UK, Luxembourg


Based on the 1998 book by the acclaimed British author and illustrator, the beautifully hand-drawn, animated feature film tells the true story of Raymond’s parents – Ethel and Ernest - two ordinary Londoners living through a period of extraordinary events and immense social change.
Heart-warming, humorous and bittersweet, the film follows the lives of lady’s maid Ethel and milkman Ernest from their first chance meeting in 1928, through the birth of their son Raymond in 1934, to their deaths, within months of each other, in 1971.
From the socially stratified 1920s to the moon landing of 1969, the film depicts, through Ethel and Ernest’s eyes, the most defining moments of the 20th Century: the darkness of the Great Depression, the build up to World War II, the trials of the war years, the euphoria of VE Day and the emergence of a generation from post war austerity to the cultural enlightenment of the 1960s.

Director's Statement

It was an honour that Raymond could entrust us to depict the lives of his family on the big screen. People sometimes ask me who the film is intended for, and I answer first and foremost for Raymond Briggs. I’m happy to say that he is over the moon with the end result so I feel confident that it will now find its audience. I believe the warm and honest human story that is told in Raymond’s original book has found its way into cinematic form with Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn giving wonderful performances in the title roles.

Director's Biography

Roger Mainwood is one of the UK’s leading animation directors. He gained his experience at the London animation studio TVC, where he worked as an animator on most of their award-winning films. These included adaptations of Raymond Briggs’ books The Snowman, When the Wind Blows and Father Christmas. His first major directing role was on Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town Mouse, and he was also animation director on the feature length TV specials The Wind in the Willows and Willows in Winter. Other directing roles have been on episodes of the BBC comedy series Stressed Eric, and he was series director on the BAFTA nominated pre-school series Meg and Mog. Ethel and Ernest is his debut animated feature.


2017 ETHEL & ERNEST, Director
2003-2004 MEG AND MOG, Series Director
2000 STRESSED ERIC, Series Director
1996 THE WILLOWS IN WINTER, Animation Director
1995 THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, Animation Director

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Roger Mainwood

Written by: Roger Mainwood

Produced by: Camilla Deakin, Ruth Fielding, Stephan Roelants

Editing: Richard Overall

Original Score: Carl Davis

Sound Design: Adrian Rhodes

Animation: Peter Dodd

Cast: Jim Broadbent (Ernest Briggs), Brenda Blethyn (Ethel Briggs), Luke Treadaway (Raymond Briggs)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Animated Feature Film 2017