There’s a real treat on the way for BBC One this Christmas when beloved tale Watership Down comes to TV in a new adaptation.
Richard Adams’ book about a group of rabbits making a perilous journey to a safer place to live has been a favourite for generations.
Here’s all you need to know about when Watership Down is on TV and who is in the cast.
When is Watership Down on TV?
When the BBC first announced that it was making Watership Down, the mini-series was supposed to air in 2017.
However, the joint production with Netflix is finally due to be shown on BBC One at Christmas 2018 in two feature-length episodes.
The animated production has had some of screen’s biggest stars queuing up to voice characters.
James McAvoy stars as Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as Fiver, John Boyega as Bigwig, Gemma Arterton as Clover, and Olivia Colman as Strawberry.
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther) plays Bluebell, Rosamund Pike (A Private War, Gone Girl) is The Black Rabbit Of Inlé, and Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who, The Thick Of It) is the seagull Kehaar.
They’re joined by Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Rocketman) as El-Ahrairah, Mackenzie Crook (Britannia, Detectorists) as Hawkbit, Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians, Humans) as Dewdrop, Jason Watkins (A Very English Scandal, The Crown) as Captain Orchis, Rory Kinnear (Peterloo, Skyfall) as Cowslip, and Craig Parkinson (Line Of Duty, Indian Summers) as Sainfoin.
Also on board are Henry Goodman (Genius, Snatch) as Blackavar, Tom Wilkinson (The Happy Prince, Selma) as Threarah, Lee Ingleby (The A Word, Innocent) as Captain Campion, Charlotte Spencer (Line Of Duty, Glue) as Nettle, and Daniel Rigby (Flowers, Sick Note) as Dandelion.
The cast is completed by Sir Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort, Freddie Fox as Captain Holly, Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay, and Miles Jupp as Blackberry.
What is it about?
Most of us will be familiar with Watership Down’s emotion-filled adventure which follows a band of rabbits as they go in search of a new home in the English countryside.
The animals are led by a pair of brave brothers, who give up Sandleford Warren for a promised safe haven away from the dangers that have been plaguing them.
Humans are starting to encroach on the rabbits’ home, so they set off for pastures new – but must face all kinds of terrifying and deadly adversaries along the way.
Richard Adams’ story is full of heartbreaking moments, so prepare for the weepiest Christmas since Matthew Crawley was killed off in Downton Abbey.
As if the production couldn’t get any more starry, Grammy, Brit, and Oscar-winning singer Sam Smith has signed up to sing the theme tune.
He has written an original song inspired by Watership Down, called Fire on Fire, which will be used as the theme for the series.
Sam said: “I am so excited and honoured to be a part of this new adaptation of Watership Down. This story is so powerful and timeless, and it has been thrilling to work with Noam (Murro, director) and his team and the incredible Steve Mac on this song for it. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.”
Watership Down comes to BBC One this Christmas.
Don’t miss it with BT TV – look out for it on the BBC iPlayer app and Netflix.