'Outnumbered' star to play 'Just William' in new series

He creates havoc as mischievous middle child Ben Brockman in 'Outnumbered' – now viewers are about to see young actor Daniel Roche get even naughtier in the title role in 'Just William'.

The 10-year-old cut off his trademark curly locks to play tearaway William Brown in a TV adaptation of the Richmal Crompton books, to be shown in a weekend teatime slot on BBC1 later this year.

Just William will follow the exploits of the 11-year-old tearaway schoolboy and his band of adventurous “outlaws”, whose dastardly deeds include a spot of photographic blackmail and the kidnapping of a pair of parrots.

Rebecca Front, who played a hapless minister in 'The Thick Of It', and Daniel Ryan have been cast as William’s long-suffering parents, while Caroline Quentin and Warren Clarke star as new neighbours the Botts.

Martin Jarvis, the voice behind the classic Just William recordings, is narrating the series, which is being adapted by Simon Nye, whose writing credits include 'Men Behaving Badly'.

The series, which will also be broadcast on children’s channel CBBC, features Denis Lawson, John Sessions and Bruce Mackinnon as William’s exasperated teachers.

The 'Just William' collection of short stories was first published in 1922, after teacher Crompton began writing in her spare time.

The William books are said to have sold more than 12 million copies in the UK alone and generated numerous TV and radio adaptations.

Roche has won acclaim from critics and viewers for his role as lying, stubborn and hyperactive child Ben in BBC1 semi-improvised sitcom 'Outnumbered'.

CBBC Controller Damian Kavanagh said: “We are thrilled to have attracted such a wonderful blend of established stars and exciting new talent to breathe new life into these much-loved stories.

“I can’t think of anyone better than Daniel Roche to bring loveable rogue William to the attention of a new generation.”

Head of CBBC Productions Steven Andrew warned: “If you think Ben in Outnumbered is bad, you wait until you get a glimpse of William.”

He added: “We are incredibly excited to be making this production and have brought together a wonderful cast to do justice to Richmal Crompton’s timeless characters and stories.”

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