The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson: When will it be on TV at Christmas? Who are the voice cast? All you need to know

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Smeds and The Smoos is coming to BBC One and iPlayer at Christmas. Find out who is in the voice cast for the animated adventure.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 28 September 2022 - 9.30am
BBC/Magic Light First look at The Smeds and The Smoos animation

The Smeds and The Smoos is the next animated adventure from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler to be adapted for the BBC for its now traditional Christmas Day schedule.

Magic Light Pictures, the team behind smash hits such as The Gruffalo, Zog and The Snail and the Whale, have revealed that the alien love story is the next book from Donaldson and Scheffler to be adapted for TV.

Here is everything you need to know about The Smeds and The Smoos…

When is The Smeds and The Smoos on TV?

The Smeds and The Smoos will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this Christmas.

Julia Donaldson specials normally air on Christmas Day on BBC One. We expect The Smeds and The Smoos will be the same when the Christmas schedules are revealed in December.

Who are the voice cast for The Smeds and The Smoos?

Sally Hawins, who is the narrator for The Smeds and The Smoos Gerhard Kassner

An all-star cast will be providing the voices for the cosmic adventure.

  • Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), above - Narrator
  • Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton) - Grandmother Smoo
  • Bill Bailey (Strictly Come Dancing champion, Black Books) - Grandfather Smed
  • Meera Syal (Roar) - Aunt Smed
  • Rob Brydon (Gavin and Stacey) - Uncle Smoo
  • Ashna Rabberu (Sex Education) - Janet
  • Daniel Ezra (All American) – Bill
Rob Brydon, who will voice Uncle Smoo Greg Macvean Photography

Rob Brydon, above, will be appearing in his 10th Magic Light film, having appeared in every single one of Julia Donaldson’s adaptations since he gave his voice to Snake in the first special, 2009's The Gruffalo. 

Adjoa Andoh, who plays Grandma Smoo, explained why she loved this Julia Donaldson story.

"There's just the sort of ignorant prejudice that people can harbour about each other until they come together and actually love and that survival and kinship are the things that bind all of us," said Andoh.

"Grandma Smoo is utterly capable, she can drive a rocket, she can clump about the place, she can blow her trumpet, delight in her kids and her grandkids and she can hate with a passion as well. 

"Grandma Smoo's not a woman of mild tastes, everything's fairly strong with her. So when she's your implacable enemy, she's implacably your enemy. But you could change her mind at any moment and then she will love you to death."

The Smeds and the Smoos book cover Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler

Bill Bailey, who plays Grandfather Smed, added: "I think the main themes of the film are that we should just accept differences in others.

"I think the thing I get from it is that the older generation tend to be more resistant to change. And actually, sometimes it takes the younger generation to sort of breach that divide.

"Grandpa Smed, he's the kind of patriarch of the Smed family, and he's very much the kind of protector of the family, and he's in charge. And he's quite sort of traditional, and a bit stuck in his ways. And he's sort of a little bit of a stick in the mud, really, but he's kind.

"He's not an ogre. He's a kindly old grandpa who cares about his family, I think that's the best way to describe him."

What is The Smeds and The Smoos about?

If you haven’t read the popular children’s book yet, here is a guide to the story…

On a far-off planet, two families always avoid each other. The red Smeds never mix with the Smoos, who are blue, so when a chance encounter allows young Smed Janet to become friends with Bill, a young Smoo, their families immediately try to stop it. But Janet and Bill sneak out to meet up secretly and as they grow up they fall in love.

When their families find out they could not be more horrified. So the desperate Janet and Bill sneak away to escape in the Smed’s red rocket to explore the universe together. Realising they’ve lost their children, Grandmother Smoo and Grandpa Smed are compelled to work together to try to find the young couple. Can the two clans discover how to get along?

Talking to BT TV in 2020, Julia Donaldson said that The Smeds and The Smoos was the book she wanted Magic Light Pictures to adapt next.

"I would love them at some stage to do The Smeds and The Smoos," she revealed.

"Someone was asking me if the Black Lives Matter movement crept into my books and I think the Smeds and the Smoos, well it is about rival aliens, red ones and blues and the prejudices that get overcome. That would be a nice one to do."

The book is illustrated by Axel Scheffler who co-created The Gruffalo and who has worked with Donaldson on 19 books in total.

The Smeds and The Smoos was first published by Alison Green Books in 2019 and was the UK’s bestselling picture book in hardback (2019) and paperback (2020).   

How to watch all Julia Donaldson's TV films

2021 Magic Light films Superworm

All nine Magic Light Julia Donaldson films are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Last year's film, Superworm, which was voiced by Olivia Colman and Matt Smith, was watched by eight million viewers and was the third most-watched programme on Christmas Day.

The 9 Julia Donaldson films on iPlayer:

  • Superworm
  • The Gruffalo
  • The Gruffalo’s Child
  • The Highway Rat
  • Zog
  • Zog and the Flying Doctors
  • The Snail and the Whale
  • Room on the Broom
  • Stick Man

The best Julia Donaldson films to stream on BBC iPlayer

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