Apple TV+ picks up the heartwarming short story The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and adds Idris Elba and more

White horse on snow
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Apple TV+ has picked up the rights for the animated short film The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, based on the best-selling book of the same name by celebrated author Charlie Mackesy.

The short story will air on Apple TV+ on Christmas Day, the streamer confirmed, adding that it will be presented in partnership with the BBC.


Apple TV+ described the story as "a story of kindness, friendship, courage and hope for viewers of all ages," adding that it's a "heartwarming, classically animated film." The press release notes that "the poignant and heartfelt journey follows the unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse travelling together in the boy’s search for home."

“The journey of making the film of ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ with my incredibly gifted animation team has been a magical one,” author Charlie Mackesy is quoted as saying. “I never dreamt it would happen — but it’s so moving to think the story will be watched at Christmas. I really hope it brings a bit of joy, laughter and comfort.”

As for those voicing the characters for the story, Apple TV+ says that BAFTA Award winner Tom Hollander will play The Mole, while Golden Globe and SAG Award winner Idris Elba will be The Fox. Golden Globe Award winner Gabriel Byrne will be The Horse, while newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll has the role of The Boy.

You'll need an Apple TV+ subscription to watch The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse this Christmas Day, a subscription that costs $4.99 per month. You can watch on anything from a game console to a smart TV to an iPhone 14, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.