A celebration of the life and work of one of Britain’s best-selling children’s authors, with unique access to Julia Donaldson, her family, her rich archives and home movies, and the remarkable cast of characters that have sprung from her imagination. Specially commissioned animated illustrations from her long-term illustrator Axel Scheffler bring Julia’s biography to life, and well-known admirers and collaborators pay tribute to the woman who has created characters and stories that have become fixtures of children’s bedtime routines all around the world, as well as spawning award-winning adaptations for stage and screen.
Looking at The Gruffalo, Zog and the Flying Doctors, Princess Mirror-Belle, The Scarecrow’s Wedding, Stick Man and The Paper Dolls, the programme uncovers the surprising stories behind the creation of Julia’s iconic characters and what they mean to a generation of readers. It also explores why Donaldson’s books appeal to both children and adults alike – tackling serious themes of love, loss, fear and bullying in a poignant but subtle way.
Passages from Julia’s much-loved books are read by Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton and James McAvoy, and contributors including David Walliams, Nadiya Hussain, Claudia Winkleman, Sophie Dahl, Victoria Coren Mitchell and Michael Rosen pay tribute to her talent.