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Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected: everything we know about the TV reboot

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The author’s most twisted story collection is making its way back to our screens.

Based on the author’s many and varied short stories, the television series was a testament to Dahl’s sly and sinister wit and even featured the author himself as host. Running from 1979 until 1988, its stars including Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Peter Cushing and Joan Collins lined up to dramatise Dahl’s work. Later, when the setting shifted to American-based stories, the series attracted actors including Jennifer Connelly, Janet Leigh and Heather Locklear.

We can expect a similarly starry cast to put their hands up for the newly-announced reboot of Tales of the Unexpected. Greenlit by The Ink Factory in tandem with the Roald Dahl Story Company, the series will mine Dahl’s original short stories rather than riff on the television series, giving us a brand new Dahl adaptation to fall in love with.

Here is everything we know about the forthcoming reboot of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected

The production team has a major reputation

You might recognise the name The Ink Factory. Run by brothers Stephen and Simon Cornwell, The Ink Factory is the production company behind the binge-worthy and beloved John le Carre miniseries adaptations of The Night Manager and The Little Drummer Girl.

The Cornwell brothers are, in fact, the sons of le Carre himself (his real name is David Cornwell) and as such are in prime position to faithfully adapt their father’s works. Though the production company has worked on several films not based on le Carre’s canon, Tales of the Unexpected will mark their first television adaptation that doesn’t involve their father’s books.

The Ink Factory’s latest project is The Little Drummer Girl starring Alexander Skarsgard and Florence Pugh

Sure, le Carre’s globe-trotting world of spies and espionage doesn’t appear to have much crossover with Dahl’s horror-adjacent stories. 

But think about the atmosphere of The Little Drummer Girl or even The Night Manager: seamy and slippery, full of twists and turns and unpredictable people. Both le Carre and Dahl share the belief that, sometimes, the creepiest thing in the whole world is how fundamentally unknowable human nature is. 

There are two fantastic female writers involved

According to Deadline, The Ink Factory have drafted in a fantastic team of writers including two women.

First is Claire Wilson, one of the writers on The Ink Factor’s The Little Drummer Girl. She is the woman responsible for the conflicting feelings we’re all having right now about Alexander Skarsgard and his terrifying – and terrifyingly attractive – performance as a secret agent on the show. Wilson has been named one of Screen Daily’s Stars of Tomorrow and her next project is the script for director Sarah Gavron’s follow up to Suffragette, a film called Girl Untitled currently in production.

Roald Dahl

The producers have also called on Ella Hickson, a playwright based in London, and comedian Tom Basden of Plebs and Gap Year fame, to pen episodes.

When can we watch it?

The writers are only beginning their work now, which means that the series is still a little way off. There’s also no broadcast partner announced, but considering the pedigree of the work and the team behind-the-scenes, it’s only a matter of time before someone snaps this up. Watch this space for more details as they are announced. 

Images: Getty

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