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-1970

Publication of Fantastic Mr Fox

Roald Dahl's latest children's book, Fantastic Mr Fox is published by George Allen and Unwin. The story marks a return to children's fiction for Roald after a five-year break.

Partially inspired by the countryside around his Buckinghamshire home and by stories he told his own children, Roald had begun work on Fantastic Mr Fox in 1968. The story was orginally titled just Mr Fox and, as Roald's biographer Donald Sturrock tells us in Storyteller, it is one of his most autobiographical children's stories.

 

 

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-1971

Release of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The first feature film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 1971. 

Featuring a screenplay written by Roald Dahl, and with Gene Wilder playing Mr Wonka, the film would go on to become a cult classic, although the process of its creation was fraught - as Roald's biographer Donald Sturrock says in Storyteller, among other things Roald "regretted that the producers had chosen neither Spike Milligan nor Peter Sellers to play the role [of Willy Wonka]."

1971 also saw the American release of The Night Digger, a film starring Roald's wife Patricia Neal and with a screenplay by Roald himself. In the UK, it was known as The Road Builder.

 

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-1972 - 1973

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is published

In 1972, one year after the first film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Roald's continuation of the story is published in the USA by Alfred A. Knopf.

One year later, in 1973, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - which follows the tale of Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket from the Chocolate Factory to the furthest reaches of outer space - is released in the UK.

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-1974

Publication of short story collection Switch Bitch

In 1974 Roald Dahl's fourth adult short story collection Switch Bitch, which introduces the character of Uncle Oswald, is published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Uncle Oswald - or Oswald Hendryks Cornelius to give him his full name - is one of Roald's best-known adult characters. He is a hedonistic man, whose scandalous exploits Roald went on to write about in more detail in his last full-length comic novel for adults, called simply My Uncle Oswald.

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-1975

Publication of Danny, the Champion of the World

In 1975 Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World - like Fantastic Mr Fox, another story partially inspired by the Buckinghamshire countryside in which he lived - is published by Jonathan Cape. 

The book features characters Roald had previously written about in some of his short stories, notably The Champion of the World from the adult short story collection Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.

It also features a character that would go on to star in his own story: The BFG.

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-1977

Publication of Henry Sugar; birth of Roald's first grandchild

In 1977, Roald Dahl's short story collection for teenagers and older children, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, is published by Jonathan Cape.

The collection features two factual pieces of writing - The Mildenhall Treasure, an account Roald had written in the 1940s about the discovery of Roman treasure in Suffolk - and Lucky Break, Roald's account of how he became a writer. It also features his first factual piece of writing, A Piece of Cake, which was based on Roald's experiences flying in the desert during the Second World War.

Roald's first grandaughter, Sophie Dahl, is born. Sophie is the first child of Roald's daughter Tessa. Roald would later name the heroine in The BFG after her.

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-1978

Publication of The Enormous Crocodile; partnership with Quentin Blake

In 1978 Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile, aimed at slightly younger readers, is published by Jonathan Cape. 

The Enormous Crocodile marks the beginning of Roald’s legendary partnership with his principal illustrator Quentin Blake. It is the first of Roald's stories to be illustrated by Quentin, although following Quentin went on to work on many of Roald's earlier as well as his later stories.

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-1979

Publication of My Uncle Oswald; broadcast of Tales of the Unexpected

In 1979, Roald Dahl's longer comic novel for adults, My Uncle Oswald, is published. Featuring a character introduced by Roald in some of his earlier short stories, Oswald Hendryks Cornelius, the book tells the story of Oswald's exploits in the early years of the 20th century.

Also in 1979, Tales of the Unexpected, a British TV series based on Roald’s short stories, airs for the first time. As with the earlier American series 'Way Out, initially each episode began with an introduction from Roald and featured a dramatic adaptation of a short story. The first series focused on his own stories, including Man from the SouthLamb to the SlaughterThe Landlady and Skin

Tales of the Unexpected ran for several series between 1979 and 1988. After series one, the format was broadened to include short stories from other writers. Roald provided commentary for all episodes in series one to two, but in later series his introductions became a less regular feature of the show.

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