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Charlie Chaplin novella finally published

image captionChaplin was interviewed by the BBC on the eve of Limelight's premiere

The only known novella by film star Charlie Chaplin has been published, 66 years after it was written.

Footlights, the basis for his 1952 film Limelight, has been reconstructed by Chaplin's biographer, David Robinson.

Drafts of the work were uncovered in the Chaplin archive at the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy.

The novella will be launched on Tuesday at BFI Southbank in London during an event to mark the centenary of Chaplin's 'Little Tramp' character.

Footlights is 70 pages long and contains around 34,000 words. It took Chaplin around three years to adapt his book into a film script.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionLimelight was Claire Bloom's big break

It is being published as part of a larger book called The World of Limelight, compiled and written by Robinson.

Limelight is considered by many to be one of Chaplin's last great films.

Time lord

It tells the story of a clown - played by Chaplin - who saves a dancer (Claire Bloom) from suicide and helps her resume her dancing career.

It includes a sequence where Chaplin and Buster Keaton, who plays Chaplin's stage partner, appear on screen together - the only time they did so.

Bloom will appear at Tuesday's event alongside Robinson, author of many books about Chaplin's life and work.

After Limelight, Bloom was named best newcomer at the 1953 Baftas and went on to appear with Richard Burton in Look Back in Anger (1956) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965).

In recent years she has been seen as Queen Mary in The King's Speech, ITV's Doc Martin and a mysterious Time Lord in Doctor Who.

The Cineteca di Bologna's digitisation of the vast Chaplin archive comprises more than 100,000 documents.

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