The Legend of Jan Tregeagle is a new stop motion animated film from Odd Planet Studios. It’s ‘an exciting retelling of a classic Cornish legend, and the first in a series of tales from deepest, darkest Cornwall’.
The filmmakers have been awarded a grant from Cornwall Heritage Trust, so you know it’s going to be something special. When we spoke to producer Katherine Drake she gave us our own very special run-down of the story. And as you would expect from an actress, it was
The Legend of Jan Tregeagle as told by Katherine Drake
“It’s a Cornish folk tale about a very mean and greedy and wicked magistrate in Bodmin in the 17th century.
“He’s a Puritan but he only cares about money and gold and he condemns anyone who can’t bribe him for their crimes. He even steals a poor little orphan girl’s inheritance.
“One night he has a terrifying vision of hell where he has money shoved in his mouth by horrible hands from the pits of hell. He wakes up and he thinks ‘oh my goodness! How can I get away from this, my fate?’
“Being Jan Tregeagle he bribes the clergy and makes them swear to keep him out of hell.
“After he dies the whole town is very happy and they have a huge party. They have a new magistrate who is nice and jolly and fashionable in the new Restoration style.
“But when a dispute cannot be resolved the defendant in the case jokingly says only Tregeagle could sort it out.
“At that Jan appears, all grey and magotty. He solves the dispute, but then there is a dilemma – they can’t put him back in his grave, but the clergy promised not to let him go to hell.
“So they set him tasks that he would never be able to complete until Judgment Day, except he escapes from the first and completes the second…
Finally our superhero saint Petroc intervenes….
“It’s a tale of
“There are some quite dark things going on in there, but it’s a family animation, and it’s funny.
“It’s got some great comedy and some beautiful handbuilt puppets; the puppetry is absolutely stunning and each character is so distinct and unique.
“And we want to make a contribution to Cornish culture. So we’re doing a Cornish language version with English subtitles and an English language film with Cornish subtitles.
“We hope this film will make people really excited about Cornish folklore – people who wouldn’t necessarily be interested or be excited about something like that. People love stop-motion animation, and you can do great things with it. You can have zombies, which is what we’ve got – It’s a Zombie Film! Everybody’s doing zombie films at the moment so we’re doing one too. It just happens to be Cornish and set in the 17th century.”
Find out more about Odd Planet Studios and the Legend of Jan Tregeagle at www.oddplanetstudios.co.uk