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BBC One’s Christmas 2017 campaign featured an animated short film, “The Supporting Act”, illustrating the joy of a shared moment. The 2 minute film follows a 10-year-old girl who practices day in and day out to give the most important dance performance of her life. Her dad is always with her but he’s busy, and getting even busier as Christmas approaches. He remains distracted up until the moment that really matters, when father and daughter come together in a wonderful moment of ‘oneness’. The film will be accompanied by four idents and a range of digital assets that will continue the theme at other times during the day. The Supporting Act builds on the idea of ‘oneness’ that the channel has been focussing on throughout 2017. Since the start of the year BBC One has showcased idents created by photographer Martin Parr highlighting the interests and passions that bring people together.

Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content said: “Christmas is a time when people come together to enjoy shared experiences, and special moments. We wanted to reflect that in our Christmas campaign this year and we hope this film will touch hearts and make you smile over the festive period.”

Kerry Moss, Portfolio Head of Marketing, BBC One said: “BBC One brings millions of people together each week around shared moments of entertainment. Building on the message at the heart of the channel’s ‘oneness’ idents, the Christmas film illustrates the joy that can be sparked through a shared moment. Through its depiction of a busy dad and dance-loving daughter, the film draws on the insight that the pressures of life can often get in the way of the things that really matter, particularly at Christmas.”

Behind the Scenes

The creation of the film has also broken new ground in the animation techniques it has used. The characters were animated using the traditional British stop-motion technique but the facial expressions were created and mapped on the puppets using CGI. This approach gave the film the human touch and imperfections of stop motion but the emotional richness of CGI.

Elliot Dear from Blinkink said: “The story is about an emotional connection between a girl and her dad. We wanted to make a film that had the charming, handmade qualities of stop-motion animation, the tiny imperfections that let you know it’s been done for real. The aim was to combine this with CG animation – which we used for the faces – in order to capture the tiny nuances of human facial expressions, enabling the characters to be very emotive without the use of dialogue.”

BBC One Supporting Act Credits

The BBC One Supporting Act campaign was developed at BBC Creative by executive creative directors Aidan McClure and Laurent Simon, creatives Amar Marwaha and Arvid Harnqvist, agency producer Ken Rodrigues, agency project managers Astrid Reiner and Jenny Broad, working with BBC One portfolio head of marketing Kerry Moss, marketing manager Harriet Gunning and marketing executive Claire Grainger.

Animation was produced at Blinkink by director Elliot Dear, executive producer Bart Yates, senior producer Benjamin Role, production manager Alex Holberton, puppet makers MacKinnon & Saunders, set builders Clockwork Frog, lead animator Dan Gill, director of photography Toby Howell, and lead CGI artist Rune Spaans.

The soundtrack for the campaign was by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson with Symphony, re-arranged by producer Steve Mac.

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