DJ Greg James among stars to write new stories based on Roald Dahl characters

Radio 1 breakfast show host Greg James and his collaborator Chris Smith have been chosen to write new stories based on the characters created by Roald Dahl.

James and Smith, who have both written the Kid Normal children’s book series, will release The Twits Next Door, inspired by the unpleasant married couple Mr and Mrs Twit, later this year.

Based on the 1980 Dahl novel The Twits, it will be illustrated by Emily Jones and explore what happens when a new family called the Lovelies moves in next door with their 10-year-old twins and the confrontation that ensues between the neighbours.

In 2021, Netflix bought the rights to Dahl’s children’s book catalogue and has since released the short movie The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and is set to bring out the animated film The Twits.

Since then, the Roald Dahl Story Company and Puffin Books have reviewed Dahl’s beloved children’s books and have rewritten them to cater to the sensitivities of modern audiences.

Following the controversy, the owners said the author’s classic original texts would remain in print.

James and Smith said: “We have spent many years visiting schools around the world with our children’s books, and we were never far from a child whose head was buried in a Roald Dahl book.

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Adam Hills will write a new story about The Enormous Crocodile (Victoria Jones/PA)

“It’s magical to see a writer we both loved growing up still able to encourage new generations of young people to pick up a book and have a great time. To be offered the opportunity to write a story starring the most revolting and hilarious pair of his famous characters was exciting, a little bit frightening and certainly too good to resist.”

Following the release of The Twits Next Door in August 2024, a collection of short stories will be released that will feature some of Dahl’s iconic characters.

Charlie And The Christmas Factory will explore the characters from the 1964 novel Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and explore Charlie Bucket’s plans to celebrate Christmas at the chocolate factory.

Other stories will see genius schoolgirl Matilda concerned about being on Santa’s naughty list and George, the main character from George’s Marvellous Medicine, find out about his granddaughter Gig’s potion.

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Konnie Huq will adapt a version of Danny, The Champion of the World (Ian West/PA)

They will be illustrated by Rikin Parekh, who has drawn for Joanna Nadin’s The Worst Class In the World series.

The Last Leg host and comedian Adam Hills will contribute by sharing a new story of The Enormous Crocodile, while This Is Going To Hurt writer Adam Kay is taking a look at George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq is inspired by Danny, The Champion Of The World and Benidorm actor Nathan Bryon will take a look at The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me.

James And The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Witches and The Magic Finger are also among the books being adapted.

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This Is Going To Hurt writer Adam Kay will tackle George’s Magical Medicine as part of the project (Suzan Moore/PA)

Illustrator Parekh said: “No combination is as magical as that of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

“To collaborate with some of today’s best storytellers, to bring our own interpretations to some of the most iconic worlds and characters in the history of children’s books, has been an absolute privilege and a lot of fun.”

ARTS Books/Dahl
Roald Dahl, who died in 1990, has often topped the charts of the country’s most loved children’s author, despite some controversy surrounding him (PA)

Illustrator Sir Quentin had a lengthy collaboration with Dahl, who died in November 1990 aged 74, beginning with the 1978 story The Enormous Crocodile. Their collaboration included iconic drawings for Matilda, The BFG and The Twits.

Artist Adam Larkum will also provide illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood – the first in a series of picture book versions of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

Ruth Knowles, publishing director at Puffin said: “Greg and Chris, Emily, Rikin and the Christmas team of authors have created completely unique, brilliant, hilarious stories that lifelong fans and readers new to Roald Dahl will love.

“As well as being wonderfully accessible middle-grade new books, they also perfectly celebrate the original characters and worlds they’re based on and so, alongside Dahl’s classic texts, offer even more choice for readers as to how they experience Roald Dahl.”