Young Films animation chosen by BBC to mark first anniversary of UK lockdown

Exciting new stop-frame animation Archie produced by Skye-based Young Films will launch on BBC iPlayer on Tuesday 23 March. The five minute film, commissioned by CBBC, follows the adventures of a dog called Archie who sets off on a life-changing journey to the Outer Hebrides. This emotional odyssey is set in motion by a letter which brings news of his beloved aunt’s death. Archie also discovers that he will inherit her island house and croft where he spent many happy summers.

The film explores themes of loss and legacy, grief and remembrance in a compelling story mixing moments of humour with scenes both poignant and touching. The film is ostensibly for young children but appeals to all ages.

Created and written by Domenica More Gordon, directed by Ainslie Henderson, produced by Christopher Young with animation production from well-known studio MacKinnon and Saunders. Original music by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman.

With the film now available on BBC iPlayer, Young Films is looking to create a long-running series which will chronicle Archie’s adventures in his new life in the Outer Hebrides as he becomes part of the island community.

Christopher Young, Producer, said: "This is a most exciting deaprture for Young Films, our first step into the world of animation.  And what a beautiful film it is. Audiences around the world have enjoyed meeting Archie at Film Festivals and now he has come home to meet his British viewers.  The timing for the launch is powerful.  We are all conscious of the terrible impact of Covid-19 globally and none of us expected to be in lockdown one year on.  For all of us, not least our children, this film will give us a ray of hope and allow us some emotional release and comfort for those who have experienced loss during this last year."

Domenica More Gordon, Creator and Writer, said: "This first film about Archie is an homage to my grandparents and to my dear aunt. It is for them and in thanks for all that they gave me, especially the love. Though the film is about loss I don’t feel it is ultimately a sad film, as I now know that when someone dear to you dies they become part of you. In my case they inspire and inhabit the creative world that I spend many hours of my life in, and every day I thank them."

Ainslie Henderson, Director, said: "I’m proud to have been part of the team that brought Archie to life. I’ve been a long time fan of MacKinnon and Saunders and have been to visit their puppetmaking factory and stop frame studios in the past, so I was delighted when Young Films approached me to direct the film with them. Sadly, many young people are grappling with grief at the moment, and I hope that this film helps them understand what they’re feeling or at least feel less alone."

Jo Allen, Producer BBC Children's Animation and Acquisitions, said: "The death of a loved one can be hard for young children to understand. Archie is a gentle introduction from BBC Children’s that may help."

Festivals and Awards

Archie has been shown at festivals across Europe, America and Canada and as far afield as India and Japan.  Archie brought home the Best of The Festival award from the Chicago International Children’s Festival and then won the Best Children’s Film Award 8-14 year-olds at the London International Animation Festival.