CHRISTMAS would not be the same without a slew of big budget TV adaptations of some of our best-loved literary works.

And 2018 is no different with everything from the latest animated offering from former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson to a new, darker take on the ‘little grey cells’ of Agatha Christie’s iconic detective Hercule Poirot.

Here Wendy Molyneux, LiveWire’s strategic library manager, looks at what adaptations we have got to look forward to on the box during the festive period.


By Andrea Levy, BBC iPlayer


A beautiful looking period drama, this adaptation has an incredible cast, including Hayley Atwell and Lenny Henry. It’s the story of July as narrated by her to her son. July was born into slavery in Jamaica and was taken from her mother to become a white girl’s ‘pet’. She lived through the time of emancipation and the social changes that brought. Interwoven with tragedy, there is a lot of comedy in the story.

July has the strength of character that helped her survive and pass on her story. Three-part series The Long Song has just aired on BBC One and is available to watch on iPlayer.


By Richard Adams, BBC One, Saturday and Sunday


Admit it – how many of you have been scarred by the 1978 cartoon version of Richard Adams’ classic tale? The English countryside is being destroyed to make way for houses. This is the story of the devastating effect this has on the wildlife as they struggle to survive in a dwindling habitat. Makers of this new version promise ‘toned down’ violence although we’re hearing that General Woundwort (voiced by Ben Kingsley) is still pretty scary! Other actors lending their vocal talents include James McAvoy and John Boyega.


By Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler, BBC One, Christmas Day, 4.50pm


A new animated adaptation of one of Julia Donaldson’s wonderful stories has seemingly become a Christmas staple in recent years thanks to the familiar great combination of the fabulous rhyming text and the vibrant illustrations.

This year is no different and following in the footsteps of The Gruffalo, The Highway Rat and Stickman is Zog. Zog is a dragon who tries hard, but is rather clumsy. Will his hard work lead him to become the best dragon in the class? Features a star-studded voice cast including Lenny Henry and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington.


By David Walliams, BBC One, Boxing Day, 7.30pm


The story of five children in a hospital ward who sneak out of the ward at midnight to have adventures and make their dreams come true.

It is a funny story about friendship and magic and of course has the usual mix of dastardly adults. Now a best-selling author, David Walliams himself is starring in this adaptation of his book, which looks set to be a TV treat for all the family this Christmas.


By Victor Hugo, BBC One, from New Year’s Day, 9pm


The dark side of Parisian life as the poor struggle to survive in the early 1800s. Many stories are told in this book, including that of Jean Valjean who has struggled to turn his life around after being imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread.

His new found respectability is threatened by a face from the past. This is an epic in more ways than one, running to more than 1,000 pages in length and raising many issues prevalent in life such as right and wrong, love and hate, war and peace, good and evil, rich and poor.

Above all it is about the human dignity that comes from within. This all new adaption of the novel – not the musical – has a mouth-watering cast including Olivia Colman, Dominic West and Lily Collins.

The ABC Murders

By Agatha Christie. BBC One, Boxing Day, 9pm


The ABC Murders start with the brutal murder of Alice Ascher in Andover. Can there be 25 to go? Hercule Poirot investigates as the calling card of the killer is an ABC railway guide. Is the serial killer going through the alphabet in order?

If so who is next and where will the murder be? One of Agatha Christie’s darkest ‘whodunnits’, Hollywood star John Malkovich is perhaps an unexpected choice for Belgian detective, but we can’t wait to see how he puts his stamp on the role. Also stars Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint and Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan.