Millions author Frank Cottrell Boyce is writing a trilogy based on Ian Fleming's children's classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, in which the flying car makes a return alongside a modern family who are descended from the family in the original story.
The first in the trilogy, Chitty Flies Again, will be published by Macmillan Children's Books on 4th November. The original story was published in 1964, two months after Fleming's death, and was illustrated by John Burningham. Cottrell Boyce was approached by the Fleming family to write the story.
The three-book deal, for UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights, including serial, was done by Simon Trewin at United Agents (acting on behalf of the Fleming family) working in conjunction with Boyce's agent Zoe Waldie at Rogers Coleridge and White Literary Agency.
Cottrell Boyce said: "The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang book is distinctive from most children's classics because the whole family goes on the adventure, not just the children, and all my books tend to be about family, which may be why they asked me to write it."
The new story is about a family where the father has been made redundant and sets about trying to reconstruct a VW Camper Van. He unwittingly uses the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang engine for the camper van, which has its own agenda, to restore itself. The trilogy follows the car's adventures during its restoration and is illustrated with black-and-white line drawings by Joe Berger.
While there is no Child Catcher in his story, Cottrell Boyce has created his own "super-villain", descended from the ‘baddie' Man-Mountain Fink in the original book. Cottrell Boyce said: "He is the best super-villain ever and I hope he will have the same unnerving and eerie quality as the Child Catcher."
The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film script was written by Roald Dahl – he wrote himself in as the Child Catcher – and with this and Fleming's heritage, Cottrell Boyce said: "That is two giant pairs of shoes to step into." He added: "It's been the most enjoyable writing experience ever, partly because I knew I had this safety net - the car is a great idea - and I could play with the Bond heritage as well; a fantastic car, lots of action and a really great villain."
Lucy Fleming, Ian Fleming’s niece, 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. Her graceful wings are poised to take off on a new flight, with Frank’s skilful but possibly oily hands on the steering wheel."