Thelwell Movie Sets To Bring Cartoon To Life

Thelwell movie

Thelwell Movie Sets To Bring Cartoon To Life

A Thelwell movie sets to bring the cartoon to life, and the franchise are now on the hunt for the starring roles!

Norman Thelwell is best known for his hilarious cartoons of little girls on plump ponies. First featured in Punch Magazine in the 1960’s, the cartoon is now making its way to the silver screen.

Striking a deal to transform the cartoon into a live-action feature film, the Thelwell family hope that the deal will breathe life into the beloved cartoon and attract a new generation of Thelwell lovers.

So, the search has been launched for a girl to play the enthusiastic rider, Penelope. Meanwhile, a cheeky pony is also being headhunted for the movie to play the rebellious, Merrylegs.


The casting team are looking out for Shetlands and Welsh Mountain ponies to be cast as Merrylegs. It is encouraged that anyone who thinks they have a pony that would make the perfect Merrylegs should contact the production company, Blenheim Films.

The film will be called Merrylegs: The Movie and will be set in the foothills of Snowdonia, North Wales. Filming will begin later this year.

Recently speaking to the Telegraph, Penny, Thelwell’s daughter and inspiration for the main character of his cartoons, explained the shift from paper to screen;

There are a lot of fans who say, ‘My grandmother gave the book to my mother, they’re in the attic somewhere.’ And there are a lot of people who like to follow his work, and they know the ponies, but they don’t know the name ‘Thelwell’.”

“They know the designs but the name has become a bit of a thing of the past so it’s a wonderful way to bring it back to a new generation while being very nostalgic for the people who grew up with it.”

Continuing to discuss the illustrator’s influences for the cartoon, Penny added;

He loved knowing what was going to happen, and with a horse you never know. But he absolutely loved drawing them. In his work, animals are always the wisest.”

Thelwell was further passionate about the environment. Therefore, director, Candida Bray, who will be leading the cinematic piece, has assured to recognise this theme throughout the film. Candida has previous directed environmental documentaries, such as Trashed. She is currently working with ponies and their trainers to understand what animals can be trained in and what will be added later through special effects.

The film is set for release in 2023, marking Thelwell’s 100th birthday. A TV series based on his autobiographies is also in development.


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