Felicity Dahl, the widow of English children’s book author Roald Dahl, said in a recent BBC Radio interview that the protagonist of her late husband’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was originally supposed to be black.
“His first Charlie that he wrote about was a little black boy,” Felicity Dahl said.
Roald Dahl’s biographer, Donald Sturrock, also spoke in the interview. He said Dahl was dissuaded from the idea by his agent at the time.
“It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea, when the book was first published, to have a black hero,” Sturrock said. “She said, ‘People would ask why.'”
Felicity Dahl added that it was a “great pity” her husband made Charlie Bucket a white child, which is how the character would go on to appear in the book’s two screen adaptations, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005).
She suggested that a new adaptation featuring a black protagonist, as her husband intended it, would be “wonderful.”
Watch a segment of the interview below:
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