Shropshire Star

Alison Steadman on voicing Quentin Blake animation and how he inspires children

The actress said she used to read his books to her sons.

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Alison Steadman

Gavin And Stacey star Alison Steadman has said Sir Quentin Blake is an “inspiration” and opens doors for young children like her grandson.

The 77-year-old Liverpool-born actress voices the protagonist in Sir Quentin’s Mrs Armitage On Wheels, a story book which has been adapted for TV.

The children’s animation, which airs this Easter and forms part of CBBC’s Quentin Blake’s Box Of Treasures series, follows inventor Mrs Armitage as she tries to regain her confidence following an accident.

Alison Steadman
Quentin Blake’s Box Of Treasures airs over the Easter weekend (EagleEyeDrama/BBC/Charlie Clift)

Speaking about Sir Quentin and his work in illustration, Steadman said: “He’s been working all his life. The amount of work he’s done is just phenomenal.

“You know, he is an amazing man who’s still creating and working at his age.

“I just think he is an inspiration to everyone.

“Kids love drawing and perhaps they’ll be inspired by him to do more and maybe to go to a college and get some training and, who knows, end up doing wonderful illustrations.”

Steadman said she used to read his books to her sons and explained that this animation will introduce her young grandson to Sir Quentin’s work.

“Over the years, I’ve had many of his books,” she said.

“I mean, when my two boys were little, we had lots of books and Quentin Blake has always been a part of our lives and when I told my sons that I was doing this job, they were really pleased, really pleased and they can’t wait to see it.

“And I’ve got a little grandson as well. I think all this will sort of introduce him to Quentin Blake, you know, he’s six years old so I think this is just going to open up a whole door for him, which is lovely.”

“I just think Quentin Blake is someone that you have to admire 100%,” Steadman added.

“He’s just incredible and the illustrations are priceless, you know, because it’s the simplicity of them, but everything’s in them.

“You look at it and the lines are very simple, but he gets every detail involved, despite it being absolutely simple.

“I think he’s a genius… I mean, I really do believe that he is an artistic genius.”

She said that the programme is “special” as we do not often get to see illustrations come to life on our television screens.

“How often do we see animated illustration on television? We don’t very often”, Steadman said.

“Kids get all sorts of wonderful programmes, of course, but I think this will be special. I really do.

“I think it’s brilliantly done. The animation, I think it’s excellent.”

National Portrait Gallery reopening
Alison Steadman said the programme is ‘special’ (Ian West/PA)

She added: “I think it will appeal to adults and children.

“I mean, I could well imagine parents and grandparents and children all being together watching this and loving it, because I think it’s got something for everyone in it.

“And it’s the kind of thing that, when I watched it, I immediately wanted to watch it again because I thought ‘Oh, there’s so much detail.’

“You know little things and I thought ‘Well, I want to watch that again.’ So yeah I think it will appeal to the whole family.”

Reflecting on her character who travels around on her bike alongside her faithful dog Breakspear, Steadman said: “I love that she’s not in her 20s or 30s, she’s approaching her pensionable age and she’s still adventurous, she’s still doing things.”

Mrs Armitage On Wheels will air on CBBC and BBC iPlayer on March 31 and on BBC One on April 1.

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