4 million watch Ethel and Ernest broadcast premiere on BBC One


The BBC is thrilled with the reaction to the Ethel and Ernest premiere broadcast. The overnight viewing figures of 4 million are expected to increase greatly on catch up viewing and by iplayer. (the final figure was 4.7 million )

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Reaction to the BBC premier

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The reaction from the public to the broadcast of Ethel and Ernest on BBC One last night has been amazing ! Messages left on twitter have been overwhelmingly positive with many praising the BBC for their boldness in showing an animated drama at peak time on the main channel. For a couple of hours Ethel and Ernest was trending at number one on Twitter in the UK !


A tweet from comedian and actor Josie Lawrence


A tweet from broadcaster Gaby Roslin


A tweet from television presenter and journalist Lorraine Kelly

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A tweet from Sunday Times columnist and author India Knight

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Some of the comments sent in to the Radio Times website

What’s on the telly this evening ?!


Ethel and Ernest gets its premiere broadcast tonight (28th December 2016 BBC One 7:30pm)


A scene from the film. Ethel and Ernest get their first TV set.



The ‘i’ paper


The Guardian

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The Times

The Radio Times on the making of Ethel and Ernest

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“Raymond Briggs sits at his desk, pencil in hand, brushes in pots and cup of tea at his side. A fresh sheet of paper is ready on an angled desk, and the author and illustrator begins to sketch his parents, Ethel and Ernest Briggs.

This is how Ethel & Ernest, the film adaptation of Briggs’s graphic novel, begins. On paper. By hand. But immediately the action begins, and we’re in London, 1928, with illustrated houses stretching out as far as the eye can see, horse carts clattering along the cobbled streets and a young Ernest hopping on his bike to work.

Moving pictures. It’s such an old idea that we forget how magical it is to watch someone’s drawing skip off the page and come to life. But that’s what Ethel & Ernest is. Magic.”

Read the full article by James Gill and Michael Hodges here


A tweet from Lupus Films on the first day of production at the studio after the lengthy pre-production phase. From left to right Art Director Robin Shaw, Director Roger Mainwood, Animation Director Peter Dodd


Wallpaper artwork for use in the film created by Assistant Art Director Mat Williams

SAGA on Ethel and Ernest

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SAGA magazine’s verdict on Ethel and Ernest is here

One of the happiest days of my career thus far was when I went down a leafy, windy lane in Sussex, and entered into a ramshackle and chaotic old house overlooking the South Downs. There, I spent a happy hour interviewing the charming Raymond Briggs, writer of classic illustrated books including The SnowmanFungus the BogeymanFather ChristmasWhen the Wind Blows, and countless more. But for me, his best work is Ethel and Ernest, the gentle and beautifully illustrated story of his parents’ life together.

This Christmas, BBC One is showing a feature-length, animated adaptation of the book, and it is a thing of wondrous beauty. It begins in London in 1928, when milkman Ernest (voiced by Jim Broadbent) and lady’s maid Ethel (Brenda Blethyn), two working class East Enders, spy each other through a window. What ensues is the story of their 41-year marriage, told against the backdrop of epochal events, from the great depression, through World War II, to the moon landings and beyond.

Progress, though, is measured not just in historical terms, but in the more mundane. An indoor privy. An electric fridge. A telephone. A TV (thank goodness). A car. This is both a love story and a social history of the mid-20th century, an age that seems immediately so familiar and yet so long ago. Try buying a house in London for £825 now. That’ll barely get you a coffee in fashionable neighbourhoods.

This is more than just a nostalgic wallow, although it undoubtedly is that. Every aspect of the production is beautifully realised, from the marvellous voice work of Blethyn and Broadbent, to the perfectly-judged sound-effects. But it is the animation that steals the show – Briggs’ pared-down, unfussy drawings are brought to life with care and respect, and the results are perfect.

The film is introduced by Briggs himself, in the self-same room where I interviewed him in Sussex several years ago. Back then, he was surrounded by a houseful of lovingly-accumulated clutter, although in his introduction, none of it is visible. You suspect Ethel, houseproud to the last, would want it that way.

Ethel and Ernest, premiere broadcast is on Wednesday 28th December, 7:30pm, BBC One.

It will be repeated on BBC2, Tue 3 Jan 2017 at 00:45. This is in the BBC’s Sign Zone slot which is where to find BSL sign-interpreted versions of mainstream BBC programmes.


Some of the live action crew preparing to shoot the opening sequence of the film in Raymond Briggs’ studio_September 2014. The director of photography was Fraser Taggart. (Photo Roger Mainwood)

The Guardian talks to Raymond Briggs

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Decca Aitkenhead talks to Raymond Briggs in today’s Guardian


What he cannot conceal is his delight at the reception his latest film has received. “I’ve been to three or four screenings, and the audience has applauded at the end every time. Amazing! Amazing.” Peering at me, he enquires casually: “They don’t applaud at the end of a film in the cinema very often these days, do they?” Happy to confirm they do not, I’m nonetheless not remotely surprised to hear that they did for Ethel and Ernest.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 28 December on BBC1, and on paper sounds so slight that I was quite unprepared for its impact – poignant and subtle, yet powerful enough to haunt me for weeks afterwards. – Decca Aitkenhead



More publicity ahead of the BBC broadcast on the 28th December

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Publicity ahead of the BBC broadcast continues.

From the South Wales Guardian, a piece about animator Bryony Evans.


And the Eastern Counties got a full dose of Ethel and Ernest coverage today too !




London Evening Standard coverage on 23rd Dec.

“Look out for a cameo appearance from this newspaper” – London Evening Standard 

Raymond Briggs on TV and Radio this Christmas

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Once again Raymond Briggs is prominent in the Christmas TV schedules. The Snowman gets its traditional annual screening on Channel 4 along with the sequel The Snowman and Snowdog, and Raymond’s Father Christmas  and The Bear get another screening too.  This year Ethel and Ernest is added to that illustrious list when it receives its broadcast premiere on Wednesday 28th December at 7:30 pm on BBC One.

Raymond is also on the radio this Christmas. The Profile programme on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve at 7pm is all about Raymond’s work and the new Ethel and Ernest film.

“On Profile this week we explore the life and career of one of the world’s best loved children’s illustrators. Over the last half century – much to his horror – Raymond Briggs has become a part of Christmas. Two books about a grumpy Father Christmas have become bestsellers. The film adaptation of his 1978 picture book ‘The Snowman’ has been shown on TV every Christmas for the past three decades. And now, this Christmas, the BBC is screening ‘Ethel And Ernest’ – a new film of Briggs’ 1998 book about his parents. Mark Coles talks to Raymond Briggs’ family and friends to find out what his books are really about.” – BBC Radio 4, Profile

Producer: Smita Patel
Researcher Sarah Shebbeare 
Editor: Richard Knight.

The Sunday Times has a large feature on Raymond in today’s paper.

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Articles in the Sunday Times_18th December 2016

The Telegraph make ‘Ethel and Ernest’ – their film choice of the week

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The Telegraph Christmas TV listings which make Ethel and Ernest their Film Of The Week.

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The Times make it their Critics’ Choice

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The Observer make it their Pick Of The Day for Wednesday 28th December 2016


The Glasgow Sunday Herald 

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The Daily Mail


Ethel and Ernest bound for Palm Springs

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Ethel and Ernest is having its first international screening in January 2017 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The two public screenings are on January 9th and 10th.

Jim Broadbent, who plays Ernest in ‘Ethel and Ernest’, also stars in the festival’s opening film, The Sense Of An Ending.



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