Sir Michael Morpurgo’s Mimi and the Mountain Dragon was first published in 2014 and the book is illustrated by Helen Stephens (How to Hide a Lion). The children’s book is a snow-covered winter tale about a castle lair high in the mountains of Switzerland which is home to a dragon. The village below quake in fear of the dragon, that is until a girl called Mimi finds a baby dragon and makes a brave decision and takes a perilous journey through a blizzard that results in a heart-warming finale.
The book first started its life when Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning for BBC Music TV approached Sir Michael Morpurgo and asked him if he could create a children’s story that could be set to classical music for BBC television. Morpurgo did just that, writing Mimi and the Mountain Dragon which took inspiration from a trip to a village in Switzerland that the writer took a few years prior.
Sir Michael Morpurgo explained: “Many years ago, in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, I saw village children in red hats, cracking whips, ringing cowbells, banging drums, creating a great cacophony of noise, as they paraded up through the village. I asked why this was happening. They are driving away wicked spirits, I was told. So began my story of Mimi And The Mountain Dragon.”
This year, Mimi and the Mountain Dragon will finally be transformed into the idea it was first created for with a special 2D animated adaptation of the book. The film will be narrated by classic music with an original score written by Oscar award-winning composer, Rachel Portman, who wrote the music for the opera adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. The music will be performed by the BBC philharmonic, featuring singers from the Hallé’s family of choirs, and will be recorded at Media City UK, Salford.
The newly animated film from Leopard Pictures and Factory is adapted for screen by novelist, playwright and poet, Owen Sheers and is based on original illustrations by Emily Gravett, an English author and illustrator of children’s books.
Sir Michael Morpurgo said, “now, extraordinarily, wonderfully, this little story is being made into an animated film, by Leopard Pictures and Factory Create. And what a team BBC Music have put together. There is music by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman, a script by Owen Sheers, the great Welsh poet (so he knows a thing or two about dragons!) and with magical drawings from the supremely talented Emily Gravett. I can’t wait to see it!”
The animated adaptation of Mimi and the Mountain Dragon will air over the festive period this year. Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: “We’re delighted to be bringing this enchanting mix of music and storytelling to BBC One this Christmas. Sir Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful book will be perfectly complemented by the music of Rachel Portman, The BBC Philharmonic and singers from the Hallé’s family of choirs – a real festive treat for all the family.”