The BBC is adapting the epic journey from Richard Adams, Watership Down. If this was a seminole book or film (1978 animated feature) in your life like it was for so many: whether it fascinated or traumatized you, you should be excited. The cast is assembling. The details are slowly leaking out. Here’s what we know.
Watership Down will be aired in four parts, as a mini-series. The epic journey of a small group of rabbits in search of a safe home when facing the destructive forces of humankind and impending doom for their warren will be in presented in 3-D animation. And, it has an all-star cast.
Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi just signed on to play the injured ally black-headed gull, Kehaar. The rest of the cast includes: James McAvoy (Hazel), Nicholas Hoult (Fiver), John Boyega (Bigwig), Olivia Colman (Strawberry), Gemma Arterton (Clover), Daniel Kaluuya (Bluebell), Rosamund Pike (Black Rabbit of Inl’e), Taron Egerton (El-Ahrairah), Mackenzie Crook (Hawkbit), Gemma Chan (Dewdrop), Jason Watkins (Captain Orchis), Craig Parkinson (Sainfoin), Tom Wilkinson (Threarah), Lee Ingleby (Captain Campion), Charlotte Spencer (Nettle), Freddie Fox (Captain Holly), Anne-Marie Duff (Hyzenthlay), Miles Jupp (Blackberry) and Sir Ben Kingsley (General Woundwort).
The first images of the new adaptation give us some of the magic and only a fraction of the danger that the story is so famous for. That makes sense, because according to The Telegraph, “programme-makers promise to tone down its most brutal images” as to avoid the trauma that the 1978 film imposed on tender-aged viewers. Executive producer, Rory Aitken said, “While we won’t shy away from the darkness in the book, visually it won’t be as brutal and scarring.” That’s probably good. But, they’re not holding back on trying to make it impressive. It is “one of the most expensive mini-series ever made for the small screen”, and that might have to do with the above-named cast.
Watership Down will air on BBC1 and Netflix (outside of the UK) this Christmas.