696. Famous Fred – Joanna Quinn

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SUMMARY: When their family cat Fred dies from cat flu, two children learn that he was actually a famous rock ‘n’ roll star.

WHY IT’S HERE: Based on Posy Simmonds’ picture book ‘Fred’, ‘Famous Fred’ is a charming children’s short about the death of a beloved household cat who held a secret double life as a rock ‘n’ roll star. Beginning with Fred’s burial, ‘Famous Fred’ then proceeds to chart his rise to fame in flashback, as a congregation of cats gather to mourn the loss. Lenny Henry provides Fred’s singing voice but the film is stolen by Tom Courtenay as the family hamster and Fred’s manager Kenneth. ‘Famous Fred’ combines a cosy storybook atmosphere with the vibrant energy of a musical extravaganza, resulting in an unmissable treat that was originally shown during the Christmas period and which I regularly seek out every year when it tends to be buried somewhere in the schedules. For Joanna Quinn, this was something of a stylistic shift but she interprets Simmonds’ material perfectly, maintaining the original designs but adding much of her own energy evident in previous films like ‘Girl’s Night Out’ and ‘Britannia’.

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