Drift off to Joseph Wallace’s hand-crafted stop motion for the BBC’s Sleeping Forecast

The director has created a wonderfully peaceful animation for the promotion for the BBC’S ASMR hit podcast, in collaboration with creative director Yoav Segal.

10 July 2024


Had trouble nodding off? The BBC Sounds Sleeping Forecast might just do the trick. If not only the sleepy sounds, then a viewing of this promotional animation will hopefully send you off – don’t worry though, that is, in fact, its aim. The stop frame BBC advert “features a diverse cast of characters slowly being lulled to sleep by the podcast”, designed to communicate “the soothing and soporific quality” of its Sleeping Forecast.

Having previously worked together on a spooky Christmas promo for the Christmas Carol episode of the Sleeping Forecast, director and designer Joseph Wallace and producer Yoav Segal have now reunited to create this sleepy stop-motion film, with their signature theatrical style and dolls house-sized sets. “Finding a way to bring the Sleeping Forecast’s calm, relaxed and meditative quality to the screen was a brilliant challenge and the resulting blend of theatrical simplicity, dynamic lighting and nuanced stop-motion acting was really satisfying to deliver,” says Yoav. Creating an involving and atmospheric film, the duo and their creative team used puppets and models with a mixture of animated lighting and practical in-camera effects to bring their little scenes to life.


Atime Works: BBC Sounds, Need a Good Sleep? (Copyright © Atime Works, 2024)

Originally meeting during their time working in theatre, the directing duo brought their unique storytelling approach to the BBC stop-motion through stripped-back coloured studio sets, that don’t compromise on a sense of atmosphere and place. “For this piece, we wanted to convey the intimacy of listening to the Sleeping Forecast on various listening devices and how you can focus on the audio to relax. So I wanted to do away with over-complicated sets and focus on character and a few details that suggest a world, whilst creating a dream-like vignette”, shares Joseph.

Much more interested in “engaging viewers' imaginations” than “spoon-feeding every detail”, Joseph knew that he wanted to take more of a clean look with the film, combined with the meticulous detail and texture of his models and puppets, which the designer is so well known for. “A combination of the essential props, lighting and sound tell the viewer where we are,” he explains. The animation style itself is decisively “subtle and naturalistic – emphasising the calm, grounded mood of the piece, bringing viewers into a dream-like world”.

As the BBC has recently celebrated its 100th anniversary for the Shipping Forecast, which the Sleeping Forecast originally built from, Joseph and Yoav have cleverly placed “nautical Easter eggs” throughout the stop motion. Starting out in a boat at sea and continuing in tiny hand crafted props like a marine anchor mugs and a framed fish, there are constant subtle nods amongst their quiet scenes to the radio programme’s rich history.

GalleryAtime Works: BBC Sounds, Need a Good Sleep? (Copyright © Atime Works, 2024)

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Atime Works: BBC Sounds, Need a Good Sleep? (Copyright © Atime Works, 2024)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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