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Animated tales translated by Seamus Heaney air on BBC Two NI

10 March 2014

Five medieval Scots fables, translated by Seamus Heaney, have been brought into the 21st century as enchanting animated tales for BBC Two Northern Ireland.

Narrated by comedian/actor Billy Connolly and with a specially-composed score by internationally renowned pianist Barry Douglas, Five Fables – which was made by Holywood animation studio Flickerpix – is an ambitious re-telling of stories written 500 years ago by the medieval Scots poet, Robert Henryson.

Beginning on BBC Two Northern Ireland on Thursday, 13 March at 7pm, each of the five weekly programmes in this series contain an introduction by Seamus Heaney, who was very much involved in all aspects of the project from its inception. This series includes the late Nobel Prize-winning poet's final television interview before his death last summer.

Speaking during filming for the series, Heaney said: 'What I liked about the idea of having Billy Connolly read this version was that I think he’s capable of combining the popular with the rather more elite. He’s highly intelligent.

'I saw him in a picture movie called Mrs Brown, where he acted John Brown, a servant to Queen Victoria – wonderful performance full of nuance – and it established in my mind as somebody with presence and with possibilities other than the wild man doing a comic act on the stage, which is also deeply attractive.'

After meeting Heaney for the first time in April 2013, Connolly said: 'I love him, he’s great. He’s a lot gentler than I expected. For some reason I thought he’d be more forward, slightly more aggressive, but he’s a big gentle dumpling. I think he’s amazing.'

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