Flying Frank takes off

Author Frank Cottrell Boyce who is writing a new series of books featuring the flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Author Frank Cottrell Boyce who is writing a new series of books featuring the flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
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ST Helens author Frank Cottrell Boyce has been asked to pen a new series of children’s books featuring the famous magical flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The first book of three will be published in November but the Rainhill writer admitted he had “no idea” why the family of the original author, James Bond creator Ian Fleming, asked him to do it.

The new series is aimed at bringing the 1960s tale into the modern world - telling the story of a family who get more than they bargained for after they soup up their VW camper van with an old racing car engine.

Cottrell Boyce, 51, said: “I have no idea what made the Flemings think of asking me to write the sequel. I haven’t asked them in case it’s all a case of mistaken identity!

“I went back to the book for the first time since I was a boy and was delighted to discover that, first of all, it’s really good and, secondly, it’s crying out for a sequel.

“I’ve had a lot of fun writing these books, but somewhere amongst all the fun I found it strangely emotional to revisit myself as a boy and ask if he could help me restore an old-fashioned contraption and make it fly again.”

Cottrell Boyce won the Carnegie Medal for his “outstanding” first children’s book, Millions, in 2004.

He also works as a screenwriter, with credits including acclaimed films Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People.

Ian Fleming created the story of the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, which has since become a hit film and a musical, as a bedtime story for his son Caspar.

He died less than two months before the book was published in 1964.

Fleming’s niece, Lucy, said: “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is thrilled to have Frank Cottrell Boyce, with his humour, his genius and his spanner, sparking her plugs, polishing her chrome and buffing up her bumpers.”