An all-star cast Julia McKenzie, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Miranda Hart are set to bring David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel Gangsta Granny to life in a special 60-minute adaptation for BBC One this holiday season. Following the enormously successful 2012 adaptation of Mr. Stink, an earlier Walliams children’s book, Gangsta Granny reunites the BAFTA-nominated team behind the 2012 special which was co-written by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley (Gnomeo & Juliet, Robbie The Reindeer, Black Books) with Walliams. The comedy drama tells the story of schoolboy Ben (Reece Buttery), who is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at the house of his grandma, played by Julia McKenzie (Agatha Christie’s Marple, Cranford); all she ever wants to do is stay in, play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup.
One day, when Ben’s grandma tells him a story that she was once an international jewel thief, and together they go on a wild adventure to complete the one heist she never quite managed in her criminal heyday, which brings them face-to-face with Her Majesty The Queen, played by Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous, Jam & Jerusalem, Sensitive Skin).
David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School, Britain’s Got Talent) and Miranda Hart (Call The Midwife, Miranda) appear as Ben’s Strictly Come Dancing-obsessed parents, Mike & Linda. Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey, The Trip) plays Mr Parker – a nosy neighbour who could scupper Ben and his grandma’s plot; and Jocelyn Jee Esien (3 Non Blondes, Little Miss Jocelyn) appears as Kelly, the pushy mother of Florence (India Ria Amarteifio) with whom Ben has to dance in a local ballroom competition.
Mr. Stink, which starred Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith and has, for me personally, put themselves in a must-see holiday viewing situation alongside the perennial favorites of Charlie Brown’s Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life. With BBC One holiday audiences set to sit down to Gangsta Granny this Christmas, U.S. audiences will get their first chance to see Mr. Stink beginning Sunday, December 22 on PBS. Filming has begun on Gangsta Granny with a targeted transmission for 25 December of this year.