Nativity (film series)

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Directed by Debbie Isitt
Produced by Nick Jones
Music by Nicky Ager
Debbie Isitt
Edited by Nicky Ager
Mirrorball Films
BBC Films(1)
Screen WM(1)
Media Pro Six(2)
Premiere Picture(2)
Distributed by Entertainment One
Release date
1: 27 November 2009
2: 23 November 2012
3: 14 November 2014
4: December 2018
Running time
319 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $6.1 million
Box office $34.2 million

The Nativity film series is a British film series of family Christmas films.


Released films[edit]

Nativity! (2009)[edit]

Paul Maddens is teacher who once had ambitions of being successful as an actor, producer or director. Every year St Bernadette's Catholic school in Coventry, where he teaches, competes with a local Protestant private school (Oakmoor) to see who can produce the best nativity play. Paul hates Christmas because his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lore, who attended drama school with him, left him at Christmas before he could propose to her.

Despite this, the St Bernadette's headteacher Mrs Bevans tasks him with running their nativity play this year, and gives him a new class teaching assistant called Mr Poppy, who turns out to be as much of a child as the rest of Paul's class. As every year, it is one of Paul's other friends from drama school, Gordon Shakespeare, who runs the nativity plays at rival school Oakmoor.

Determined not to be seen as a failure by his old rival, Paul lies to Shakespeare about how a Hollywood producer — their old friend Jennifer — will be turning his production into a Hollywood film, though he hasn't even spoken to her in five years. Mr Poppy accidentally overhears this and is so excited that he has to spread the rumour. Soon, Paul finds his lie is out of control, and all he can do is go along with it as media attention mounts and the children get more and more excited, so Paul has to try to get Hollywood turn their production to a film.

Danger in the Manger (2012)[edit]

Donald Peterson is an anxious teacher who has just moved to a new house with his pregnant wife Sarah. He accepts a teaching job at St. Bernadette's primary school, taking over the class formerly taught by Mr. Maddens, who by this point has left for the United States. In the interim, the enthusiastic and childlike teaching assistant Mr. Poppy has been teaching the class unaided.

The class wants to enter in a competition called "A Song for Christmas", in which each school produces a Christmas song, with the winning song earning its school £10,000 and the chance at being a Christmas #1. However, headteacher Mrs. Bevan refuses the class permission to enter without a qualified teacher, and worries that Mr. Poppy's behaviour is so inappropriate that no teacher will stay in the job.

When Mr. Poppy decides St Bernadette's should enter the National 'Song for Christmas' competition, he persuades Donald to sign the entry forms, later kidnapping him for an impromptu road trip to Gastell Llawen ("Merry Castle", not a real place) in Wales, where the competition is being held.

Dude, Where's My Donkey? (2014)[edit]

This movie stars Martin Clunes, Marc Wootton, Catherine Tate with Celia Imrie and Jason Watkins.

Jeremy Shepherd is an Ofsted inspector who is the father of Lauren and is due to marry his fiancée Sophie in New York. However, he is hit in the forehead by Mr Poppy's pet donkey Alfie. He has amnesia, and no memory of anything that happened before.


Future sequels[edit]

Nativity Rocks! This Ain't No Silent Night (2018)[edit]

It was confirmed on 4 December 2017 that Nativity 4 had been greenlit, and will be released on Friday 23 November 2018, the film will be entitled Nativity Rocks! This Ain't No Silent Night. On the 16th July 2018, a teaser trailer has been released and viewers have sent negative reviews and predictions. [1]

Casting includes; Simon Lipkin, Daniel Boys, Craig Revel Horwood, Bradley Walsh, Meera Syal, Helen George, Ruth Jones, Celia Imrie, Hugh Dennis and Anna Chancellor as well as some of the cast from the original theatre musical cast.[2]

Possible future films[edit]

In an interview, Debbie Isitt said "Nativity 4 has been developed already and so has Nativity 5 – one of them is set ‘Down Under’ in Australia". She later added "However, I am uncertain as to if or when they will be made as there are other projects competing for my attention. We will just have to see." [3]

Declined international remakes[edit]

Nick revealed that they had so far "politely declined" offers to make American and Australian remakes.[4]


Characters Films
Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?
Paul Maddens Martin Freeman Photographs Photographs
Desmond Poppy Marc Wootton
Gordon Shakespeare Jason Watkins
Patricia Bevan Pam Ferris
Jennifer Lore Ashley Jensen
The Mayor Ricky Tomlinson
Miss Rye Rosie Cavaliero
Donald Peterson David Tennant Photographs
Rodrick Peterson
Mr Peterson Snr Ian McNeice
Angel Matthews Jessica Hynes
Sarah Peterson Joanna Page
Jeremy Shepherd Martin Clunes
Sophie O'Donnell Catherine Tate
Bradley Finch Adam Garcia
Uncle Henry Stewart Wright


Film Director(s) Producer(s) Executive producer(s) Writer(s) Composer Editor(s)
Nativity! Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager Nick Jones Joe Oppenheimer, Lee Thomas, David M. Thompson Nicky Ager, Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager
Danger in the Manger Debbie Isitt Nick Jones Laurence Brown, Jason Garrett, Alex Hamilton, Dan Lawson, Gary Phillips, David Rogers, Mark Vennis Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager, Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager
Dude, Where's My Donkey? Debbie Isitt Nick Jones Laurence Brown, Daniel Toland Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager, Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager
Rocks! This Ain't No Silent Night Debbie Isitt Nick Jones Debbie Isitt Nicky Ager

Stage musical[edit]

On 17 November 2016 it was announced that the first film will be adapted into a stage musical, making its world premiere at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in October 2017, before touring to Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Manchester Palace Theatre, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Eventim Apollo, and Leeds Grand Theatre over the Christmas season.

It was written and directed by Debbie Isitt with music by Isitt and Nicky Ager, choreography by Andrew Wright and design by David Woodhead. It will be produced by Jamie Wilson, Entertainment One, Ramin Sabi, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Ref(s)
UK Other territories Worldwide
Nativity November 27, 2009 $8,412,353 $82,081 $8,494,434 $2,443,493 [5]
Danger in the Manger November 23, 2012 $14,433,981 $14,433,981 $3,657,136 [6]
Dude, Where's My Donkey? November 11, 2014 $11,283,866 $11,283,866 [7]
Total $34,130,200 $82,081 $34,212,281 $6,100,629
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes
Nativity 48% (25 reviews)[8]
Danger in the Manger 36% (22 reviews)[9]
Dude, Where's My Donkey? 16% (19 reviews)[10]
Average 33%