Another story that I didn’t read but was read: by Bernard Cribbins on BBC1’s Jackanory in 1968, just before Blue Peter.
Here was a world of wonder in which Golden Tickets were possible and horrible children succumbed to equally horrible fates. And all that chocolate!
Jackanory narrated me classics I might never have read myself: Brer Rabbit, The Snow Queen, Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories, Japanese, Indian & Greek tales, Worzel Gummidge...
Dahl’s widow said that Charlie was originally written as “a little black boy” and the change to a white character was driven by Dahl's agent, who thought a black Charlie would not appeal to readers. Commercially, lamentably, the agent was right. Like other white British kids back then, I was so conditioned to believe that black people were not like “us” that I wouldn’t have identified with a coloured Charlie — and it was the white population, of course, who overwhelmingly dominated English-speaking society, its spending power and the market for books.