A BUDDING Cheshire author has had her dreams come true after her heart-warming children’s short story was picked up by the BBC to be aired this Christmas – and narrated by a well-known voice.

Lorna Gibson, from Tarporley, had written and illustrated Mr Bear’s Christmas in 2019, but wanted to add a little more magic by bringing it to life as a stop-motion animation last year.

The writer and illustrator taught herself needle felt to create her characters, before filming the 11-minute festive story on a makeshift set in her parent’s house.

The touching tale, which explores the magic and importance of friendship through a cast of woodland characters gathering to enjoy Christmas, took Lorna six months to shoot and edit, using just an iPhone and a £5 stop motion app. 

Once complete, the 40-year-old contacted Stephen Fry’s voiceover agent, after she dreamt the TV star signed a back-of-envelope contract to narrate her work.

Northwich Guardian: Lorna Gibson with Mr BearLorna Gibson with Mr Bear (Image: Lorna Gibson/Toots Design)

After viewing Mr Bear’s Christmas, the QI presenter recorded her storybook’s words at his home and emailed the VO file back to her. 

Lorna’s work and story then caught the imaginations of BBC executives when the illustrator, who runs creative agency Toots Design, sent it to the national broadcaster in September.

Now, between the BBC, Fry and Lorna, Mr Bear’s Christmas is scheduled for transmission on December 13, 17 and 23 through CBeebies, and on iPlayer.

Mr Bear’s Christmas will also receive a screening alongside The Snowman, to their respective soundtracks played live by the Halle orchestra, at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on December 22 and 23.

Lorna, 40, said: “Bringing Mr Bear to life from pencil sketch to BBC screening has been a labour of love, a great passion and worth every challenge along the way.

“I was delighted when Stephen agreed to do the voiceover for Mr Bear’s Christmas and having the BBC show my animation of the story is a dream come true. 

“Watching animations at Christmas was a big part of my childhood.

“I’m thrilled that children will be doing the same with Mr Bear this year, thanks to the BBC.”

The film’s narrator Stephen Fry added: “When this project first came to my attention, I see I replied, ‘this sounds lovely’ and indeed it is. 

I am delighted that Mr Bear’s Christmas shall reach a wide audience during its broadcast over the festive season.” 

Kate Morton, head of BBC children’s commissioning 0-six years, said: “We thought the film was really lovely and the story was delightful.

“We loved the animation style; it feels really warm and cosy, and perfect for Christmas.” 

Mr Bear’s Christmas was enhanced by the work of Buckinghamshire composer Andrew Pickering who wrote and performed its soundtrack and Cheshire lighting professional Dan Beckett, each of whom agreed to support the project at no cost.