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27 November 2014
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Ben Kingsley on Jackanory

No-one tells a story like Jackanory Starts on BBC One at end of November


CBBC has unveiled the new-look Jackanory, which is set to burst on to screens at the end of November.


Academy and Bafta-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley narrates The Magician Of Samarkand, a thrilling adventure set in the exotic location of the Orient, while John Sessions reads Muddle Earth, a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Lord Of The Rings.


Stunning new CGI techniques allow the storytellers to enter a magical animated world and interact with the characters.


"The original idea was to bring a picture book to life literally in and around its storyteller," says producer/director Nick Willing, who is best known for his work directing feature films Photographing Fairies, in 1997, and the Emmy award-winning Alice In Wonderland in 2000.


"I had a lot of fun involving the storyteller in the story in different ways, constantly trying to surprise the audience, popping in and out of the scene," says Nick.


"The narrator is sometimes like a puppet master and even argues with his own characters."


The visuals for both stories are being produced by a new CBBC animation team that has been brought in especially to develop one of CBBC's most ambitious projects to date.


The Magician Of Samarkand is a lavish mixture of beautiful animation and hand-painted illustrations, inspired by Victorian illustrators.


With a totally different look and feel, Muddle Earth is brought to life with CGI animation and live action.


Both stories, which will be broadcast simultaneously on BBC One, use actors and animated characters.


Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell


Life is about to change beyond recognition for an ordinary schoolboy on ordinary earth – Joe Jefferson – and his dog, Henry.


Viewers enter a world of ogres and goblins, batbirds and pink stinky hogs, a floating lake and exploding gas frogs.


Joe has been summoned to Muddle Earth by a wizard, Randalf the Wise, who thinks he is a warrior-hero.


Muddle Earth is also home to an ogre, Norbert the Not-Very-Big and Veronica, a sarcastic budgie.


The Magician Of Samarkand by Alan Temperley


Anahita is the beautiful daughter of the town's shoemaker and she spurns the advances of the evil magician Zohak Ali.


Stung by her rejection, Zohak Ali casts a spell on Anahita and she is driven from the city.


Determined to fight back, will Anahita be brave enough to overcome the dark powers of the Magician of Samarkand?


"When I started out as a director, I always dreamt that there would come a day when we could literally draw an imaginary world and have an actor move about in it – that's where we are now, it's amazing isn't it?" adds Nick.




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