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David Walliams joins Tom Courtenay on BBC1 this Christmas

David Walliams
(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

David Walliams will bring his best-selling children’s book, Grandpa’s Great Escape, to BBC1 this Christmas

David Walliams will bring his best-selling children’s book, Grandpa’s Great Escape, to BBC1 this Christmas.

Doctor Zhivago actor Tom Courtenay and comedy legend Jennifer Saunders will star in the adaptation, which tells the tale of Grandpa (Tom), a World War Two flying ace, who now sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Grandpa is moved to to an old people’s home called Twilight Towers, run by Miss Dandy (Jennifer). However, it soon becomes clear that she is running Twilight Towers for her own suspicious motives and it's up to Grandpa and his grandson Jack to make a daring escape, which would give him one last chance to take to the skies in his beloved Spitfire.

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

The cast also features Babs actress Samantha Spiro as Jack’s mum Patricia.

Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning said: “This heart-warming story about the close relationship between a boy and his grandfather continues the rich tradition of BBC1 family pieces at Christmas by connecting young and older viewers together."

This will be the fifth adaptation of one David’s books at Christmas, following Mr Stink (2012), Gangsta Granny (2013), The Boy in The Dress (2014) and Billionaire Boy (2015).

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!