Skellig (film)

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Skellig film poster.jpg
Written byIrena Brignull
David Almond
Directed byAnnabel Jankel
StarringTim Roth
Bill Milner
Skye Bennett
John Simm
Kelly Macdonald
Jermaine Allen
Theme music composerStep Warbeck
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
ProducerNick Hirschkorn
Running time102 minutes
Original release12 April 2009 (2009-04-12)

Skellig (known in North America as Skellig: The Owl Man) is a 2009 British fantasy drama film directed by Annabel Jankel, and starring Tim Roth and Bill Milner. The screenplay by Irena Brignull is based on David Almond's novel of the same name.[1]


Michael Cooper, a boy, moves with his parents and newborn sister to a decrepit house. Michael feels pushed out by them, while they accompany their daughter. Michael enters the garden shed. While looking around the gloomy and uninhabitable place, he meets Skellig. Louise has been occupied for premature labour. Michael helps by calling an ambulance, but blames himself. Louise sends the girl to a hospital some time later. Dave plans to remove the old shed. The girl becomes sick with a potentially fatal heart problem. Michael meets and befriends a girl named Mina. Louise blames Dave for moving into the house. Dave starts to thump the shed. He goes to look for matches. Michael and Skellig leave the shed and move to the woods near Mina's house, where he shows her his burned hand. Michael and Mina take Skellig to a tall tower and examine his owl wings. They hold hands with him and fly mystically around in a circle. It is revealed that Skellig can perform magic as Michael's hand is cured. Michael talks to Grace, an old lady whom he talks to every time he is at the hospital to visit with the new baby. He promises her that he will visit her. The next day when the baby goes in for the operation, he goes to visit Grace, but she died in her sleep the night before. He runs to Skellig and tells him to cure the girl like his hand. To prove that he can heal her, Michael jumps off the tower, but Skellig saves him and tells him to fall asleep while flying and he does. Skellig goes to the hospital unnoticed and walks into the baby's room. Skellig picks the girl out of her cot and does as before: flies off the ground and spins around as she lies sleeping in his arms. This miraculously cures the baby, much to the family's delight. When Michael asks their name, they tell him that cannot find the right one, and he names her Grace. The family return to the house where her room is bright yellow and Dave works on it while Grace was in hospital. (The baby is named Joy after William Blake's poem in the novel) Skellig accompanies Michael and Mina at the tower.



Skellig was part of Sky 1's plan to invest £10 million in producing three new high-definition dramas.[2] Filming started on 2 September 2008 in Caerphilly in Wales with scenes shot in and around Cardiff, Wales.[3][4] Cast members included Oscar-nominee Tim Roth in the title role and Bill Milner as Michael Cooper with Skye Bennett as Mina, Kelly Macdonald and John Simm as Michael's parents (Louise 'Lou' and Steve Cooper).[5] The film was scripted by Irena Brignull and directed by Annabel Jankel.[3] The film aired on Sky 1 on 12 April 2009.


  • Won 2009 Cinekid Film Award - Honorable Mention
  • Nominated 2009 RTS Television Award for Best Effects in Picture Enhancement
  • Nominated 2009 RTS Television Award for Best Effects in Special Effects
  • Nominated 2009 RTS Television Award for Best Make-Up Design
  • Nominated 2010 VES Awards for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Mini-Series or Series
  • Nominated 2015 PI.CA' for Everything


  1. ^ Shepherd, Rob (2 September 2008). "Tim Roth to star in Sky 1's Skellig". Broadcastnow. Emap. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  2. ^ West, Dave (19 March 2008). "Sky One sets three major HD series". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  3. ^ a b Holmwood, Leigh (2 September 2008). "Tim Roth to don wings as Skellig". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  4. ^ Bignell, Paul (14 September 2008). "On location: California, Cannes... and now Cardiff". The Independent.
  5. ^ Fletcher, Alex (2 September 2008). "Tim Roth confirmed for 'Skellig' cast". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 September 2008.

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