TV UK TV

On Angel Wings (BBC-1 2014, Dominic Cooper, Juliet Stevenson)

On Angel Wings is the magical re-working of the nativity story based on the book by the leading storyteller Michael Morpurgo, with an all-star voice cast including Michael Gambon, Juliet Stevenson, Dominic Cooper and Colin McFarlane. It shares the special experience of a little shepherd boy who meets the Angel Gabriel (Dominic Cooper), and travels with him on a journey to Bethlehem to meet the newborn king, Jesus. This special animated story is told through his own eyes, many years later, as he recounts his experience to his grandchildren on Christmas night.

The story begins on a present day Christmas night. Rachel (Maya Gerber) is eight and for the first time she is allowed to join her brothers and sisters to visit their Grandfather Amos (Michael Gambon), as he carries out his annual ritual of a night in the hills, where he worked as a young shepherd boy.

Grandfather is delighted to see the children and a special bond is established between himself and Rachel. Like her, he was the youngest and was always getting in the way, struggling to do things better, fighting to be believed in. He tells them how she reminds him of a magical night when he was just her age.

Gathering his thoughts, Grandfather stirs the embers of the fire with a stick and begins his story. The sparks swirl thickly up into the star filled sky and Amos can be seen as a young shepherd boy (Oliver Walsh) on the hills.

That very night, an eight year old Amos and the shepherds have a surprise visit from the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel explains that a new king has been born in nearby Bethlehem, who will bring peace and goodwill to the people of the world. As shepherds, they have been chosen to hear the good tidings because the baby will also be a shepherd – a shepherd of all mankind. The shepherds cannot believe what they have just witnessed, so following the directions from Gabriel, they travel to visit the new born king, leaving Amos behind to look after the flock.

Disappointed, Amos shouts to the heavens and is shocked when Angel Gabriel returns to him. Gabriel takes him, ahead of the other shepherds, on a magical night flight, to be the first visitor to the newly born Christ child where he meets the Virgin Mary (Juliet Stevenson) and Joseph (Colin McFarlane).

production details
UK / BBC One – Illuminated Films – Jerusalem Productions / 1×30 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 24 December 2014 @ 4.15pm

Story and Executive Producer: Michael Morpurgo / Producer: Iain Harvey / Director: Dave Unwin

voice cast
Michael Gambon as Grandfather Amos
Dominic Cooper as Angel Gabriel
Juliet Stevenson as Virgin Mary
Colin McFarlane as Joseph/Isaac/Zac
Oliver Walsh as Amos
Joshua McFarlane as Reuben/Jacob
Toby Baddeley as Aaron/Abner
Emily Walsh as Hannah
Maya Gerber as Rachel