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David Walliams' Billionaire Boy comes to Newbury Racecourse Car Park Party

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Interview with the best-selling author

Actor Matthew Gordon (Joe Spud) with author David Walliams Credit: Mark Douet
Actor Matthew Gordon (Joe Spud) with author David Walliams Credit: Mark Douet

David Walliams talks to us ahead of the Covid-safe Car Park Party adaptation of his Billionaire Boy, at Newbury Racecourse on Monday, April 12

What is it like seeing your books come to life?

It’s the most brilliant thing, seeing a book that you’ve written come to life either on television or on stage. You feel like a magician because what was in your head is somehow now all real, right in front of you, so it is a very very exciting thing.

If we gave you one billion pounds to spend however you liked and you had to spend it today, what would you spend it on?

There’s one thing that Joe Spud, who is the billionaire boy, has in the book which is a water slide going down from his bedroom to a swimming pool. He just gets out of bed and goes straight down a water slide. That is something I don’t have and it really pains me. So if I had a billion pounds to spend today I’d get that water slide because water slides are so much fun. I love them!

Apart from Joe Spud who is your favourite character in Billionaire Boy?

My favourite character in the story of Billionaire Boy is Mrs Trafe, the dinner lady and I actually played her in the TV adaption. Basically in the story she asks Joe for money and she says she needs for a hip operation but spends it on plastic surgery. So it was a lot of fun creating her horrible school dinners and also a lot of fun giving her the surgery in the book and seeing what she does with the money. It highlights the fact that Joe’s in a pretty difficult predicament because everyone is asking him for money and they all have good reasons why they need it. But at the same time money is quite a corrupting thing and it makes people do bad things and lie to him. So Mrs Trafe is really a side character but she does something pretty important in the story

If BUM FRESH was real as a toilet paper, would it be your favourite brand to use on the toilet?

The reason Joe is a billionaire is because his father, Len Spud, who was just a humble man who worked in a factory, came up with this brilliant idea of a creating a special toilet roll which is moist on one side and dry on the other. I think this is a fantastic invention and I cannot believe someone hasn’t come to me and given me a billion pounds for the idea because if it was produced I think it would really catch on. But I liked it being something like this which they made their money from because actually when you sometimes meet people who have lots and lots of money you find it’s really bizarre things that they do. I met someone who was really rich and it was because their father provides toilet roles to lots of pubs in the north of England and I thought, I could do that, but I didn’t have the idea, did I.

Tell us more about the producers of the show

The Birmingham Stage Company had already done two incredible adaptations of my books, Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, both of which went round the country quite a few times, came into London, got great reviews, audiences loved the shows and came back and back and back and so I was really excited that a third book of mine was back in their hands. It’s so much fun because in a way this is the most comic book. It’s a story with an emphasis on jokes and silly situations and obviously the whole thing is quite surreal with someone having so much money. So I’m really delighted with the production.

With the original theatre production of Billionaire Boy having to be cut short due to the pandemic, how does it feel to see Birmingham Stage Company reimagine the show for Drive-In Theatre?

It’s brilliant! It’s very imaginative. I think people are craving some entertainment and especially live entertainment because although the TV has still been on, but you haven’t been able to be part of an audience. So, I think it’s great. It’s a great and safe way to enjoy a show and anyone with kids, at home all day, homeschooling, you know, you really want something you can take your children to do or see, or something you know. Hopefully this will really entertain families.

Tickets & T&Cs are available at carparkparty.com

Monday 12th April Newbury Newbury Racecourse (11am, 2pm & 5pm)

David Walliams has become one of today’s most influential writers. Since the publication of his first novel, The Boy in the Dress (2008), illustrated by the iconic Sir Quentin Blake, David Walliams has celebrated more than 10 years of writing success with global sales exceeding 40 million copies, and his books have been translated into 53 languages. David’s titles have spent 190 weeks (non-consecutive) at the top of the children’s charts – more than any other children’s author ever.

Neal Foster is the adapter and director of Billionaire Boy. He is the actor/manager of The Birmingham Stage Company which since its foundation in 1992 has become one of the world’s leading producers of theatre for children and their families, including Horrible Histories Live on Stage for 16 years in the UK, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. Billionaire Boy is his third David Walliams stage show after Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie.

All the current Covid-19 social distancing guidelines will be adhered to ensure everybody has an enjoyable and very safe experience: Car Park Party is an organised gathering whereby it will be known in advance those who is attending, enabling contact with attendees before, during and after the event. A traffic management team will be on site and all vehicles will be parked two metres apart.

Tickets will be scanned through the windows, so no human contact necessary.

There will be a range of food and beverage offering available at the event and all the COVID-19 government guidelines will be followed. Toilet facilities will be provided with social distancing health and safety management and sanitisation measures in place.

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