Animated films of 'Zagazoo' and 'Jack and Nancy' launch on CBBC iPlayer

Friday 1st December 2023

Quentin Blake’s Box of Treasures is opening on the BBC just in time for Christmas.  The full box set will include animated versions of six of Quentin's best-loved books, but the series has launched on BBC iPlayer today with two of them: Zagazoo and Jack and Nancy.
Loveykins, Snuff, Angel Pavement and Mrs Armitage on Wheels will follow in 2024.

Familiar voices are connected to the project: Simon Pegg is cast as the lead in Zagazoo and Adrian Lester as the narrator across each story.

Eagle Eye Drama is the production company behind the project. Creating a workable standard and staying true to the illustrator’s voice meant months of copying and testing.  “It was literally like having an intensive course in a new language,” says Massimo Fenati, Creative Director at Eagle Eye. “Animators were asked to spend the first few days or weeks only sketching and sketching until they could find a way to follow the master’s voice. We even came up with a motto: Blake it till you make it.”  There were all sorts of small Blake-isms the team had to become good at, like overlapping lines and unjoined corners, or using lighter ink for backgrounds. 

Following their success with Quentin's Blake's Clown in 2020, Eagle Eye knew that traditional animation was the only technique that could do the style justice, to adequately reflect Quentin's own paper-based style of working. The production also relied quite heavily on compositing – where animated elements are placed on backgrounds – so watercolour and grainy textures could be added. Animation was split between three studios, Spicy Acorn in Belgium, Eagle Eye’s lead studio, Tchack in France and Kong Studio in London.  Get some behind-the-scenes insights into the animation process with this short film made by the creative team:

The project has taken two years to complete. In voiceovers alone, there were 63 parts to cast and record - but now the results are coming to screens in the UK from 1st December.  The first two stories are on iPlayer from today, and again on children's channel CBBC on 5 December (Zagazoo) and 6 December (Jack and Nancy).  The BBC is expected to announce a double-bill of the films shortly, as part of festive programming on BBC1 during Christmas and New Year, once again bringing Quentin's magic to families at Christmas!

Watch on iPlayer (UK only)