What the press said…

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Reviews of Ethel and Ernest when the book was first published:-

‘Briggs’s enchanting labour of love…A guaranteed bestseller’The Independent

‘Ethel and Ernest has a historical sweep and a sure command of social detail not often found in contemporary fiction.’Blake Morrison, Daily Telegraph

‘Briggs’s techniques are deceptively simple,  yet terribly moving. The book is a considerable achievement, both simple and complex, emotional and dispassionate.’ – Steve Bell, The Guardian

‘A classic.’ – The Evening Standard

Raymond at his desk - July 2010

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One of the world’s best loved illustrators…

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Preparatory sketch for a panel from the book Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

Ethel & Ernest is an entertaining and heart-warming story about two people who fall in love, set against the background of immense social change in the mid 20th Century.
The story is based on Raymond Briggs’ award-winning book* about his parents and charts the journey of their relationship over four decades. Its universal appeal comes from exploring big events through the detail of Ethel & Ernest’s lives, and the story of their love will touch the heart of everyone who sees it.
Raymond Briggs is one of the world’s best loved children’s  illustrators, and his 21 books have all been huge successes. His Midas touch extends to the animated adaptations of his work, with five incredibly popular TV Specials and one feature film, which have been distributed throughout the world.
His best known book is The Snowman, which has sold over 3.2 million copies in the UK and internationally. The TV adaptation of The Snowman was nominated for an Oscar® and has sold over 10 million video and DVD units worldwide.

*Ethel and Ernest won the “Best Illustrated Book of the Year” at the 1999 British Book Awards.

For a full list of Raymond’s work visit this British Council website:-

http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=authC2D9C28A1da9f1EA3FRqW3424C56

Finished illustration as it appears in the book - P.30

The Author

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Raymond Briggs is one of the world’s best-selling children’s book authors and illustrators, loved and admired by children and adults alike.  His hilarious and beautifully crafted books have brought him great success internationally, particularly in Japan where he has achieved cult status.  

Raymond Briggs_July 2010

The Raymond Briggs franchise, based on a series of 21 books, 1 animated movie and 5 TV Special adaptations, is a hugely successful one.  His best known book The Snowman has sold around 3.2 million copies worldwide and is available in 13 different countries.  It was adapted into an animated TV Special which was subsequently nominated for an Oscar® for best animated short.

The film of The Snowman has become a national institution for British children, broadcasting on Channel 4 every Christmas, and the story has also been turned into a hugely successful stage show which regularly tours the world and runs every Christmas in The West End of London.  The merchandise market for The Snowman licensed products has grown year on year, increasing by 210% in the last 5 years.  It is currently worth around £5 million annually in the UK alone. Since launch, The Snowman DVD has sold over 10 million units worldwide and continues to sell well each year.  In Japan The Snowman DVD is handled by Aniplex (formerly Sony Visual Works), in the US by Sony Home Video, and in the UK by Universal. 

Raymond Briggs has won many awards including the prestigious Kate Greenway Medal and Smarties Prize.  Ethel & Ernest is considered by many critics to be his best book.  It was published by Random House in 1998 and won Best Illustrated Book Of The Year at the 1999 British Book Awards.  The book has since sold in the region of 250,000 copies in the UK, and is also published in the US, France and Japan. Since 2008 Raymond has been working closely with director Roger Mainwood on the screen-play for Ethel & Ernest.

Raymond Briggs interview  http://www.teachers.tv/videos/raymond-briggs

The Producers

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Producer – John Coates

(Since this entry was made we are sorry to have to report that John passed away on September 16th 2012 aged 84. Camilla Deakin and Lupus films have now taken over as the producer and production company on the film.)

