The Night Digger

Released in 1971


The Night Digger was a film adaptation by Roald Dahl of Joy Cowley's 1967 novel Nest in a Fallen Tree.



Maura Prince's life takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of young handyman Billy Jarvis - but Billy has some dark secrets...

The Night Digger was a film adaptation Joy Cowley's 1967 novel Nest in a Fallen Tree. Roald Dahl acquired the rights to the novel with the idea of adapting it into a film as a vehicle for his wife, the actress Patricia Neal, known to her family as Pat. 

At the time of filming, Pat had only recently recovered from a stroke that she suffered whilst three months pregnant with daughter Lucy. Roald wrote this into the screenplay, making the character of Maura - as played by Pat - a recovering stroke victim.

The film was directed by Alastair Reid. The production was troubled both for Pat and Roald, with the script undergoing many further changes. It was released in 1971 in the US to mediocre reviews. In the UK the film was released as The Road Builder.

Find out more about the period in Roald Dahl's life when he worked on The Night Digger

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