The countdown to Christmas can officially begin because BBC One have revealed the first details of this year’s Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler film – Zog and the Flying Doctors.

Airing on BBC One on Christmas Day, Julia Donaldson’s enchanting animated adventures have become as much a part of the festive season as Morecambe and Wise, Brussels sprouts and eggnog.

Created by Magic Light Pictures, previous animated delights have included The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Zog, Stick Man and 2019’s The Snail and the Whale.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2020’s fabulous and timely Zog and the Flying Doctors…

When is Zog and the Flying Doctors on TV?

Rob Brydon returns for another Julian Donaldson adventure Magic Light Pictures/BBC

Zog and the Flying Doctors is expected to take a prize spot on BBC One’s Christmas Day schedule.

Parents and kids will be able to enjoy the series whenever they want over the holidays on BBC iPlayer.

Magic Light Pictures have been making Julia Donaldson adaptations for over a decade for BBC One.

The first film, The Gruffalo, aired in 2009.

Since then they’ve made The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat, Zog and the Snail and the Whale.

Who are the voice cast?

Hugh Skinner Getty
Hugh Skinner - The voice of Zog

Hugh Skinner (Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!) returns as the voice of the dragon Zog, who is joined in his latest adventure by flying doctors Pearl (Patsy Ferran) and Gadabout (Daniel Ings).

Sir Lenny Henry is the Narrator of the film and Rob Brydon – who has appeared in every Julia Donaldson adaptation – voices the King, who falls sick in the story.

Mark Bonnar (Quiz) plays the Unicorn, Lucian Msamati (Talking Heads) voices Lion and Alexandra Roach (Utopia) is Mermaid.

“These Donaldson and Scheffler productions are so magical, it’s a joy to be able to lend my voice to such fun and beautiful animations at Christmas,” said Sir Lenny Henry.

“Zog’s continued story is one of teamwork and empowerment, things we all need more of these days.”

What happens in Zog and the Flying Doctors?

In Zog and the Flying Doctors, Zog, Pearl and Gadabout are now a flying doctor trio, caring for creatures including a mermaid, a unicorn and a sneezy lion. However, when bad weather forces them to land at the palace, Pearl is locked up by her uncle, the King.

Zog and Gadabout try in vain to set her free. Pearl gets a chance to escape, but instead decides to stay and care for the ill King, in the process gaining his respect, regaining his love and with it her freedom. 

Which Julia Donaldson book will be animated next?

The BBC usually announce the next Donaldson film at Christmas time, but there is no shortage of options for 2021.

Parents and kids would love to see “super-long and super-strong” dynamic hero Superworm make it onto TV, the romance of The Scarecrows’ Weddings or the purr-fect adventures of Tabby McTat.

However, top of our list is Donaldson’s most recent children’s book The Smeds and the Smoos, about love conquering boundaries between warring alien families.

Watch Zog and the Flying Doctors on BBC One at Christmas.

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