Five MORE Amazing BFG Facts

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Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
4:25pm, 16th April
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The BFG
Sophie and The BFG, from Roald Dahl's The BFG, illustrated by Quentin Blake

We're so excited about Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG we almost can't wait. In the meantime, here are a few facts

With the latest casting news for Steven Spielberg's 2016 adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG revealing Downton Abbey's Penelope Wilton is set to play The Queen alongside Rebecca Hall and a whole host of Giants, we're getting more than a little excited. With Mark Rylance as The Big Friendly Giant himself and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, it's going to be gloriumptious...

In the meantime, we're taking another look back at this much-loved Roald Dahl story in order to let you in on a few little-known facts. We've already revealed that Sophie was once called Jody, that Roald Dahl made up The BFG's language - Gobblefunk - with lists upon lists of words, and that the character of the Giant first appeared in Danny, the Champion of the World. For more on all these facts, take a look here - and see below for even more.

1. It was whilst collaborating on The BFG that Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl met for the first time 


Although they had first worked together on The Enormous Crocodile in 1978, it wasn't until Quentin Blake was suggested as an illustrator for The BFG - one of Roald Dahl's longest books - that the two men met in person. "My belief is that if you collaborate with the book, with the words, then you collaborate with the author," Quentin Blake later told Roald Dahl's biographer Donald Sturrock about what was to become a long and successful partnership for them both.

2. The Big Friendly Giant's footwear is based on one of Roald Dahl's own Norwegian sandals

 

A key moment in this collaboration centred around The BFG's sandals. When Roald Dahl saw an early Quentin Blake illustration, he had very precise thoughts on the nature of The BFG's footwear. Later that week, Quentin received in the post a large, lumpy parcel containing one of Roald's own sandals and a note suggesting he adapt this for The BFG. The sandal is now stored in the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre's Archive.

3. The scene where The BFG whizzpops in front of the Queen nearly didn't make it


Donald Sturrock's biography Storyteller reveals that in an earlier draft of The BFG, the relationship between delumptious frobscottle and naughty whizzpoppers was mentioned only once. When Roald Dahl's then-editor Stephen Roxburgh suggested these elements should be more than just an isolated incident, Roald responded by writing these hilarious scenes. "...I've gone even further and had the BFG doing a whizzpopper for the Queen," he said in a letter to Roxburgh. "Slightly vulgar, perhaps. But you and I know that the children will love it. And this is a book for children."

4. The character of The BFG was partly based on Roald Dahl's builder, Wally Saunders

Wally Saunders was the man who built Roald Dahl's famous Writing Hut, the place he wrote his famous stories. He was also a very tall man with large ears, a bit like The BFG, and is said to have partly inspired Roald Dahl's descriptions of the character.

5. BFG footprints lead the way to Roald Dahl's grave in Great Missenden

 

Roald Dahl died in 1990 and is buried in the church in Great Missenden, the Buckinghamshire village where he lived for much of his adult life. You can find his grave by following The BFG's footprints that lead the way from a little tree in the graveyard up to the site, where hundreds of children have thrown pennies and pencils.

For more on The BFG and the chance to listen to an extract read by Roald Dahl himself, take a look here.