Zog – Everything you need to know about the big BBC1 Christmas 2018 animation

(Image credit: BBC/Magic Light Pictures Ltd/Ora)

Zog, by Julia Donaldson (author) and Axel Scheffler (illustrator), is coming to BBC1 this Christmas and will feature an all-star cast including Sir Lenny Henry as the narrator and Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington as Sir Gadabout. It will be shown on Christmas Day!

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s magical children's story Zog will be the big animated treat on BBC1 this Christmas.

The enchanting adventure will feature an all-star cast, with Sir Lenny Henry as the narrator, Tracey Ullman as Madame Dragon, Hugh Skinner as Zog, Patsy Ferran as Princess Pearl and Kit Harrington as Sir Gadabout.

Zog Lenny Henry

Lenny Henry is thrilled to be in Zog

Zog, which has also been adapted for the stage, follows a loveable young dragon who’s trying to find his way in a magical, but tricky world.

The accident-prone dragon gets himself into all kinds of scrapes whilst learning how to fly, roar, breathe fire and fight knights in his first four years at Dragon School. Each year he meets a kind young girl who mends his injuries… now it’s year five, though, and he has to capture a princess!

Zog BBC1 Christmas 2018

Zog promises to be a wonderful Christmas treat

Sir Lenny Henry says: "It's wonderful to have voiced the narrator in Zog for this Christmas. The story has a lovely lyricism to it and it's been really good fun seeing the beautiful animation come together. There's a cast of brilliant actors and the story is silly, and outrageous, and surreal, and I like all of those things!"

Tracy Ullman, who plays Madame Dragon, added: “What I like about this project is that it has a real generosity. A quality piece that’s classic and charming.

"Christmas schedules on the BBC are so special in the UK. The tradition of ‘appointment TV’ and the family coming together is just lovely. It’s nice to have been part of that this year.”

The animated half hour – which will be shown on Christmas Day on BBC1 at 4.50pm – is being directed by Max Lang, the Oscar nominated director of Room on the Room and The Gruffalo, also by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

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Another of their stories, The Highway Rat, was a huge hit last Christmas. The Highland Rat, voiced by Doctor Who star David Tennant and comedian Rob Brydon, was watched by six million viewers on Christmas Day last year.

Highway Rat 4.4pm BBC1 Christmas Day

The Highway Rat was a big hit last Christmas

Michael Rose, Co-Founder, Magic Light Pictures says: “It’s wonderful to be bringing this amazing Donaldson/Scheffler title to BBC1 following The Highway Rat’s success. Zog is a tremendous character in a world of dragons, princesses and knights, an adventure the family can all enjoy watching together."

Zog writer Julia Donaldson

Zog writer Julia Donaldson

Zog was first published in 2010 and has sold over 1.5 million copies. Famous fans Princess Charlotte and Prince George might be tuning in!

Zog is being shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day at 4.50pm.

Julia Donaldson pic: Mike Lawn/REX/Shutterstock

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!