Behind the scenes on Esio Trot

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Roald Dahl HQ
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9:00pm, 30th December
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Esio Trot

Roald Dahl's Esio Trot comes to BBC One on New Year's Day. Join us behind-the-scenes with Judi Dench, Dustin Hoffman, and the creative team

At 6.30pm on 1 January 2015, Roald Dahl's Esio Trot makes its TV debut on BBC One.

Endor Productions adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1990 story - about two neighbours and a little tortoise called Alfie - features Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy, Judi Dench as his not-so-secret love Mrs Silver, with a script from Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. James Corden narrates, and the film is directed by Dearbhla Walsh and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones.

These shots show the cast and creative team during filming. 

On Judi and Dustin

Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman had long wanted to work together, and playing Mrs Silver and Mr Hoppy was dream casting.

I watched you fall in love.

- Director Dearbhla Walsh on watching Dustin and Judi playing the roles

She'll dance your socks off, this one.

- Dustin on Judi

Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench with producer Hilary Bevan Jones, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench with producer Hilary Bevan Jones, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench with Richard Cordery, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions

On the story

Richard Curtis drew on his own parents as inspiration when adapting Esio Trot. It spoke to the "optimistic spirit" of his mother, while his father was shyer, like Mr Hoppy - as well as being a lover of Louis Armstrong.

Being lonely when you're older makes the stakes feel higher somehow.

- Richard Curtis

Age is a number that’s imposed on you… it’s about the engine. And I think it's fun to break the rules at any time.

- Judi Dench

Richard Curtis, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Richard Curtis, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman with writer Richard Curtis and director Dearbhla Walsh, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions

On loneliness

As Roald Dahl tells us in the original story, Mr Hoppy is a lonely man. And it's this loneliness that's at the heart of Esio Trot.

It's by hook or by crook, a freak accident, to be successful in this business. For this story, it's - can you see yourself living alone? And I could.

- Dustin Hoffman on playing Mr Hoppy

Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions
  • Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy, behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions

On James Corden

Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer added a couple of new characters to Roald Dahl's original tale. One of them was James Corden, who narrates the story.

It gave us the opportunity to do a sort of tale of the unexpected, like Roald Dahl.

- Paul Mayhew-Archer on James Corden's character

James Corden and Richard Curtis behind the scenes on Roald Dahl's Esio Trot, to be screened on BBC One Christmas 2014. Photo: Nick Briggs © 2014 Endor Productions

Don't know so much about Esio Trot? Read our top fascinating facts.

Watch the trailer for Roald Dahl's Esio Trot here

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