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  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

TVC's adaptation of Granpa

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Granpa  (1989)
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producers: TVC / TVS
cel animation
      run time:
30 mins



An adaptation of John Burningham's 1984 children's book, "Granpa" follows the
     fantastic adventures of young Emily and her rumbuctious elderly Granfather
     (voiced by Sir Peter Ustinov). Each time she visits the old man they whisk
     themselves away on various extraordinary flights of imagination. They encounter
     fiery dragons on the bed covers, tendriled jungles in the greenhouse and more.
     But Granpa is an old man now, and his health is failing. In a heartbreaking finale
     Emily turns up to play at Granpa's house one day, but finds him gone forever.

     Here is a beautiful sensitive study of that special relationship between old and
     young. Burningham's crayoned drawings are brought into flickering faithful
     crayoned life with ne'er a colour block in sight. Like the book dialogue is
     mininmal, just grumpy grunts and gustos from the old man, inquisitive and
     emotive responses from young Emily. Howard Blake's haunting orchestral
     score swells all round, accenting the games, and a children's choir rings out
     as Emily questions and frolics and Granpa and she step off into each new

       Granpa by John Burningham  

     This film shares a similar sense of style and emotion with TVC's classic
     adaptation of "The Snowman" and indeed, shares almost identical crew credits
     too. Just like that film there is a tangible sense of loss at the end; a loss which
     builds with repeated viewings. You know that Granpa won't be playing with Emily
     for much longer, and what's more, you're aware that he knows this too, even as
     he leads his niece in to the next fantastic adventure.

     "Granpa" made its television debut on Channel 4 on New Year's Eve 1989,
     at 6.30pm. It hasn't become quite the household classic that its snowy
     predecessor became, suffering perhaps by comparison. But this takes the
     themes of "The Snowman" even further, exploring an aspect of life rarely
     approached in animated form. And that makes it something to cherish at
     any time of year.

» Note how the title is "Granpa" and not "Grandpa"!


    from the book by John Burningham
    director:      Dianne Jackson
    producer:     John Coates
    exec prod:   Paul Madden
    music:         Howard Blake
                      "Make Believe" sung by Sarah Brightman
    voices:        Sir Peter Ustinov (Granpa)
                       Emily Osborne (Emily)


     On the web

Howard Blake
     The composer's official site with info on "Granpa",
     "The Snowman" and more...

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© TVC / TVS 1989 / F2006