To many, David Baddiel is known for his award-winning work as a comedian and presenter including Newman and Baddiel, Fantasy Football, Baddiel & Skinner Unplanned and his platinum number one single Three Lions. But in recent years, David has also become known as an award-winning author and the brightest new star of children’s books. Since making his debut with The Parent Agency in 2015, his children’s novels have gone on to sell over one million copies.
One such novel is AniMalcolm, a runaway bestseller which tells the story of Malcolm, a boy who doesn’t like animals although his family are wild about them. Now AniMalcolm has been adapted for the stage as a gloriously funny musical from the award-winning Story Pocket Theatre, and after a smash-hit debut at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the production plays Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, as part of a major UK tour.
“AniMalcolm was my third book for children, and I think it’s my funniest,” says David. “Animals are loveable, cute, sweet, friendly, and nice to cuddle, but they are also, always, funny.”
The amount of animal memes now swirling around the internet is testament to how entertaining we find our furry companions, but why exactly do we find them so funny?
David explains: “They are what we in comedy call deadpan, meaning their faces never really change. So, in almost any situation you put an animal in, they always just look like ‘OK, this is happening’. Which if they’re falling off a sofa, or running into a plate glass window, or eating a pair of sunglasses, is definitely the funniest face to make.”
A self-confessed animal-lover, David has always been interested in our curious relationship with our pets.
“I myself have four cats and a guinea pig. I wrote AniMalcolm partly because I’ve never lived without animals, and I’m often struck by how wonderful it is that pets just happily accept living with you in your house, even though they haven’t paid rent, or had an interview to become your lodger.
“But then I wondered what it would be like if you didn’t immediately feel drawn to animals, or find them cute or funny, what a strange thing that would be. So I created Malcolm who just doesn’t get animals, but lives in a house full of them. And the story took off from there.”
Now AniMalcolm has been adapted for the stage by Story Pocket Theatre and is set to tour the UK throughout Spring 2019.
“It has been such a thrill to see AniMalcolm brought to life on stage, and as a musical! Story Pocket have done a wonderful job with this adaptation, and it will be a real treat seeing Malcolm adventuring around the UK with his menagerie of animals in tow.”