Boy's Book of Adventure
It sold 1.5 million copies and has been widely credited with introducing a generation of young couch potatoes to the joys of conkers, outdoor games and tree houses, complete with bumped heads and scraped knees. Now The Dangerous Book for Boys is to make its debut on large and small screens.
A new "factual" series based on the book, featuring celebrity fathers and their sons, is to appear on TV screens later this year.
The six-part weekly series being made for Channel 5 will feature celebrity fathers and their sons on adventurous expeditions, experiencing Boy's Own-style adventures. The book will also be adapted for the big screen after Disney bought the film rights.
The Disney film will be the latest of a series of classic children's books being adapted by top Hollywood directors for the big screen. Among those currently filming or scheduled to shoot soon are award-winning director Spike Jonze's version of author Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are.
One of the celebrities lined up to take part in the TV adaptation of The Dangerous Book for Boys is comedian Vic Reeves and his son Louis. According to the producers, the programme, which is currently being filmed in the UK for Channel 5, will show the sons following in the footsteps of their fathers' childhood heroes such as the Dambusters, Captain Scott, Nelson and the Black Knight. Quite what the celebrity fathers and their sons will be expected to do is currently being kept secret.
Malcolm Clark, executive producer for the TV company Mentorn that is putting the show together, said: "We've got the chance to explore the relationship between fathers and sons – one of those touchstone contemporary subjects – but in a really fun, warm-hearted way." The pilot will be transmitted later this year.
The Dangerous Book for Boys, written by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden, was written to drag the PlayStation generation off their parents' sofas and encourage boys to rediscover the pastimes enjoyed by previous generations.
Covering around 80 topics, including tips on how to build a tree house, build and race your own go-kart and identify Shakespeare's best quotations, the book reached No 1 in the UK non-fiction charts several times.
Conn Iggulden, said: "I'm delighted to see fathers and sons celebrated on TV. I haven't had so much fun with an idea since I blew my eyebrows off making fireworks." But it's not just the small screen the book has been adapted for. It will also make its debut on the silver one after Disney and US producer Scott Rudin teamed up to buy the film rights to the book after a bidding war.
Celebrated horror director Sam Raimi is directing Terry Pratchett's book The Wee Free Men, while Wes Anderson and Oscar-nominated Guillermo Del Toro are directing film versions of Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.
It is yet to be revealed, however, how Disney will adapt for successful interpretation on the big screen the Igguldens' book, with its "how-to" manual style and absence of a traditional narrative structure.
Fans of the book also question how faithfully Disney will keep to the ethos of the book. It was extensively rewritten for the American market when it made its US debut. The authors replaced such British childhood staples as conkers with the US game of stickball. They also traded the section listing the kings and queens of England and Scotland with the "most valuable players" in baseball.
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