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24 September 2014
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Fungus the Bogeyman
Fungus the Bogeyman

Fungus the Bogeyman

Starting BBC ONE, Sunday 28 November at 5.55pm


Twenty-six years on from its first publication, Fungus the Bogeyman remains a celebration of all things slimy and disgusting, and has attracted a cult following of children, teenagers and adults.

Award-winning writer and illustrator Mark Haddon talks about his adaptation of one of Britain's most famous classic cult children's titles.

"I'd read the book hundreds of times before but rediscovered it when I was reading it to my son, Alfie.

"He laughed at the poo jokes; I laughed at the references to Hamlet and Dostoevsky (and the poo jokes). And we both loved Raymond Briggs's wonderful illustrations.

"The most challenging part of the adaptation was generating a sufficiently meaty plot. All good stories are driven by conflict which Bogeymen hate.

"We realised that the only way to generate that conflict was to have a Drycleaner stumble into Bogeydom by mistake - as soon as we'd done that the story began to write itself.

"Like many of Raymond Briggs's characters, Fungus and Mildew are loosely based on his own parents. And this is what gives the book its universal appeal.

"It is, on the one hand, a fantastical tale about ghastly creatures who dwell in vast caverns underneath our feet.

"On the other hand, it's a thinly disguised picture of a working-class couple muddling along together with their children in a red-brick Victorian terrace, a kind of subterranean Coronation Street!

"Fungus the Bogeyman was published in 1977, the same year that the first Sex Pistols LP came out.

"I never realised it at the time, but now, every time I think about Fungus's little red Mohican hairstyle and his less-than-perfect personal hygiene, I can't help seeing him as Johnny Rotten's underground alter-ego - the first punk of children's books, who broke all the rules and never changed his underwear, but who loved his children and liked nothing better than settling down after a hard day's work with a good book and a cup of cold slime."


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