The Moomin Phenomenon is a podcast taking listeners around the world on an entertaining audio adventure through all things Moomin. Get your headphones and dive in – this Moomin podcast hosted by Lily Collins and Jennifer Saunders is available wherever you get your podcasts!
Why do fans want to tattoo their bodies with Moomin characters or pay thousands of Euros for a Moomin mug? This Moomin podcast takes you from London to Japan via the Finnish archipelago, meeting people who have been inspired by Tove Jansson’s creations and her bold life.
The podcast lets you visit mythical Moomin places like the outhouse where Tove Jansson drew the first Moomintroll, her private studio, and other secret Moomin locations to which the wider audience normally doesn’t have access. The two first episodes of the series are published on March 1, 2023, with the rest to follow once a week on Wednesdays. The podcast series is produced by Third Ear Productions on behalf of Moomin Characters.
The Moomin Phenomenon is available wherever you get your podcasts
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… And on many other podcast platforms, just search “The Moomin Phenomenon Podcast” in your podcast app!
Lily Collins revisits the Moomin stories again and again
“I am thrilled to share the Moomins with new adults and children who will become inspired by these loveable trolls just as I have been”, says Lily Collins, who is an actress and producer well known for her role in Emily in Paris.
“I first discovered the series and its magical illustrations as a child growing up in the English countryside. There is so much to learn through Tove’s writing about equality, respect for nature, and how to break out of your comfort zone in search of an adventure.”
“I try to bring all of these themes into my daily life as an adult and still today return to the Moomin stories again and again. My husband and I have even started our own Tove Jansson collection of artwork and personal letters that we deeply treasure and will pass down for generations to come.”
Jennifer Saunders fell in love with the Moomins as an adult
“My personal admiration for Tove Jansson is huge, but through this podcast I’ve become aware that I’m not alone – she is truly worshipped all over the world, and rightly so”, says the narrator of the podcast, actress Jennifer Saunders.
Saunders is widely known for her role as Edina Monsoon in the tv-series Absolutely Fabulous, and Moomin fans might recognise her voice from playing Mymble in the Moominvalley animation series, which premiered in 2019.
“The uninitiated sometimes see the Moomin stories as being only for children – and they are wonderful children’s books, of course – but having come to them as an adult, I fell in love with the philosophy and the charm”, Saunders continues.
The podcast also features actor Samuel West, author Philip Ardagh and many more who share personal Moomin memories and how Tove Jansson and her philosophy of life has inspired them.
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Intro: Lily Collins’ Guide to the Moomins (Published March 1, 2023)
Haven’t heard about the Moomins? Not to worry, you’ll be treated to a crash course into the quirky and life-affirming philosophy of the fantastical creatures of Moominvalley and get a glimpse of the inspiring life of author and illustrator Tove Jansson.
The true Moomin fan will hear many of their favourite Moomin quotes, as well as teasers of interviews with Moomin experts and fans from around the world.
EPISODE I – It’s all about the fans (Published March 1, 2023)
Why do people love or identify with the Moomins? An entire subculture is built around Tove Jansson’s unique and curious creatures and characters from Moominvalley. In this first episode of the five-part Moomin podcast, listeners are taken on a journey starting in the North of Sweden at a tattoo studio where a fan is ready to eternalise Moominmamma right onto human flesh.
The trip continues to a Japanese Moomin park, where Moomin fandom is taken to the next level. The search continues on an island in Finland, where Tove Jansson painted the very first Moomintroll on the wall of an outside loo. In London, actor Samuel West was instantly hooked when he bought his first Moomin books as a child. You’ll also hear a hard-core Moomin fan whose childhood became a lot brighter thanks to the Moomin stories and others engaged in the worldwide Moomin fan community.
Participants: Jennifer Saunders – host, Samuel West – actor and director – Malin Tjernström, medical secretary – Kim Gustavsson, actor – Robert Hirst, CEO – Rika Kawato, designer – Jakob Höglund, director – Natania Jansz, publisher – Sigrid Meulemans, photographer
EPISODE 2 – Moomin Philosophy
The second episode dives into the true meaning of the so-called Moomin philosophy and tries to figure out what Tove Jansson’s Moomins are all about between the lines. This episode focuses on academics and philosophers who scratch their beards, wring their wrists and furrow their brows daily, studying the deeper aspects of the Moomins.
Already as a child, Boel Westin, professor and Tove Jansson biographer, wanted to be in Moominvalley. Actor Samuel West shares his favourite scene from a Moomin book he calls “trippy and drug-infused” .
Many people around the world have different Moomin characters as role models, despite (or maybe because of) the flaws and quirks that both children and adults can identify with. What about the Moomins appeals to so many on so many levels?
Participants: Jennifer Saunders, host, Sanna Tirkkonen, philosopher, Boel Westin, professor, Samuel West, actor, Björn Sundmark, professor, Malin Tjernström, medical secretary, Natania Jansz, publisher
EPISODE 3 – Inspired by Moomin
What do a theatre director, an author of children’s books, and a philosopher have in common? Well, they might just all be drawing their inspiration from Moominvalley.
