Jennifer Saunders is starring in the new Moomins TV series

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Moya Crockett
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Moominvalley will also star Alison Steadman, Rosamund Pike and Kate Winslet. 

We’ve long been a fan of The Moomins at Stylist. We love the profound quotes peppered throughout Tove Jansson’s original books. We were delighted when Jansson’s niece spoke out about the feminist ethos that drove her late aunt’s work. And when we heard last autumn that those gentle, hippo-ish creatures and their assorted hangers-on were coming back to TV, we could hardly contain our excitement.

News of the upcoming Moomins reboot Moominvalley was announced in September, with a cast including Rosamund Pike, Kate Winslet and Richard Ayoade. Now, a new name has been added to that glittering roster: Jennifer Saunders.

The comedian, screenwriter, actress and star of Absolutely Fabulous will play the character of Mymble in Moominvalley, which is set to hit TV screens later this year. For reference, Mymble is the sister of Little My and the half-sister of Snufkin. According to official Moomin lore, she is “much calmer than Little My and often dreams of finding the love of her life. She easily gets infatuated and has romantic daydreams about policemen in particular.”

The animated Moominvalley is based on the late Jansson’s beloved Moomin stories, and will consist of two series of 13 episodes. Oscar-winning director Steve Box, who previously worked on Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, is involved in the creation of the show, which has been given the seal of approval by Jansson’s family. 

Concept artwork for Moominvalley 

As well as Saunders, other names newly attached to Moominvalley include Little Britain’s Matt Lucas (who will play Teety-Woo) and Gavin and Stacey’s Alison Steadman, who is taking on the role of Emma the Stage Rat – previously a minor character that appeared in the 1954 book Moominsummer Madness.

“I was so thrilled to be asked to take part in Moominvalley,” said Steadman. “It’s such a brilliant show and different from anything I’ve ever done before. The recording was so fun, I didn’t want it to end!”

Moominvalley is set to air on Sky One in 2019. Gone Girl star Pike will play Moominmamma, Winslet has been cast as Mrs Fillyjonk, and Ayoade is set to play The Ghost. 

The cast also includes Diary of a Teenage Girl star Bel Powley as Little My, The IT Crowd’s Matt Berry as Moominpappa, and Harry Potter’s Katie Leung as Too-Ticky.

The new TV series follows a resurgence of interest in the Swedish-Finnish retro cartoon characters, who first appeared in Jansson’s book The Moomins and the Great Flood in 1945. Last year, a series of major Moomin-themed events and exhibitions took place, including the Southbank Centre’s immersive exhibition Adventures in Moominland and Kew Gardens’ Easter Festival. Dulwich Picture Gallery presented the first major UK exhibition of work by Tove Jansson, while the Moomins featured prominently at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Further afield, the world’s first Moomin Museum opened in Tampere, Finland, last year. A year-long Moomin exhibition began touring major cities in South Korea in late 2017, and a new Moomin theme park is soon to open in Tokyo. Further proof, if it were needed, that nostalgia is a very powerful force indeed.

Images: Getty Images / © Moomin Characters™ / Gutsy Animations


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Moya Crockett

Moya is a freelance journalist and writer from London, and a former editor at Stylist.