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Classical Studies animation shortlisted for award

The title frame of the animated film Medea showing the name Medea above a bubbling cauldron over a blue flame

A short animated film about Euripides' tragedy Medea has been shortlisted for an award.

The animation, produced for the OU Classical Studies third level module Greek and Roman Myth (A350), has been shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Yorkshire Award. Lecturer in Classical Studies Dr Christine Plastow and Professor of Classical Studies James Robson were consultants for the film, produced by Fettle Animation Ltd and voiced by actor Angela Griffin.

The RTS Yorkshire Centre Awards celebrate excellence in production across all platforms, formats and genres, with the current Awards marking TV talent and craft broadcast between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2023.

Professor Robson outlines the film as “a two-minute version of Euripides' play, Medea, which is designed as a taster for anyone interested in Classical Studies in general and in the Greek and Roman Myth module in particular, where the play is studied in detail in its classical context.

It's a gut-wrenching play about the psychology of revenge which sees Medea plot to get even with her husband, Jason, after he leaves her for another woman. Medea is this compelling figure in Greek myth: intelligent, manipulative and ruthless, yes, but in this play she's also painted as deeply human and even vulnerable at times. Euripides builds our sympathy with Medea as a wronged, foreign woman whose ethnicity and gender have been used against her. But in a devastating twist on the myth that Euripides inherited, she ultimately commits the most inhuman of acts in her quest for revenge: the murder of the children she bore to Jason.”

James notes that “working on the animation was a great experience. The animation team at Fettle worked closely with the brief we provided and sought the academics' views at every stage. But we were all in agreement, too, that they should be given a free rein to find the right words and the narrative energy to propel the animation along, while staying true to the original play. They couldn't have done a better job, in my view. It's visually stunning and the script narrated by Angela Griffin (of Coronation Street and Waterloo Road fame) has a wonderful grittiness to it. And at two minutes long, it's also perfect for anyone wanting to engage in a bit of guilt-free work avoidance. I can't recommend it highly enough!”

Concerning being shortlisted for the award, James enthuses that “it's really nice to be nominated for this award. Actually, what am I saying? A mini pork pie is nice. It's totally off-the-scale amazing to be shortlisted for what is a genuinely prestigious award. The nominations in other categories include Sarah Lancashire for Happy Valley and Suranne Jones for Gentleman Jack. This puts the pressure on when deciding on a look for the red carpet, of course, but we're totally up for the challenge.”

Patrina Law, Head of OpenLearn, adds: “We are delighted that this animation has been shortlisted for this award. Like many of the animations on OpenLearn, it makes subject matter that for many seems inaccessible, not only easy to digest and understandable, but also fun, and that opens the door to further learning. That’s at the very heart of what OpenLearn is all about, and we congratulate our colleagues in FASS and at Fettle Animation on its success.

Watch the Medea video via the OpenLearn website

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