The Gruffalo is a 2009 British-German short computer animated TV film based on the picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, the film was produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures, London, in association with the award winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany, who developed and created the film.
The cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.
9.8 million people watched the UK premiere on BBC One, Friday 25 December 2009 and the film went on to receive both an Academy Award and a BAFTA nomination. It was screened in US theaters, distributed by Kidtoon Films. In December 2012, the film and its sequel The Gruffalo's Child premiered on television in the United States on PBS Kids Sprout.
A mother red squirrel tells a story to her son and daughter about a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him - first a fox, then an owl, then a snake - the plucky mouse uses his wits to survive. He lies to each one that he is meeting a monster with terrible features (calling his imaginary creature a ‘Gruffalo’), says that its favourite food is whichever animal he is speaking to at the time, and that he is meeting the Gruffalo "right here". Each predator then panics and runs away.
Mouse is confident until he suddenly comes face to face with a real Gruffalo, exactly as he had described it. Mouse then says that everyone is afraid of him in the forest, asking the Gruffalo to follow him and see. As the two of them meet animals in the forest, the presence of the Gruffalo frightens them: The Gruffalo believes they are afraid of the mouse. Mouse's tummy rumbles and he says his favourite food is Gruffalo crumble, causing the Gruffalo to retreat in fear. Finally safe, he finds a nut, and can eat it in peace.Helena Bonham Carter as Mother Squirrel (Narrator)
James Corden as Mouse
Robbie Coltrane as The Gruffalo
Tom Wilkinson as Fox
John Hurt as Owl
Rob Brydon as Snake
Sam Lewis as First Little Squirrel
Phoebe Givron-Taylor as Second Little Squirrel
The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, was published in 1999 and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. In a BBC Radio 2 poll in 2009, the book was voted as the UK’s favourite bedtime story. The book has been adapted into a 27-minute animated film, which was broadcast on BBC One in the UK on 25 December 2009. This new version features Robbie Coltrane in the title role and James Corden as the mouse as well as Helena Bonham Carter as the mother squirrel narrator and Rob Brydon as the Snake. The production was animated at the award winning Studio Soi in Germany and produced through Magic Light Pictures. The film also has the voices of John Hurt as the Owl and Tom Wilkinson as the Fox. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) on 25 January 2011. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA in 2010.
The film premiered on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, watched by 9.8 million people, with The Daily Mirror hailing it as "a family classic for years to come". Review website Den of Geek described it as an "utterly charming piece of magic". Paul Connolly of The Daily Mail called it "captivating".
The film has been broadcast across the world, including on ZDF in Germany. It premiered on United States television on 9 December 2010 on ABC Family during its 25 Days of Christmas programming block. It also aired on YTV in Canada on 18 December 2011.
The Gruffalo has also been shown on Nick Jr in the UK and is distributed on DVD by Entertainment One. NCircle distribute the DVD in the USA, Phase 4 in Canada and Concorde in Germany.
A Scottish Gaelic version has also been produced, with the voice of the Gruffalo provided by Bill Paterson. An Gruffalo was first shown on BBC Alba on Christmas Eve 2010.
The film has also proved a hit with festival audiences around the world. On top of its Academy Award and BAFTA nominations it has also been awarded prizes at festivals including Annecy International Animation Festival (France), Anima Mundi (Brazil), The Broadcast Awards 2011 (UK), Cartoons on the Bay (Italy), Chicago International Children's Festival (Canada), CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (Canada), Ottawa International Animation Festival (Canada), Prix Jeunesse (Germany), Sapporo Short Fest (Japan), Shanghai Television Festival (China) and Internationales Trick Film Festival (Germany). The Gruffalo was also nominated for the prestigious Cartoon d'or 2011.
The sequel to the Gruffalo, based on the follow-up to the picture book, was shown on BBC One on Christmas Day 2011.