David Walliams reveals his favourite children’s writers – as his hippo show comes to town

David Walliams on the set of The First Hippo On The Moon. Photograph: David Parry
2 Feb 2017 @ 2.31 pm
| Entertainment

To one generation David Walliams is the anarchic comedy star of Little Britain.

The First Hippo On The Moon

Grand Opera House, York

Wed Feb 8-Thu Feb 9


More details and book

But his younger fans don’t care for Andy and Lou or his many other comic creations, preferring the likes of Gangsta Granny, Mr Stink and Billionaire Boy.

With a string of hit children’s books, David has established himself as the go-to storyteller for youngsters today.

And now the stage version of his book The First Hippo On The Moon is coming to the Grand Opera House.

It’s a funny space adventure which sees the enormously rich Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III and ingenious Shelia compete to be the first hippo to complete a lunar landing.

Here’s David Walliams on the book, the show and more…

‘You feel like a magician’

David, where did the idea for The First Hippo on the Moon come from?

I have always been fascinated with the space race of the 1960s and wanted to do a spoof on that. I like the idea of hippos going to the moon as they are the animals least likely to.

How does it feel seeing your characters come to life in the theatre?

I love seeing adaptations of my books, and really enjoy the changes. I come from writing for television which is very collaborative and have always like working with other people. Ultimately you feel like a magician when something that was in your head becomes real.

Are you inspired by any other current children’s writers?

There are so many great writers for children right now. My personal favourites right now are JK Rowling, Julia Donaldson, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.

When I a young child I loved Richard Scarry and Dr Seuss. My absolute hero is Roald Dahl. He is the greatest children’s writer of all time as he wrote so many brilliant books.

What advice would you give to young writers?

I think it’s important you write a story you would like to read. If you like funny stories write a funny story, if you like scary ones write a scary one.

You can never guess what it is people want to read, so it is best you write something for yourself. If other people like it that’s a bonus.

What is the take-home message of Hippo?

That whoever you are you should dream big, just like Sheila the hippo. Plus if you work together as a team, then you can achieve so much more.