Comedian Vic Reeves and artist Giles Andreae bring to life Zen Dog, the Cloud of Loveliness and the Elephant of Joy for Samaritans’ Brew Monday

A unique collaboration between Shooting Stars legend Vic Reeves and Edward Monkton creator Giles Andreae is adding humour and kindness to Samaritans’ campaign to get us all talking when times are tough.

The charity has produced a series of seven short animations, narrated by Reeves and featuring some of Andreae’s best loved characters by his alter ego Edward Monkton, to add a little light to January, often a bleak month, with its cold, dark days, failed resolutions and no shortage of credit card bills.

The animations are being released on social media as Samaritans declares Monday 16 January, Brew Monday, rather than ‘Blue Monday’, sometimes called ‘the most depressing day of the year’.

The 20-second videos will bring us all a little cheer and the Brew Monday campaign will encourage friends, colleagues, neighbours and family members to share what’s on their mind over a simple cuppa. Life is tough and letting people open up about difficult thoughts and feelings can save lives.

A big fan of a timely brew, Vic Reeves (real name Jim Moir) is leading by example and combining his surreal sense of humour with Giles’ Andreae’s work, which encourages us all to see things differently.

Giles Andreae, who has written publicly about his experience of depression said: "If depression has taught me one thing, it is this: what a rare and beautiful treasure is the simple human gift of joy. For me now, joy - our capacity to delight in one another and in the world - is the reason why we are here. It is as simple as that. And I feel compelled to spread the word."

Samaritans Head of Media Lynsey Pollard said: ‘People struggling alone with difficult thoughts often tell us they wish someone would notice what they are going through but they don’t know how to explain or reach out for support. ‘Let us be kind’ as Edward Monkton puts it in one of these beautiful animations and make Brew Monday a day when we all have that little bit of extra courage, to talk and to take time to listen to people we care about. It really could save a life.”

Celebrities from across the worlds of entertainment and sport are backing Brew Monday, with Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field, fellow Loose Women Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams, Janet Street Porter and ITV’s Lorraine all sharing their tips on getting though any January blues. Welsh International rugby union referee Nigel Owens MBE is also supporting the UK-wide brew.

On Brew Monday (16 January) Eastenders actor Danny-Boy Hatchard, whose character Lee Carter has struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression, will be teaming up with Sky Soccer AM’s John Fendley (aka Fenners) at a surprise location to give out specially branded Samaritans tea bags, produced with support from Network Rail, to unsuspecting commuters on their way to work. More special Brew Monday treats are in store from award-winning musical comedian Rachel Parris, YouTuber, mental health campaigner and astronaut-in-training Hussain Manawer as well as actor, writer and poet Tim Key.

Anyone can get on board with Brew Monday by making a date to have a cuppa with someone they know. Find out more at www.samaritans.org/brewmonday, follow #BrewMonday on Twitter, or Samaritans on Facebook.

Make Brew Monday really count. Your money or your time could save a life. Find out how to volunteer or support Samaritans with a donation.

For more information, images and interviews, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300 or 07943 809 162. You can also follow the Brew Monday campaign on Twitter @samaritans #BrewMonday

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Notes to editors:

  • Anyone can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123. This number is FREE to call and won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch./li>
  • Samaritans responds to more than 5.4 million calls for help every year, offering emotional support by phone, email, text and face to face in its 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. For more information, please see samaritans.org * Just £4.26 helps us answer one Samaritans call. Go to www.samaritans.org/donate to help us be there for even more people that need us./li>
  • Samaritans works with Network Rail and the wider rail industry to prevent deaths on the railways and support those affected by them. Find out more at: http://www.samaritans.org/for-business/rail-industry-suicide-prevention-...