New Aardman animation shows the impact of the world’s oldest and deadliest disease as part of global campaign demanding bold political action on malaria

  • New Aardman animation voiced by actor Hugh Laurie tells the story of malaria – the world’s oldest and deadliest killer – as part of a global campaign calling on Commonwealth leaders to take bold political action against the disease
  • Animation will be released on Commonwealth Day and shown during an event with Secretary of State for International Development, Members of Parliament and Commonwealth High Commissioners to raise awareness of the urgency of action#MalariaMustDie

Malaria Must Die is a global campaign backed by a wide coalition of organisations and celebrities, who are calling upon leaders to prioritise the fight against malaria, or risk undoing decades of unprecedented progress. It aims to inspire support and build a strong mandate for bold political action to end malaria for good.

Award-winning studio Aardman has teamed up with the global campaign, Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live, to raise awareness of the deadly history of malaria and call upon leaders to “unite and fight” the disease that takes the life of a child every two minutes.

Launching on Commonwealth Day the new animation, voiced by actor Hugh Laurie, takes viewers through the history of the disease from the first recorded case in Ancient China – 4,718 years ago – to current day. This engaging short film by Aardman highlights the huge progress that’s been made in the fight against malaria, while reminding us that half the world’s population are still at risk. The disease tragically claims 445,000 lives a year – a child every two minutes – and over half of these deaths occur in Commonwealth countries.

The animation is part of the continued campaign call for leaders meeting at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, April 2018, to take concerted action. Commonwealth populations are disproportionately affected by the disease and leaders are being urged to make new commitments to beating it.

Speaking about the animation and his involvement, Hugh Laurie said; “This wonderful animation by Aardman tells the story of malaria, our oldest and deadliest enemy – an enemy we’re now in a position to defeat, once and for all. I am proud to be part of this campaign calling for bold, political action to fight the disease, because it remains one of the biggest killers of children and yet is entirely preventable, and costs less than a cup of tea to treat.  We can all make tea, can’t we?  I hope everyone who watches this film shares it and supports the Malaria Must Die campaign, so that millions can live.”


International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said, “We know malaria still causes one out of ten child deaths in Africa and costs its economies billions every year.  We also know progress on reducing malaria cases has stalled, which is why it is so important it is discussed at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The UK is a leader in the fight against malaria and has been for many years. We are the second largest international funder in the world and invest in treatment, prevention and research, including fighting against the threat of drug resistance.”

Commenting on the new Aardman animation she continued, “This fantastic animation will not only show the huge amount of progress made on reducing malaria, but will also raise awareness of the work still to be done to protect those at risk.”

James Whiting, Executive Director of Malaria No More UK (the NGO convening the campaign on behalf of the global malaria community) said, “Malaria has an ancient and deadly history. Despite best efforts to end malaria and huge progress in recent years, it still kills nearly half a million people every year. And we are at a risk of losing hard won progress due to plateauing funding, growing resistance and declining political will. We know how to better treat, test and track the disease and we must act now to end this deadly killer for good.”

This new animation for Malaria Must Die continues the tradition of Aardman creating content for charities and not for profit organisations, helping them to communicate complex and difficult messages through the medium of animation. It will also be shared and used with children and young people, given how well it plays for this audience.

Danny Capozzi, Animation Director at Aardman added, “We love making films for charities because it gives us the opportunity to use our creativity in a meaningful way beyond simply entertaining. Storytelling through animation can be a powerful tool in helping people to understand complex or difficult subjects and we felt it was important to take a sensitive approach to recounting the history of malaria. We hope that our film achieves this by communicating a difficult message in an accessible way for the Malaria Must Die campaign and helps in the fight against this terrible disease.”

The animation can be viewed here: on YouTube or #MalariaMustDie @malariamustdie

Malaria is the world’s oldest and deadliest disease. 100 million years ago dinosaurs carried the disease. The first recorded human case was 2700 BC in Ancient China. A century later, in Ancient Egypt, pyramid leaders ate garlic to keep it at bay and Cleopatra slept under a bed net. Over the last 15 years, there has been unprecedented progress in fighting the disease, with 7 million lives saved. Yet today a child dies from malaria every two minutes.