The media-spanning works of legendary author Roald Dahl have had their share of reboot treatments, with multiple movies currently on studio slates, notably new iterations Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. However, U.K. television fans with rose-colored 1980s memories of the Dahl-inspired fantasy anthology series, Tales of the Unexpected, should be especially elated to know that a reboot series is in development.
Surging upstart studio The Ink Factory – having achieved international small screen success with joint BBC/AMC TV miniseries adapting selections of John le Carré spy literature in 2016’s The Night Manager and the currently-running The Little Drummer Girl – are set to shift gears to Roald Dahl with a TV adaptation of Tales of the Unexpected, reports Deadline. The title originally manifested as a 1979-published collection of short stories from the author, subsequently spun-off into an ITV anthology series (adapting stories from the book and beyond), which ran from 1979 to 1988. Dahl himself (who passed away in 1990,) served as the host of the series from its launch until 1985. The author had previously hosted a similar – U.S.-aired – anthology series for CBS in 1961, called Way Out.
For now, details are scarce about The Ink Factory’s approach to its Tales of the Unexpected reboot. Studio heads Simon and Stephen Cornwell are assembling a writers’ room, notably with The Little Drummer Girl scribe Claire Wilson. They are reportedly working closely with the Roald Dahl Story Company, presumably to ensure that the project meets the standards of Dahl’s legacy. With the project’s status as a reboot, it is unlikely to carry over any sort of continuity from the original series.
The classic Tales of the Unexpected series was almost vintage Doctor Who-esque in its low-budget campiness and could be described as a more light-hearted version of The Twilight Zone, though more realistically grounded and never too dark, even when it did cross into the realms of fantasy and the macabre. Over its nine years on the air, the U.K. show saw English acting legends pass through such as John Gielgud, John Mills, Joan Collins, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Hayley Mills, Peter Cushing and Ian Holm. Interestingly, with some of the later episodes set in the U.S., some American stars also banked appearances; a wonderfully random list that includes names like Jennifer Connelly, Don Johnson, Brad Dourif, Robert Loggia, Ed Begley Jr., Terry O’Quinn, Telly Savalas, Janet Leigh, Heather Locklear and David Cassidy, amongst others.
We will certainly keep you updated on the news for this intriguing Roald Dahl reboot project in Tales of the Unexpected.