When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself.
"When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself." - Danny, the Champion of the World
Danny is the title character in Roald Dahl's 1975 book, Danny, the Champion of the World. He's also the narrator of the story, which follows the adventures and incidents of his young life living in a gipsy caravan next to the filling station where his beloved father works.
Outside of school (where he has to deal with the terrifying Captain Lancaster and "the dreaded cane"), Danny has a happy life. He helps his Dad in the filling station, listens to his amazing bedtime stories at night (including tales of The Big Friendly Giant) and even offers a valuable helping hand with his father's poaching exploits, coming up with the idea that eventually costs Victor Hazell a few hundred pheasants.
So he's resourceful - and brave, too. Not only does he dream up this great pheasant-catching idea, he also helps his Dad carry it out. And, when his father is caught in one of Victor Hazell's traps for poachers, Danny is quick to notice his absence and shoots off to the rescue in a Baby Austin (don't try that at home...)
Of all his stories, Danny, the Champion of the World is one of Roald Dahl's most autobiographical and is said to have been one of his favourites. The scenes where Danny is at school are echoed in Boy, Roald's later memoir about his own schooldays, and the area where Danny and his father live is based on Great Missenden, where Roald lived with his own family.
In 1989, a film adaptation of the story was released starring Samuel Irons as Danny. His father, Jeremy Irons, played Danny's Dad William.
My father, without the slightest doubt, was the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had.
Danny, the Champion of the World