Five amazing facts about The BFG

Posted by
Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
1:00pm, 29th April
The BFG blows a dream through a child's bedroom window. From Roald Dahl's The BFG, illustrated by Quentin Blake

With a new film adaptation of The BFG set for release in 2016, here are a few things you may not know about Roald Dahl's much-loved story

The BFG, Roald Dahl's much-loved story about the dream-catching Big Friendly Giant and young orphan Sophie, was first published in 1982. More than 30 years and one animated TV film later the story is now set for the big screen, with a new adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg set for release in 2016.

That much you already know... but were you aware of these other fascinating facts?

1. The BFG began life as a scribble in an exercise book

Throughout his life, Roald Dahl kept what he called his 'Ideas Books' - old school exercise books he used to write down any inspiration for a story that came to him. This is how The BFG began - as a note in one of Roald's books, scrawled in pencil, revisited years later and published when Roald was 66. The Ideas Books books are now stored in the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre archive.

2. The Big Friendly Giant made his first appearance in Danny, the Champion of the World


The character of The Big Friendly Giant first appeared in Roald's 1975 story Danny, the Champion of the World. He was a character in a bedtime story Danny's father told him "which must have gone on for at least fifty nights," and many of the details about the character are the same, from his ability to mix dreams to his incredible hearing.

3. 'Sophie' was originally 'Jody'

In early drafts of the story, the child snatched by the BFG from an orphanage bedroom was not Sophie, but a little boy named Jody. Jody soon transformed into Sophie - named after Roald's first grandchild - the resourceful and brave girl who helps the BFG outwit those other horrible giants.

4. The BFG speaks his own language, and it has a name

As The BFG says to Sophie, "Words... is oh such a twitch-ticking problem to me all my life." His idiosyncratic way of talking - with its tangled-up sentences and newly-crafted phrases - led Roald to draft long lists of words for him to speak. This formed the basis of 'gobblefunk,' which is what we call the BFG's language, and these lists are also kept in the Roald Dahl Museum archive.

5. The BFG was Roald's own favourite - and he even pretended to be the Big Friendly Giant

Roald once said that of all his stories, The BFG was particularly close to his heart. It's certainly something that stayed with him throughout his lifetime - even before Danny's father introduced us to him, Roald was telling the story of the dream-catching giant to his own children and, later, his grandchildren. He would climb a ladder outside their bedrooms and pretend to blow good dreams in through the window - just like the BFG.

You can listen to Roald reading from The BFG here.