BBC One has given the green-light to Billionaire Boy, a one-off hour-long adaptation of the David Walliams kids novel of the same name, which is set to air this Christmas and has John Thomson and Elliot Sprakes (pictured, right) attached to star.
Billionaire Boy tells the story of Len, who makes a billion from inventing a new toilet roll, and his 12-year-old son Joe who appears to have everything he could want, but what he really needs is a friend. The novel was initially published in 2010, scoring numerous accolades and quickly becoming a best-seller.
John Thomson and Elliot Sprakes have landed the lead roles as Len and Joe, respectively. Thomson’s numerous TV credits include Coldfeet, Kingdom and The Fast Show; while young actor Elliot Sprakes, repped by Cieka Bailey Associates, is a relative newcomer, with his only previous television credit being the CBBC series Scraps.
Rounding out the cast is James Fleet as Joe’s Headteacher, Rebecca Front as Joe’s opera-loving teacher, and Warwick Davis, who plays a fictionalised version of himself in the role of Len and Joe’s celebrity butler. David Walliams is also set to star in the adaptation as Mrs Trafe, a “dirty, old” dinner lady at Joe’s school who is dreadful at cooking.
The adaptation was penned by David Walliams and Kevin Cecil and is being produced by King Bert Productions, with Jo Sargent, and Gregor Sharp serving as the executive producers. Joanna Hanley is the producer, while Matt Lipsey is attached to direct. It was commissioned Shane Allen, the BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning, and Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One.
This is the fourth David Walliams novel that the BBC has adapted in recent years. BBC One previously commissioned and aired adaptations of Gangsta Granny, Mr Stink and The Boy In The Dress as part their Christmas schedules over the past three years – with all three going on to be huge ratings hits,
“David Walliams’ books are a magical combination of memorable characters and brilliantly colourful story so we couldn’t happier to be bringing Billionaire Boy to BBC One this Christmas”, said executive producer Gregor Sharp. “The terrific script David has written with Kevin Cecil, together with this amazing cast, promises to make this one of the highlights of the festive schedule.”