A WIGTOWN duo will be delighting children and families this Christmas after Robin Robin, the first-ever full blown animated musical from Aardman, was released on Netflix.

The Bookshop Band’s Beth Porter and Ben Please moved to the small coastal town in south-west Scotland from Bath five years ago. Porter and Please both composed and performed the film’s soundtrack, but they also had a hand in coaching the film’s stars – Gillian Anderson, Richard E Grant and Bronte Carmichael.

The 30-minute animation tells the tale of a small bird with a big heart. Raised by a family of burglar mice, Robin (Carmichael) sets out on a big adventure to steal a Christmas sandwich so they can all enjoy a real festive feast.

Along the way she encounters a curmudgeonly magpie (Grant) and faces mortal danger from the villainous Cat (Anderson) who fancies Robin and friends as her own lunch.

The Bristol-based animation studio are the makers of stop-motion-filmed Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit.

Porter said: “We’ve worked on short animations before but this is by far the biggest project of its kind we have ever taken on – and it’s been great.

“One of the wonderful things is that music we composed and recorded here in Wigtown is now going to be part of millions of people’s Christmas entertainment all over the world.”

The Bookshop Band, known for their literature-themed songs they write and perform (sometimes accompanied by famous authors), were involved with the Robin Robin project right from its start – over two years ago.

They gave each character its own musical identity – Robin’s appearances are accompanied by a recorder, the cat by a bass clarinet and the magpie’s theme is a muted jazz trumpet.

There’s even a nod to the music of previous Aardman projects, like Wallace and Gromit, with the frequent use of a brass band in the background.

Much of what audiences will be listening to is pure Bookshop Band, though the husband-and-wife team brought in additional musicians for some parts and even a full choir for the finale.

Coaching sessions with the cast were important as they had been selected for the character of their speaking voices rather than because of any background as singers.

Porter said: “They were all really down-to-earth and friendly. When we met Gillian she greeted us with a nice little elbow bump.

The National: Gillian Anderson is one of the stars of the filmGillian Anderson is one of the stars of the film

“And I was really impressed with the way Richard went through his songs and made them sound just amazing. So they were all really fun to work with.”

The success of the project is built on long-standing relationships; Please is the older brother of one of the film’s directors and this is their 10th professional collaboration.

In recent years their professional collaborations have broadened to involve Porter as another musical talent and, from the movie-making side, Dan Ojari, co-director of Robin Robin.

Ben said: “[My brother] has an excellent appreciation of music, so he knows what we do and whether it’s right for a project, and we know exactly the sort of thing that he will like.”

This is underlined by the fact that, unusually, some of the very first ideas and recordings The Bookshop Band came up with made it into the final version.

The crowd-pleasing Christmas film is now available to stream on Netflix.