Jennifer Saunders and Tom Courtenay to star David Walliams’ book adaptation


Jennifer Saunders and Tom Courtenay are set to star in a TV adaptation of David Walliams’ book Grandpa’s Great Escape.

BBC executives have previously adapted four of the comedian’s children’s novels, including Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny, The Boy In The Dress and Billionaire Boy, for Christmas specials, and they are continuing the trend by bringing his 2015 book to the silver screen over the festive period once again.

Jennifer, who appeared in The Boy In The Dress, is teaming up with the Britain’s Got Talent judge for another outing, and will play Miss Dandy, the mean boss of Twilight Towers retirement home.

Tom will play the titular Grandpa, who is relocated to the home as his family can no longer look after him because of his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. While there, he learns that Miss Dandy has an ulterior motive and gets his grandson Jack to help him make an escape.

“I am thrilled to be working with acting and comedy royalty on this adaptation of my book,” David said in a statement. “I have loved Tom Courtenay forever and I still can’t believe that I am working with him. He is the perfect Grandpa. And what a treat to be working with comedy genius Jennifer Saunders again.”

David will also make an appearance as Jack’s dad. Jack will be played by Kit Connor, who has acted in Get Santa, War & Peace and Ready Player One, while Jack’s mum Patricia will be played by Game of Thrones star Samantha Spiro.

“This heart-warming story about the close relationship between a boy and his grandfather continues the rich tradition of BBC One family pieces at Christmas by connecting young and older viewers together,” said Shane Allen, BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning.

This will be a busy Christmas for Jennifer, who recently confirmed she would be reuniting with her comedy partner Dawn French for a 30th anniversary special which is expected to air on Christmas Day (25Dec17).