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Dave conjures comic retellings for World Book Day


By John Glenday | Reporter

March 3, 2022 | 4 min read

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Dave, the free-to-air television channel owned by UKTV, has brought its unique brand of comedy to a range of literary classics in support of World Book Day.


Dave marries comedy with classic literature for World Book Day

Half a dozen classic books – which you’ve probably started to read but never finished – have been given the Dave treatment, with custom comedy covers updating the tedious tales within to tap the funny bones of modern audiences.

This has been sparked by research indicating that 67% of Brits have reached for the likes of War and Peace, Hamlet and Moby Dick from the shelf and never finished them, but would be more inclined to do so if only there existed a parody version.

Six classics as you’ve never seen them before

Into this void steps Dave, which has given an irreverent makeover to Animal Farm with its ‘Hexit edition,’ an update of the anthropomorphic morality tale starring Boris the Boar and Starmer the Horse.

Another dusty title to be reappraised with a tongue-in-cheek cover is the ‘anger management edition’ of Wuthering Heights, in which Heathcliff enrolls for toxic masculinity counselling sessions.

Readers are also presented with a fresh take on The Great Gatsby via an ‘finfluencer edition,’ peppered with over-the-top self-congratulatory social media posts.

Illustrated by Bob Venables, the half dozen books also include a version of Hamlet, rewritten to draw parallels with Harry and Meghan, and Bleak House, which likens the Charles Dickens classic to a parish council meeting. A truncated edition of Moby Dick has also been released – shorn of 132 chapters of whale facts.

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Don’t judge a book by its cover

The full rewrites of each book feature tweaked plots, characters and storylines written by a team of comedy writers including Nikesh Shukla, Mollie Goodfellow, Steven Vinacour, Ivo Graham and Flo Perry.

Professor Sam Haddow, of the School of English at St Andrew’s University, conducted the study of 2,000 British adults on behalf of Dave.

Haddow said: “It has been a delight to work with Dave’s writers to take a silly-stick to the stuffiness surrounding some of our most revered works of literature. I hope that readers get as many laughs out of these redrafted stories as I have – and, perhaps, that they’re inspired to go back to the originals with fresher, less jaded eyes...”

Dave has been busy dialing up its social media output in a major online push to expand its digital presence.

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