Sky 1’s Fungus the Bogeyman: Behind the scenes
James R | On 27, Dec 2015
Imagine a world deep underground, where no human comfort is to be found… That’s where Sky 1 is taking families during the Christmas holidays with its new take on Fungus the Bogeyman, which begins tonight at 6pm.
The adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ classic is written by Tom MacRae and follows Fungus as he goes about his business menacing and frightening those on the surface (the “Dry Cleaners”) as Bogeymen do and have always done.
The three-part (or – ahem – “three-fart” special, as Sky likes to call it) series stars Timothy Spall as Fungus, accompanied by Bafta winner Victoria Wood, Keeley Hawes (The Casual Vacancy, Line of Duty), and Marc Warren (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell). Also confirmed are Andy Serkis as the Narrator (Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of it) as Fungus’s beloved Bogeywife Mildrew, and Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones) as the ‘bogeyhunter’.
Wood plays Eve, an earthy, eccentric “Dry Cleaner” living in the human inhabited town of Daventry. Keeley Hawes and Marc Warren play Wendy and Daryl Snow, also “Dry Cleaners” who live on the surface with their daughter Lucy.
But as well as the all-star cast, a host of talent is helping to bring the Bogeyman to life behind the scenes. The show is produced by Imaginarium Studios – the company set up by Andy Serkis, mo-cap veteran of The Lord of the Rings and King Kong – in partnership with Double Negative’s TV department, DNeg TV and will contain both live action and animation.
The physical set for the underground Bogeyworld is based in detail on Briggs’ work. “I read it front to back and back to front,” says Anna Higginson, Production Designer, with props and smells all aiming to heighten the atmosphere but still remaining at a point where it is believable.
“It was covered in vegetables and slime everywhere,” explains Hayden Jones, Visual FX Supervisor from DNeg TV.
The actual Bogeyman himself, meanwhile, was brought to life by using Timothy Spall’s voice and another actor as the physical body, performing inside an eight-foot costume. DNeg TV’s visual effects team then worked on the face and interpreted the voice cast’s facial expressions using Imaginarium’s performance capture technology – the first time this technology has been downsized to be used on TV.
To give a glimpse of the work that went into the frankly disgusting-sounding world, Sky 1 has released a set of behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube full of trivial tidbits and insight. There’s also a guide to various elements of the Bogeyman myth, from a Bogey’s smell – a combination of many gases and excretions released through a variety of pores and orifices – to Face-Folding – the act of restributing fumes and vapours around the body to change physical form.
Fungus the Bogeyman begins at 6pm on Sunday 27th December, with Part 2 and 3 at 6pm on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th December. Don’t have Sky? You can watch live or catch up on-demand without a lengthy contract on NOW, a VOD service that costs £6.99 a month.
All photos: © 2015 Sky UK Ltd
Main photo: © Phil Fisk for Sky 1