Arriving just in time for Christmas at BBC One, the perfect gift! And Gabriel is portraying my favorite character. Who could ask for more?!

RTÉ broke the news:

Irish actor Gabriel Bryne is among the stars who will lend their voices to a TV adaptation of Charlie Mackesy’s bestselling illustrated book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse.

Luther actor Idris Elba and Pride & Prejudice star Tom Hollander will also voice characters in the BBC animated short film which is set to air this Christmas.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse was released in 2019 and explores the friendship between the four titular characters as they journey together in search of a home. . .

Dubliner Byrne will feature as the horse and newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll will be the boy.

The short film is produced by Star Wars director JJ Abrams and Hannah Minghella of Bad Robot Productions, with an original score by composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, sister of Fleabag star Phoebe.

Mackesy said: “The journey of making the film of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse with my ridiculously talented and kind animation team has been a magical one.

“It’s so great to think the story will be in the nation’s homes this Christmas – and I really hope it helps bring comfort, love and laughter.”

Charlie Mackesy

As is true for most creative people who suddenly burst on the scene, new to us and bringing us something new and splendid, Charlie Mackesy has been practicing his craft for many years. His work has appeared in well-known galleries, in many books, and in private and public spaces all over the world. Born in England and then becoming a world traveler, he brings a unique perspective to his drawings and his words. You can learn more about Charlie at his website. You can also purchase prints and t-shirts and other goodies there at his online shop.

Charlie Mackesy and friend

The Book

The book is available at Penguin Books, where they offer a drop-down list of various providers from which to choose.

From the Penguin website:

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse isn’t a conventional picture book. Rather than a linear narrative, it’s a collection of quiet musings and conversations. The four titular characters meet one another and share each other’s confidence. It’s not aimed at any clear audience, and works as well for eight-year-olds as it does octogenarians. And yet, in the final dark months of 2019, the tremulous beginning of 2020 and the swirling chaos of the pandemic year, it offered hope to hundreds of thousands of people.

Read the entire article for a closer look at the book and why it has resonated so strongly with so many people around the world.


Here are some of my favorite images from the book, found on the Internet and presented here. These are copyrighted, I’m sure, but I wanted to give you a taste of the unique quality of this story and the art that brings it to life.

Charlie’s Book Touches Lives

The Washington Post

How a surprise bestseller about kindness and vulnerability is bringing people together

The image that has sparked the most response, however, is one in which the boy asks, “What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” and the horse answers, “Help.” Therapists — even the British army — have asked to use the illustration, Mackesy said. “The idea of men particularly asking for help and it being a brave thing was something they wanted to promote,” he said.

Mackesy himself asked for help. “Who on earth am I to be doing this?” he asks in the early pages of the book. The horse has some advice for him (and us): “The truth is everyone is winging it.” Mackesy relied on his online followers for assistance in developing his narrative. “It’s a product of all of us,” he wrote on Instagram when the book first became a bestseller.

The book also grapples with its own fate. Early on, the boy asks the mole, “What do you think success is?” The reply: “To love.”

Has the actual success of the book changed that answer? Mackesy says it has not. “The success of the book for me lies not in the sales but in the loving response I’ve received from so many. It’s emphasized for me the truth of that answer.”

Group Portrait

I’ll close with a quote that Charlie Mackesy likes. It is one that I think Gabriel would like, too.

He thinks G. K. Chesterton sums it all up well: “At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder.”


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One Comment

  1. This is going to be so lovely. A real treat.

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