BBC and Netflix’s Watership Down added four big names to what’s already proven to be an A-list cast, with Rosamund Pike (A Private War), Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians), and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) joining the voice cast of the series adaptation. Pike will play The Black Rabbit Of Inlé, Capaldi plays seagull Kehaar, Egerton is set as El-Ahrairah and Chan plays Dewdrop.
Adapted for the screen by Tom Bidwell (My Mad Fat Diary) and co-directed by Alan Short and Seamus Malone, the series also features James McAvoy, Daniel Kaluuya, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, John Boyega and Gemma Arterton. Rounding out the all-star cast are Miles Jupp, Freddie Fox, Mackenzie Crook, Olivia Colman, Anne-Marie Duff, Rory Kinnear, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Watkins, Craig Parkinson, Henry Goodman, Lee Ingleby, Charlotte Spencer, and Daniel Rigby.
Watership Down premieres as two special feature length episodes on BBC One at Christmas, and will run globally on Netflix.
Based on Richard Adams’ bestselling novel but with a new interpretation, Watership Down is set in the idyllic rural landscape of southern England, as a tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stout-hearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, towards a promised land and a more perfect society.
British pop singer Sam Smith and Steve Mac have written the original song ‘Fire on Fire’ as the series theme. Smith recorded the song with the BBC Concert Orchestra at London’s Abbey Road Studios in September 2018.
“It’s a real testament to the calibre of this adaptation of Watership Down that it has attracted such an exciting roll call of names to bring these much loved characters to life. Now – in Sam Smith – we have one of the world’s most successful recording artists, with the perfect new song to serve as the series’ theme. BBC One viewers are in for a treat this Christmas.”
– Ben Irving, Executive Producer, BBC One
Serving as executive producers on the series are Rory Aitken, Josh Varney, Ben Pugh, and Eleanor Moran for 42; Noam Murro for Biscuit Entertainment; Martin Rosen; and Ben Irving for BBC One.
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Sam – his stunning track resonates deeply with the themes of the show. We’re bowled over by the talent involved in the mini series, both on screen and off; it’s a labour of love to adapt such a deeply moving and important book, and we’re incredibly excited to be bringing the show to television audiences this Christmas.”
– Rory Aitken and Josh Varney, Executive Producers, 42