Channel 4’s latest star-studded adaptation of Judith Kerr’s timeless children’s story, “Mog’s Christmas,” is poised to become an instant classic, potentially rivaling the beloved “The Snowman.” Airing on Christmas Eve at 7.45pm, the heartwarming production faithfully brings Kerr’s cherished classic to life, promising to be a delightful addition to the family-friendly festive TV lineup.
Despite an unusual time slot for its target audience, the charm of “Mog’s Christmas” lies in its accessibility through catch-up services, allowing viewers to enjoy it at their convenience. The adaptation captures the essence of Judith Kerr’s storytelling, providing a faithful rendition of the timeless classic that is sure to resonate with young children.
While the Mog stories may lack the dramatic flair of a tiger coming to tea, the character of Mog herself steals the show. Kerr’s portrayal of Mog as a slightly sulky, possessive, and somewhat dim cat adds a unique charm to the narrative. The simplicity of language coupled with comic understatement shines through, as evidenced by lines like “Mog was nice but not very clever.”
The story, offering a cat’s perspective on Christmas, unfolds with Mog’s bewilderment at the decorations, tree, and the influx of visiting relatives. The film beautifully navigates Mog’s misadventures, including an incident with the stuffing mix, and her ultimate appreciation for the festive tree.
Remaining true to Kerr’s gorgeously illustrated world, the half-hour film preserves a timeless quality rooted in the 1970s. Nostalgic details, such as the milk float, quiet streets, and period-appropriate fashions, contribute to the film’s appeal. To enrich the narrative, the filmmakers expand the story to recreate the local High Street, reminiscent of “The Tiger Who Came to Tea,” with charming details like a shop selling 1970s TV sets featuring Morecambe and Wise. Familiar faces can be spotted through the window of a cafe, enjoying sausages and chips.
The animation style evokes memories of Channel 4’s holiday classic, “The Snowman.” Despite a star-studded voice cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy as Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, the performances remain unshowy and authentic. Miriam Margolyes and Adjoa Andoh contribute to the immersive experience with their understated tones, while an original song sung by Sophie Ellis-Bextor adds a sweet touch.
The song, written by the Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black and Grammy-winning composer David Arnold, adds to the production’s impressive pedigree. With its nostalgic charm and heartwarming narrative, “Mog’s Christmas” appears poised to become a cherished holiday favorite.