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Johnny and the Bomb

3 x 40 min Sunday Serial for BBC 1 due to shown from January 8th 2006

The BBC in the UK have commissioned award-winning independent Childsplay Television to produce a three-part version of Terry Pratchett's 'JOHNNY & THE BOMB' starring GEORGE MacKAY as Johnny Maxwell with ZOE WANAMAKER as Mrs Tachyon, FRANK FINLAY as Johnny's Grandad, Tom Maxwell, and KEITH BARRON as the mysterious Sir Walter. Shooting begins late August 2005 for transmission early in 2006.

When Johnny Maxwell and his friends come to the aid of the mad old Mrs Tachyon they don't plan to get stuck with her trolley full of black bags, but fate has other ideas and when they visit her in hospital she tells them the trolley is special - or at least the bags are, 'Bags of Time' she calls them.

And she's right... the bags propel Johnny and his gang back into World War II for a breathless adventure with winning characters, cool effects and a great many Pratchett-style jokes.

Terry Pratchett is an internationally acclaimed author. He published his first story when he was thirteen and since then his books, and particularly the 'Discworld' series, have been translated into thirty-odd languages with worldwide sales topping forty million. 'JOHNNY & THE BOMB' is one of an award-winning series of stories for younger readers.

Dermot Boyd, who won a BAFTA for 'Feather Boy' in 2003, will direct the screen version. Peter Tabern, the writer/producer is three times winner of the BAFTA award, among his adaptations for television, 'STIG OF THE DUMP', (which he also produced for Childsplay/BBC,) won an International Emmy in 2002.

Episode synopses

Episode One - Mrs Tachyon and the Bags of Time

Johnny Maxwell and his friends come across mysterious old bag lady Mrs Tachyon injured in an alleyway, and when she is taken to hospital they are left in charge of her squeaky trolley and a bunch of black bin bags. When Johnny and Kirsty visit Mrs Tachyon in hospital, she tells them her trolley is special - or at least the bags are, the 'Bags of Time', as she calls them. And she's right… the bags propel Johnny and his gang back into the Second World War for a breathless adventure in which they can't help tampering with Time.

Episode Two - The Butterfly Effect

Johnny and his gang return from the Second World War and meet the mysterious Sir Walter. He warns them of the 'Butterfly Effect', where small causes in the past may lead to big effects in the present. Johnny learns this the hard way - his time-travelling exploits mean that he no longer exists, at least not in this life, and his gang have to figure out exactly what they did that caused things to go so horribly wrong.

Episode Three - Déjà Voodoo


Johnny and his friends make a final trip to the Second World War, retracing their steps to try and put things right. Paradise Street is doomed, along with Johnny's teenage grandparents, unless they can re-write history and divert a whole squadron of German bombers. Can they make it in time? Or will Wobbler stay in the Second World War while Johnny Maxwell won't even exist - at least not in this life?

Cast profiles

Zoe Wanamaker
Zoe Wanamaker is one of Britain's leading stars of stage and screen, with television credits including the hit BBC comedy series My Family, Doctor Who, Miss Marple, Love Hurts, Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years, David Copperfield and Gormenghast. She has appeared in feature films including in the role of Madame Hooch in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Five Children and It, Swept From the Sea, and Wilde.

Zoe has received Variety, Olivier and Tony awards for her performances in countless major stage productions in the West End and on Broadway. Credits include His Girl Friday, The Boston Marriage, Battle Royal, Electra, The Crucible, The Bay at Nice, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Old Neighbourhood, Dead Funny, Once In A Lifetime, and Piaf as well as RSC performances in Othello, The Time of Your Life, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors and Mother Courage and her Children.

Frank Finlay CBE
Frank Finlay CBE is one of Britain's best-loved actors, and in a career spanning decades has had countless memorable appearances on stage and screen. His extensive television projects have earned him two Bafta Awards, for his performances in The Death of Adolf Hitler and The Adventures of Don Quixote. He also starred in the ground-breaking series Bouquet of Barbed Wire, 84 Charing Cross Road, and more recently series such as in Life Begins, Eroica, Prime Suspect, Sins, How Do You Want Me, Heartbeat, The Grand, Station Jim, and The Lost Prince.

He received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Bafta Award nominations for his performance as William Shakespeare's Iago in Stuart Burge's 1965 film of Othello. Finlay's many other films include The Longest Day, The Loneliness of the Longest Distance Runner, Murder by Decree, The Return of the Soldier and Sparrow. Most recently, he has appeared in Roman Polanksi's multi-award winning The Pianist. He has also appeared extensively on the British stage, leading theatre companies in London and on Broadway. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1984.

Keith Barron
Keith Barron is one of the most recognisable television, stage and film actors in the country, with a multitude of credits spanning his long career. He has had many leading roles in comedy, including series such as Duty Free and Holding the Fort. Other notable roles earlier in his career include the title role in Dennis Potter's Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton, The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim, Telfords Change, and The Prince Regent.

Recent television credits include Hustle, Judge John Deed, Clocking Off, Foyle's War, New Tricks, England Expects, Where the Heart Is, Pickles, Verdict and Madame Bovary. His feature film credits include La Passione, At The Earth's Core and The Land That Time Forgot, and he also has numerous theatre credits.

John Henshaw
John Henshaw is a well-known and established television and film actor, recognisable for his varied roles in Early Doors, Linda Green, The Second Coming, Born and Bred, Nice Guy Eddie, The Cops, The Grand, The Royle Family, and See No Evil. John's film credits include Starter for Ten, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, When Saturday Comes, and Dancing Through the Dark.
Felicity Montagu
Felicity Montagu has a variety of television credits to her name, but is perhaps best known for her role alongside Steve Coogan as Lynn in I'm Alan Partridge. She has also appeared in Doc Martin, Nighty Night, Hear The Silence, My Life As A Popat, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, Crouch, A Touch of Frost, and Tumbledown.

Felicity's feature film appearances include Bridget Jones' Diary and Blackball, and she has played a variety of roles in British theatre.

George MacKay
George MacKay already has a number of television and feature film appearances under his belt, despite being only 13 years of age. He has appeared in Rose and Maloney, The Brief and Footprints in the Snow. Feature film appearances include The Thief Lord and Peter Pan.
Peter Tabern - Screenwriter/Producer
Peter Tabern runs Childsplay Productions, specialising in quality children's and family drama. He has written and produced most of the company's output, including Johnny and the Bomb. BBC credits include Children of The New Forest, Stig of The Dump (which won a screenwriting Bafta and an International Emmy), and most recently Feather Boy, which also won a Bafta. He divides his time between London and Derbyshire.

Cast and production credits

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