been a wonderful opportunity. I’m also hoping I’ve finally written something my five year old daughter will watch!”
Executive produced by Kristian Smith and produced by Lindsay Hughes from Leopard Pictures with Amy Buscombe as commissioning editor for BBC, "The Snow Spider" was commissioned by CBBC and BBC Wales and received investment from the Liverpool City Region Production Fund as well as additional support through the Liverpool Film Office.
Nick Andrews, commissioning editor, BBC Wales, said “This series is going to be such a treat. We’re all about to be whisked away to a magical world that’s captured the hearts and minds of a generation of readers. Deep in myth and magic yet rooted in family. This is series is going to be a cracker.”
Smith, m.d. at Leopard Pictures, added: "Jenny Nimmo’s Snow Spider Trilogy has been adored by generations; The magnificent Owen Sheers has adapted the first book in this timeless series, bringing the messages of hope, magic and understanding to modern audiences on CBBC and BBC Wales.”