Egmont buys Matt Lucas picture book, as NHS support initiatives multiply

Egmont buys Matt Lucas picture book, as NHS support initiatives multiply

Egmont has snapped up world rights to a picture book of Matt Lucas' coronavirus version of his charity comedy single, "Thank You, Baked Potato", with proceeds for the book going to his #FeedNHS campaign.

Meanwhile, Penguin and thriller writer Cara Hunter are to make downloads of the author's Close to Home free to NHS staff.

On 24th March, actor and comedian Lucus released a video of his spud-themed "(s)mash hit", which he originally perfromed on "Shooting Stars" 20 years ago. The update encourages people to wash their hands, stay indoors and not to touch their faces. The song has been viewed over three million times on YouTube, stormed the up the music charts and Lucas has used it to help raise money for the #FeedNHS campaign he, actors Damian Lewis and Helen McCory, and Leon c.e.o John Vincent set up to provide free meals to NHS staff. The fundraising page for the campaign has earned almost £770,000 to date.  

Egmont publishing director Melissa Fairley secured the deal for the book, which will be illustrated by Scott Coello, with Amanda Harris and Melanie Rockcliffe at YMU Group. The publisher aims to release it by 4th May. Fairley said: "‘I remember 'The Baked Potato' from the first time around and I’m so happy he has returned to cheer everyone up, offer some sound advice and help raise money for a very good cause." 

Hunter, meanwhile, said she had been "moved" to make her 2017 Richard and Judy-boosted bestseller free to NHS staff as they have worked "so selflessly and in such difficult circumstances".  She added: "Offering them a free book is a small gesture, I know, but it's one way I can say thank you. The offer will be open for several months so NHS employees can take advantage of it when the crisis has passed and they have more time."

NHS employees who wish to claim their free copy can tweet Penguin campaigns manager Georgia Taylor (@GeorgiaKTaylor).  

Scholastic is also publishing Matt Carr's Now Wash Your Hands!, with a percentage of proceeds going to the NHS.