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Jennifer Saunders: 'My daughter got me obsessed with the Moomins!'

Moominvalley rosamund pike and taron egerton plus Jennifer Saunders
(Image credit: no credit)

Our Ab Fab chat with Jennifer Saunders in Finland about Sky1's Moomnivalley....

Absolutely Fabulous legend Jennifer Saunders is one of a host of big name celebrities lending their voice to Sky 1's new high-budget animation series Moominvalley featuring the adventures of the iconic and loveable Moomin characters,  created by late Finnish author Tove  Jansson.

TV Times braved the freezing temperatures in Finland to catch up with Jennifer at the world premiere in Helsinki to hear why she jumped at the chance to take part in the 13-part series being shown on Sky1, Sky Kids and NOW TV along with Taron Egerton, Rosamund Pike, Kate Winslet, Matt Berry and Matt Lucas. It seems it was her youngest daughter, Freya, she has thank for becoming the voice of Moomnivalley's Mymble...

TV Times:  Many of us have grown up reading the Moomin books…what do they mean to you?

Jennifer Saunders: "I was never really into Moomins as a child, although I remember the books being around. It was my youngest daughter Freya who got me Moomin obsessed! She just took to them and I really learned about the Moomin world through her.

"She’s now 28 and she’s over-excited to be here in Finland. She’s just sad that the Moominland theme park is closed for the winter so we’re having to return, obviously! Freya loves everything that Tove Jansson’s ever written, so when this came up I just thought abso-bloody-lutely I’m doing it. It’s been so beautifully created so it was a no-brainer really."

Moominvalley rosamund pike and taron egerton

Moominvalley magic...The Moomin family and friends (Image credit: Gusty Animations)

TVT: What’s your take on your character Mymble?

Jennifer Saunders: "Everything in the Moomins represents part of your psyche or part of life and Mymble is who Tove Jansson used for ‘great lover’. Mymble has so many children but is the antithesis of Moominmamma (voiced by Rosamund Pike) as she has so many children she even forgets how many she’s got! She’s always travelling so she’s a sort of Bohemian, and is really good fun to play!"

TVT: What will audiences take from this series?

Jennifer Saunders: "In today’s world most animations are just wam bam and loud, but I think these stories are just very charming and magical and I think kids do respond to that."

TVT: Are you going to explore Helsinki with Freya?

Jennifer Saunders: "We’ll be coming back to pay a visit to Moominland when it’s open at a warmer time of year. I really don’t know Finland at all and I’ve never been to Helsinki before so I’m looking forward to exploring in the snow. I don’t mind cold weather, as long as it’s proper cold it’s fine by me. I don’t like that British type of cold when it’s freezing one day and warmer the next, then it’s drizzly and you think, 'Oh do crack on Winter!'"

TVT: It would be nice to hibernate in winter like the Moomins do…

JS: "I quite like the idea of hibernating I must say. I think that’s rather a good idea. Have a good old sleep and wake up when the world is in bloom!"

TVT: Would you like to write for children?

JS: "I don’t know really. I don’t know if there’s any point because there are so many people out there who are really good at it, why would I go and do it? I don’t see any point really!"

* Moominvalley begins with a double bill on Sky1 on Good Friday 19 April, 5.30pm and the Box Set is available on Sky Kids and Now TV.

Nicholas Cannon
Nicholas Cannon

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.