Zog And The Flying Doctors (3 stars)

Zog And The Flying Doctors

Delightful adaptation of another Julia Donaldson story which lands a blow on despotic tyranny

Pearl desperately wants to be a doctor, and you'd think her uncle would be fully behind this career wish. Well, he might be if he didn't happen to be the king in a time when being a tyrannical monarch was still deemed to be perfectly fine. Still, does that really give him cause to have her locked up for treachery while all the king's men chase down Pearl's two medical accomplices, Sir Gadabout and a huge orange, accident-prone dragon called Zog who doubles as their air ambulance?

Previously Pearl and co had come to the aid of a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with a huge branch stuck in its horn, and a flu-stricken lion. She even manages to turn her prison (admittedly a nicely furnished living quarter) into a surgery where she attends to a colicky housecat. And surely now the king will see sense given that he begins to suffer from a mystery illness that none of the finest specialists in his land are able to diagnose?

A fine cast has been gathered up for this latest small-screen adaptation of a Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler story, with Rob Brydon, Alexandra Roach, Lucian Msamati, Mark Bonnar and Daniel Ings all lending this tale their tongues. Meanwhile, narrator Lenny Henry does seem to put a little extra oomph into the word 'vaccinations' when he describes all the procedures administered by these flying doctors.

This is another delightful production from the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures who have been behind other TV adaptations of Donaldson and Scheffler's work such as The Gruffalo and Stick Man, and this is a reliably fun feast for the eyes. After Zog's adventure, you can probably switch off your telly for a while, as you know exactly what issues the current monarch's 3pm address will cover: Covid this, The Crown that, and Olivia Colman the other...

BBC One, Friday 25 December, 2.35pm. Available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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