Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish for Magic Light Pictures, The Snail and the Whale premiered on BBC One at Christmas to four-star reviews and over 7.5m viewers. RadioTimes calls the 26-minute animation “visually spectacular… a lovely treat to watch as a family”.
This is the story of a tiny snail with an itchy foot, who travels the world on the tail of a great big, grey-blue humpback whale. It’s a tale of shimmering ice and coral caves, of shooting stars and enormous waves, and of how the snail, so small and frail, saves the life of the humpback whale.
The Snail and the Whale is directed by two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom) and multi-award-winning South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man). This is their second Donaldson-Scheffler collaboration, following on from the success of Zog, which earned the film gold stars everywhere from Shanghai International TV Festival to New York International Children’s Film Festival last year, not to mention nominations for International Emmy, Kidscreen, and Annie awards in 2020.
Says Snaddon: “For anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed, like the world is too big for you to make a difference, The Snail and the Whale is an encouragement that even though you feel small – and may even be small – what you do still matters. The important thing is to keep hoping and to keep trying.”
The Snail and the Whale is voiced by star British acting talent, with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins as Snail, Rob Brydon as Whale, Cariad Lloyd as Teacher and Dame Diana Rigg (Lady Tyrell in Game of Thrones) as the narrator.
“I Skyped in for the voice recordings,” says Snaddon. “As a kid from the Lowveld, Skype is a huge blessing because it stops you feeling too starstruck. I’m used to seeing Sally and Diana on screen, and they’re still just on a screen, so you can have a normal conversation.”
“The Snail and the Whale is a longstanding favourite in our house,” says Brydon. “It’s an epic journey across the globe, where the tiniest creature and the mightiest mammal experience the vastness of our planet together.”
“Both characters go on such a heart-warming, emotional and ultimately life-changing journey together,” says Hawkins. “It’s a very beautiful and important friendship for them both.”
The Snail and the Whale’s environmental theme particularly resonated with her. “The protection of our oceans is everything,” she says. “I hope this animation will inspire family audiences everywhere in helping to take care of our beautiful earth and its creatures for future generations and beyond.”
Snaddon first read The Snail and the Whale to his son Frank when he was still in utero. When Frank was born, “one of the first things he got was a lot of Julia Donaldson swag – he was the first kid to get a Zog plushie, as well as lots of Stick Man and Gruffalo stuff. He’s well-kitted out with the merch.”
The Snail and the Whale, as well as seven other family classics, are now streaming on Showmax.
Spirit of the North comes to Switch and PC
A Nordic-inspired adventure game, Spirit of the North, will be released on PC and Nintendo Switch later this year.
Merge Games have announced a partnership with Infuse Studio to bring the emotional exploration-puzzle adventure, Spirit of the North, to Nintendo Switch and PC later this year.
Spirit of the North is a single-player, 3rd-person adventure game inspired by the breath-taking and mysterious landscapes of Iceland. The story takes root from various pieces of Nordic folklore.
Breathe in the surroundings to solve various puzzles and speculate the meaning of a lost ancient civilisation. With the help of a companion, shed light on the ruins of the past and overcome obstacles.
Play as an ordinary red fox whose story becomes entwined with the guardian of the Northern Lights, a female spirit fox. As players journey over the mountains and under red-stained skies, they will discover more about their companion and a land left in ruin. Traverse tundra, glaciers, and mountainsides as they follow a foreboding scarlet trail that paints the sky.
- Make your way across stunning landscapes, on an emotionally stirring journey.
- Solve environmental puzzles to change the world around you, using ancient powers bestowed upon you by the guardian of the Northern Lights.
- Follow the mysterious Spirit Fox across a land left in ruin as you discover more about a lost civilization.
- Moving orchestral soundtrack featuring 14 original compositions.
To find out more about the game, visit here: mergegames.com/spirit-of-the-north
Crash Team Racing gets Grand Prix season
The Crash Bandicoot-themed racing game, Crash Team Racing, gets a downloadable content pack with 50 more kart bodies and 51 new characters.
The villainous Nitros Oxide has decided earth is no longer of interest, and has challenged Crash and team to one last epic battle on his home planet in the Gasmoxia Grand Prix.
During this toxic race to the finish, players will challenge each other on an epic new track high up in Gasmoxia’s atmosphere, where two rival fast-food conglomerates are battling it out for planet domination (and a CTR TV sponsorship). New skins, karts, an imperious new character to unlock and a new track to conquer, touted as the most technical track ever assembled in Crash Team Racing – players will have a wild ride in this Grand Prix season.
New characters: As if Oxide’s presence wasn’t enough, he’s enlisted help from the Galaxy’s self-proclaimed ruler, Emperor Velo. Unlock this devious new character in the Nitro Gauge.
New time trials: Velo isn’t just making an appearance this season, he’s providing a new challenge in Time Trials.
New karts: Your intergalactic ride awaits. Unlock three hovering new karts this season: the Void Manta, the Velo Chopper, and the retro-vibing Galactic Cruiser.
Pit stop items: When in Gasmoxia, do as the Gasmoxians do. Look like a local with a wide array of new Pit Stop items to swag out your racer and kart in the space-adventuring theme of the planet.
The Gasmoxia Grand Prix season is set to go live this today, 20 February, at 5 PM SAST. With the launch of the Gasmoxia Grand Prix this week, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled boasts a total of eight Grand Prix seasons, 40 racetracks, 12 Battle Arenas and more than 50 characters.