BBC Olympics Journey to the East

BBC has recruited The Gorillaz’ Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn to update characters from the British cult TV fave “Monkey” for a promotional TV advert, Journey to the East. Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy work together to journey safely through the fantastic lands of China, finally arriving at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.

Monkey birth

The characters are based on Monkey, the English language show based on the Japanese series Saiyūki, filmed in China and broadcast in 1979 to 1980. The opening scene shows Monkey bursting out of an egg on a mountain top – a reference to his birth – the punkiest monkey that ever popped. Monkey is joined by the greedy Pigsy and Sandy the Water Monster.

The Monkey/Saiyūki series was based on the Chinese novel Hsiyu-chi (Journey to the West).

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Journey to the East was developed at RKCR/Y&R/Red Bee Media by creative director Damon Collins, creatives Paul Angus and Ted Heath, and producers Deborah Stewart, Cara Speller, Syleste Molyneaux.

Animation was directed by Gorillaz Jamie Hewlett with animation directors Pete Candeland and Rob Valley at Passion Pictures and producers Emma Phillips, Cara Speller and Deborah Stewart.

Music was composed and produced by Gorillaz Damon Albarn. Lead vocals were performed by Jia Ruhan accompanied by the Tianyuan Choir of Beijing. Musical was directed by David Coulter and Mike Smith.

Sound was designed and mixed at 750mph, by senior engineer/director Andy Humphreys, mixer Jason Cox and Steve Sedgewick.