In this episode of the Moomin Phenomenon podcast, it’s time to hear people who have been influenced by the Moomins, from London through Helsinki and Tokyo.
The hugely successful author of children’s books Philip Ardagh describes how Tove Jansson and her worldviews have influenced him. Philosopher Sanna Tirkkonen turns it around: her motto is never to become like the nihilistic philosopher of Moominvalley, Muskrat.
And can an entire hospital be inspired by Moomin values and philosophy? Apparently, there is such a place – the children’s hospital in Helsinki, which has incorporated Moomin values in every step of taking care of the patients.
Listeners will also visit a fruit garden full of instruments, a studio where the tunes of Moominvalley emerge.
Participants: Jennifer Saunders, host – Philip Ardagh, writer – Samuel West, actor – Sanna Tirkkonen, philosopher – Rika Kawato, designer – Lauri Porra, musician and composer – Boel Westin, professor – Harriet Wine, jeweller – Jakob Höglund, director – Pekka Lahdenne, doctor – Lena Pyylampi, singer – Björn Sundmark, professor
EPISODE 4 – Made by Moomin
Why is there so much Moomin STUFF in the world? Stuff as in physical items, merchandise, screenprints, paperware – the list goes on and on. Is it simply because it’s an easy way to feel closer to the world of Moomin?
Do you, dear listener, have any Moomin merchandise or collectables in your home? A Moomin mug was sold for 25 thousand pounds on auction – how is that even possible?
The fourth episode of the podcast about the Moomin phenomenon looks into the commercialisation of Moomin. Did you know that Tove Jansson, in fact, drew Moomintroll larger the more famous he became? How does one preserve a commercial brand’s artistic value while maintaining Tove Jansson’s artistry and values?
In this episode, you are invited to a true treasure chamber full of Moomin rarities and Tove Jansson’s illustrations, so buckle up!
Participants: Jennifer Saunders, host – Roleff Kråkström, managing director at Moomin Characters – Maria Andersin, archivist at Moomin Characters – Erja Lehtinen, head of approvals at Moomin Characters – Boel Westin, professor – Harriet Wine, jeweller – Samuel West, actor – Björn Sundmark, professor
EPISODE 5 – Tove Jansson (published March 29, 2023)
In the fifth and final episode of the podcast series about the Moomin phenomenon, it’s finally time to focus on the creator: Tove Jansson.
Even if there have been prolific amounts of extensive academic text about her person, Tove Jansson never wanted to be a particularly public figure.
She was happiest on her little island in the archipelago and in her tucked-away studio in Helsinki during the colder months together with her life partner and love, Tuulikki Pietilä.
Who was Tove Jansson, and what is her legacy? In this grand finale of the podcast series, Tove’s niece Sophia Jansson invites listeners to her aunt’s famous and mythical studio in Helsinki – where so many Moomin stories and famous works of art have seen the light of day.
Participants: Jennifer Saunders, host – Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson and chairperson of the board at Moomin Characters – Emma Klingenberg, actress and singer – Natania Jansz, publisher – Kim Gustavsson, actor – Roleff Kråkström, managing director at Moomin Characters – Mark Ellingham, publisher – Boel Westin, professor – Samuel West, actor – Björn Sundmark, professor
Listen to The Moomin Phenomenon wherever you get your podcasts
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More audio featuring Moomin and Tove Jansson
The Didrichsen Art Museum’s podcast about Tove Jansson as an artist
The Didrichsen Art Museum in Helsinki Finland produced a podcast about Tove Jansson’s art. In the podcast, Tove Jansson’s niece Sophia Jansson guides the listener through the inspirations and influencers behind her art.
Listen to the podcast on any of the following platforms: Spotify, iTunes or Soundcloud.
Audio content on Tove Jansson and the Moomins from BBC
Frank Cottrell Boyce on Tove Jansson
Acclaimed author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce champions Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins. Listen to him on BBC:s web page.
BBC – The Forum: Moomin Creator Tove Jansson
Joining Rajan Datar to discuss the life and works of Tove Jansson are her niece, Sophia Jansson; Boel Westin – a professor of children’s literature from Stockholm University and the author of the authorised biography of Tove’s life called Life, Art, Words; and British children’s author Philip Ardagh, author of The World of Moominvalley.
Plus Mayumi Tomihara – an expert on Tove Jansson from Tokyo’s Sacred Heart University who has translated many of Tove’s adult novels into Japanese.
First broadcast on the BBC World Service in March 2019. Listen to the programme on BBC:s web page.
The Island – Soundscapes and music inspired by Tove Jansson’s summer island by Erland Cooper
A unique audio piece from multi-instrumentalist and composer Erland Cooper, which includes field recordings from Klovharun and a new reading of Jansson’s essay ‘The Island’ by her niece Sophia Jansson. Listen to the audio piece on Spotify.
Tove Jansson audio documentary in Swedish
For our Swedish-speaking audience, we can recommend the audio documentary series Penseln, Pennan och hjärtat. The series dives into the life and work of Tove Jansson in eight enthralling episodes, focusing on specific themes like her family, career, art, love and heritage.
You can listen to the series on The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, or iTunes and read more about it here.