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FIRST LOOK Watership Down

This Christmas, BBC One will air two special feature-length episodes voiced by an all-star cast that includes James McAvoy, John Boyega, Olivia Colman and Daniel Kaluuya plus an original theme song by Sam Smith.

Back in April 2016, it was announced that the series, written by Tom Bidwell, would feature the voices of; James McAvoy as Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as Fiver, Sir Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort, John Boyega as Bigwig, Gemma Arterton as Clover, Miles Jupp as Blackberry, Freddie Fox as Captain Holly, Olivia Colman as Strawberry and Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay.

Today the BBC have announced some more A-list names joining the cast including Daniel Kaluuya and Rosamund Pike will play Bluebell and The Black Rabbit Of Inlé and Peter Capaldi as the seagull Kehaar.

Taron Egerton has joined the cast as El-Ahrairah, with Mackenzie Crook as Hawkbit, Gemma Chan as Dewdrop, Jason Watkins as Captain Orchis, Rory Kinnear as Cowslip, Craig Parkinson as Sainfoin, Henry Goodman as Blackavar, Tom Wilkinson as Threarah, Lee Ingleby as Captain Campion, Charlotte Spencer as Nettle and Daniel Rigby as Dandelion.

Watership Down uses Richard Adams’ bestselling novel as its source to bring an innovative interpretation to the beloved story. Set in the idyllic rural landscape of southern England, this tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home.

Led by a stout-hearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, towards a promised land and a more perfect society.

They have also released some first-look pictures...

Strawberry (Olivia Colman)

Hazel (James McAvoy), Blackberry (Miles Jupp), Bigwig (John Boyega), Fiver (Nicholas Hoult), Dandelion (Daniel Rigby) and Hawkbit (Mackenzie Crook)

Sergeant Sanfoin (Craig Parkinson), Captain Campion (Lee Ingleby), Hyzenthlay (Anne-Marie Duff), Nettle (Charlotte Spencer) and Bigwig (John Boyega)

Clover (Gemma Arterton)

Fiver (Nicholas Hoult), Hazel (James McAvoy) and Bigwig (John Boyega)

In addition to the first look pictures, the BBC have announced that Sam Smith has been inspired by Richard Adams’ classic novel to write and record Fire On Fire, an original song that will serve as the theme to the forthcoming animated mini-series.

The track was co-written with Steve Mac and recorded by Sam Smith with the BBC Concert Orchestra at London’s Abbey Road Studios in September 2018.

Speaking about the new song, Sam says: “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 and his team and the incredible Steve Mac on this song for it. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do. x ”

Watership Down will air this Christmas on BBC One followed by a worldwide release on Netflix

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