Grandpa's Great Escape

Grandpa's Great Escape is a children's book written by David Walliams and illustrated by Tony Ross. It was released by HarperCollins on 24 September 2015. The story follows a boy called Jack trying to rescue his confused Grandpa from a retirement home, Twilight Towers run by an evil matron, Miss Swine.[1]

Grandpa's Great Escape
Grandpa's Great Escape.jpg
First edition
AuthorDavid Walliams
IllustratorTony Ross
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreChildren's fiction
Publication date
24 September 2015
Media typePrint (hardcover)

The book was adapted for BBC One, with the script written by Walliams and Kevin Cecil. It starred Tom Courtenay as Grandpa.[2] Its British television premiere was on New Year's Day 2018.


Grandpa’s Great Escape is set in London in the 1980s and tells the tale of Grandpa, a World War II flying ace, who sadly is now confused, still believing that World War II hasn't ended and longing to re-live his past. When his family can no longer look after him he is moved to an old people’s home called Twilight Towers, run by Miss Swine.

It soon becomes clear Miss Swine is running Twilight Towers for her own good profit and it is up to Grandpa and his grandson Jack, the only one who can understand his beliefs, to make a daring escape. Grandpa takes a final chance to relive his past and once again flies in his beloved Spitfire.


Linda Lawlor from The Book Bag gave Grandpa's Great Escape a 4-and-a-half-star review, saying "Utterly silly from start to finish and yet it leaves the reader with a warm, cosy feeling. Forget about whether anything in the plot makes the slightest sense – just sit back and enjoy the ride" and "Tony Ross's superb illustrations add immeasurably to the carefree, slightly manic tone of the text."[3]

Television adaptationEdit

On 22 September 2017 it was announced that the book would be adapted for BBC One and be shown at Christmas 2017. The script was written by Walliams and Kevin Cecil and starred Tom Courtenay as Grandpa, Kit Connor as Jack and Jennifer Saunders as Miss Dandy, with Samantha Spiro and Walliams as Jack's parents, Patricia and Barry.[4] The film was shown on New Year's Day 2018[5] to an overnight audience of around 5 million.[citation needed]

Arena stage adaptationEdit

A stage adaptation opened at the Arena Birmingham on 23, 24 and 26 December 2019 and toured to The SSE Arena, Wembley on 27 and 28 December, FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield on 29 December, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on 30 December, Manchester Arena on 1 January 2020, Utilita Arena Newcastle on 2 January, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow on 3 January and M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool on 4 January.

The production was adapted by Kevin Cecil and directed by Sean Foley and starred Nigel Planer as Grandpa.[6]


  1. ^ "The World of David Walliams". HarperCollins Publishers Limited. 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  2. ^ Doran, Sarah (22 September 2017). "David Walliams' Grandpa's Great Escape set to air on BBC1 this Christmas". Radio Times, Immediate Media Company Limited. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  3. ^ Lawlor, Linda (13 February 2017). "Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams". The Bookbag. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  4. ^ "David Walliams' Grandpa's Great Escape comes to BBC One". BBC. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Grandpa's Great Escape: All you need to know". BBC News. BBC. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ BWW News Desk. "Full Casting Announced For GRANDPA'S GREAT ESCAPE Live UK Tour". Retrieved 2021-05-29.