No other animation producer has had such a long and successful track record as John Coates, whose studio TV Cartoons is one of the world’s best known animation studios. TV Cartoons launched in 1957 to make animated commercials and went on to produce The Beatles TV series and the Yellow Submarine movie during the 1960s. The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, The Wind in the Willows, and The Willows in Winter followed, along with many other award winning and Oscar nominated films and TV specials such as The Snowman , Father Christmas, The Bear , When the Wind Blows and Famous Fred.  ( For The Snowman website visit www.thesnowman.co.uk )

See a video of John Coates presenting his Desert Island Flicks at Encounters Short Film Festival, Nov 2009

http://www.dshed.net/desert-island-flicks-john-coates

 

Producer – Camilla Deakin

Formerly the Commissioning Editor for Animation at Channel 4, Camilla Deakin formed her own animation production company Lupus Films* in 2002. Camilla has produced both animation and live-action shows for the BBC, Channel 4, Five, and ITV, as well as Executive Producing a number of short films for Channel 4 and the UK Film Council. She was Executive Producer of a 52 part CGI re-make of children’s classic The Pinky and Perky Show for the BBC and France 3 and her most recent series is pre-school show The Hive, which will be shown on Disney channels in over 150 territories worldwide during 2011/2012.  Lupus Films is currently in production on a sequel to Raymond Briggs’ classic animation The Snowman. It will be aired at Christmas 2012 on the 30th anniversary of Channel 4.

http://www.lupusfilms.net/lupus.html

The Director

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The Director – Roger Mainwood

Roger Mainwood is one of the UK’s leading animation directors and has worked on most of TV Cartoons’ award winning animations, from Raymond Briggs’ classics The Snowman, When the Wind Blows, and Father Christmas to the Prix Jeunesse winning Granpa. He directed Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town Mouse and was animation director on The Tailor of Gloucester, The Wind in the Willows, and Willows in Winter. He has also directed episodes of the comedy series Stressed Eric for the BBC, and recent work includes directing the pre-school series Meg and Mog for ITV and animation director on Little Princess for Five, both of which were nominated for Children’s BAFTAs.

The Executive Producers

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 Executive Producer – Robbie Little

Robbie Little is co-president, with Ellen Little, of The Little Film Company*. Between them they have played a role in financing, producing, and/or distributing over 300 films. The Little Film Company is a worldwide motion picture sales and marketing company based in Los Angeles that also finances, executive produces and distributes independent feature films.  Most recent successes include the adaptation of Michael Hoffman’s “The Last Station,” which earned Academy Award nominations for its stars Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer; and the Academy Award winning film “Tsotsi,” written and directed by Gavin Hood.  Executive producer credits also include Julie Taymor’s “Titus” with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange; Anthony Fabian’s award winning South African film “Skin.”  The company’s most recent productions include Fred Schepisi’s “Eye of the Storm” starring Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling; and the adaptation of the best-selling South African novel “Spud”, starring John Cleese and Troye Sivan in the title role.

*http://thelittlefilmcompany.filmtrackonline.com/Default.aspx

Executive Producer – Raymond Briggs

For the first time Raymond Briggs will be an Executive Producer on the film adaptation of one of his books. Several of Raymond’s books have been made into half hour TV specials, most notably The Snowman. One book, When the Wind Blows, was made into a feature film and had a cinema release in 1986. But never before has Raymond had such a close relationship with the adaptation of his work. Asked by The Guardian newspaper in 2007 what Raymond thought was his greatest achievement he replied “Writing a mini-biography entirely in dialogue: Ethel and Ernest.” 

Who will play Ethel and Ernest?

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Brenda Blethyn

 

 Ethel is played by BRENDA BLETHYN whose starring role in Mike Leigh’s Secret and Lies propelled her to fame. It won her the award for Best Actress at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award Nomination. She also shone in films such as A River Runs Through It , Little Voice, Pride and Prejudice, Atonemnet and most recently London River.

Jim Broadbent

Ernest is played by Academy Award winner JIM BROADBENT, one of Britain’s most versatile character actors. He is best known for his roles in Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, and Harry Potter as well as his Academy Award winning performance as John Bayley in the bio-pic Iris.  His most recent acclaimed appearance was in Another Year (dir. Mike Leigh 2010).

Jim Broadbent at the top of his  game:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/may/23/jim-broadbent-favourite-character-actor

“Sometimes there are bits of perfect casting, and then there is casting that is above even that. That’s what we have here”  – from http://uk.imdb.com/news/ni4327245/

 

 

 

 

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