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Animation for a new generation

Roald Dahl would probably approve of the BBC's new children's drama Mr Stink (Sunday, BBC One, 6.30pm) because it has all the same ingredients as his books: bright and witty children; feckless and stupid adults; and a ruthless morality that brings down embarrassing punishment on the bad.

But, above all, it has lots of scrabrous, squelchy detail: huge rumbly farts, cavernous belches and clouds of green, odorous fumes.

The 60-minute drama is based on a book by the comedian David Walliams who, when he's not writing comedy, has taken to writing for children. It tells the story of a lonely, misunderstood 12-year-old girl called Chloe who finds herself the target of the coolest girls in the school (and as everyone who has ever been to school knows, the coolest girls are always the most evil).

When Chloe sees the girls being cruel to an old tramp they call Mr Stink, she befriends him and then offers him a place to stay in the shed at the bottom of her garden. It's an act of kindness of the sort most adults forget how to do and sets up a relationship of the normal and the strange that's reminiscent of the children's classic Stig Of The Dump.

Mr Stink is played with dishevelled gentlemanliness by Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey – and the twist in the tale will tell you how appropriate that casting is – and his dog by Pudsey, the terrier that won Britain's Got Talent. It's Sheridan Smith, though, who ends up being the star of the whole thing as Chloe's god-awful mother who has dreams of being a Tory MP, which sets up a nice little camp cameo from Walliams as the Prime Minister. For those with HD, there's a 3D version of Mr Stink, the first time the BBC has ever attempted this with drama.

Much more traditional is The Snowman And The Snowdog (Christmas Eve, Channel 4, 8pm), a sequel to Raymond Briggs's original film, which was first broadcast 30 years ago. This is animation done the old-fashioned way, which is also the expensive way (there are more than 200,000 drawings – total cost £2 million). Forty artists took part in all, drawing first in pencil and then crayon. Five seconds of animation took a week.

"Eighty-five per cent of the film is made by hand," says the co-producer Camilla Deakin. "There are quirky mistakes, which makes it more interesting. Computer-generated imaging can be too perfect, although we use computers at the end to finesse the pictures, adding digital snow and lighting effects."

Despite this little bit of digital help, the result is just as beautiful and engaging as the first film, with the added charm of a snowdog patted into existence from the snow left over. My only complaint is that the ending is the wrong way round – you'll see what I mean when you watch it.

More animation is provided by Room On The Broom (Christmas Day, BBC One, 4.35pm) although it's not nearly as charming as The Snowman. The story is based on Gruffalo writer Julia Donaldson's book and is one that children will instantly get. There's a witch and she has a cat, but along the way they encounter other animals. The witch says there's room on the broom for more, much to the annoyance of the cat.

There are lots of famous people doing the voices and it might drive you mad trying to guess who they are, so here's a list. If you want to play guess-the-celebrity-voice on the day, look away now. The witch is Gillian Anderson, the cat is Rob Brydon, the dog is Martin Clunes and Timothy Spall is the dragon.

Still on animation but for older children – or adults who are still children – there is Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson (Boxing Day, BBC Four, 9pm). Do you remember the Moomins? Of course you do. They were a family of trolls that looked like hippopotamuses and they lived in a place called Moominland that was so cold they would have to sleep for 100 days and 100 nights over the winter. They were the stars of a Finnish comic strip that later became a popular cartoon series around the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Moomins were created by Tove Jansson, who is the focus of this programme, and what's surprising is that in her surreal and dreamlike story there are strong autobiographical elements to be found. Jansson lived the bohemian life of an artist in war-torn Helsinki before becoming a recluse on a remote island in the Gulf of Finland, and her peace-loving, philosophical trolls, living in a forest somewhere in Finland, were the result.

And finally, something else you might remember from your childhood that your children might just end up loving too: Superstars (December 29, BBC One, 6.45pm). The sporting entertainment show originally ran in the 1970s, and this one-off revival features 16 of Team GB's medal-winning athletes from London 2012 including Mo Farah, Lizzie Armitstead and the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan.

Just like in the old days, the athletes will be put through eight different disciplines: on the track they'll compete in the 100m and 800m, on the field in the javelin, in the pool in a 50m swim, and there's also archery, a kayak race, a cycle, a hill climb, and then the big final test – the gym.

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