Thursday 19 September 2019

Sir Lenny Henry to star in radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys

The writer announced the special programme via Twitter.

Pride of Britain Awards 2017 – London
Pride of Britain Awards 2017 – London

By Francesca Gosling, Press Association

Author Neil Gaiman has announced the “exciting” news that his fantasy novel Anansi Boys is to be adapted in a radio production starring Sir Lenny Henry, Jacob Anderson and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.

The former Doctor Who writer described the cast as “amazing” as he shared the news in a series of teasing tweets.

Sir Lenny will play the central character of Anansi/Mr Nancy, based on the tricky arachnid first introduced in Gaiman’s book American Gods.

Meanwhile, Game of Thrones star Anderson and Misfits star Stewart-Jarrett will portray his sons Charlie and Spider.

Gaiman tweeted on Wednesday night: “It’s Good News for anybody who likes ANANSI BOYS…” shortly followed by: “LOOK! THIS IS EXCITING! @BBCRadio4’s adaptation of ANANSI BOYS!”

As Gaiman lauded his leading man as “glorious”, Sir Lenny tweeted: “Amazing cast for this; so many big people in the room. Massive respect to all. Big fun to play Anansi himself..”

Sir Lenny told BBC Radio 4 – which will air the programme as part of its festive line-up – that the story was a “big old shaggy dog of a novel”, that followed a conversation he had with the creator some years ago.

He said: “(I said to Neil) You never see black people in horror stories. Maybe it’s because we would be too common-sensical. The story would be over in two seconds.

“We basically laughed about that and then Neil went away and came back with the Anansi Boys, which is predicated on Anansi being the king of story tellers, and a spider in human form who just happens to have two sons.

“The story just spins out into this fable about assuming the mantle of godhood, standing up for yourself.

“Neil does what he always does – you start off thinking it’s going to be a horror story, but then it turns into this fantastical, mythical mash-up of comedy and some horrific bits but lots of funny stuff and tender stuff too. I’m proud to be associated.”

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