Gabriel Byrne to voice a horse in BBC adaptation of bestselling illustrated book

Gabriel Byrne to voice a horse in BBC adaptation of bestselling illustrated book

IRISH ACTOR Gabriel Byrne is to voice the role of the Horse in the short film adaptation of an internationally bestselling illustrated book this Christmas.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Macksey follows the unlikely friendship of a boy and his animal friends as they journey together in the boy's search for home. The story, which will air on the BBC, is set to take "audiences of all ages on an extraordinary, poignant and heartfelt journey this festive season," the broadcaster says.

After its publication in 2019, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse was named Book of the Year by Waterstones and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards’ Nonfiction Lifestyle Book of the Year.

Mackesy, 59, previously worked with Nelson Mandela on a lithograph project, The Unity Series, and also helps support a honey social enterprise in Zambia.

Other actors lending their voices to the various roles include Tom Hollander as the Mole, Idris Elba as the Fox and newcomers Jude Coward Nicoll as the Boy.

The short film brings to life the magic of the original book – with Charlie Mackesy’s distinctive illustrations reimagined in full colour with hand-drawn traditional animation.

Speaking about the project, Macksey said the journey to creating the film "has been a magical one".

"It’s so great to think the story will be in the nation's homes this Christmas – and I really hope it helps bring comfort, love and laughter."

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer says:

“Charlie Mackesy’s heart-warming and inspirational story brought to life through NoneMore Productions’ and Bad Robot Productions’ beautiful animation, is about the importance of love, kindness and friendship. It’s the perfect fit for Christmas on the BBC and a reminder to us all about what really matters in this world."

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse is a Matthew Freud production, produced by Cara Speller of NoneMore Productions and J.J. Abrams and Hannah Minghella of Bad Robot Productions. It is co-directed by Charlie Mackesy and Peter Baynton, and the film is adapted from the original book in collaboration with Jon Croker. Original score by composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Geoff Alexander.