Last year, the BBC Radio released an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel Stardust. Now, the network has announced that it is adapting another of Gaiman’s novels for the radio, Anansi Boys.
The six-part radio drama will premiere on Christmas day on BBC Radio 4, and will run through Friday, December 30th, and it will also be available online for overseas fans. The play will star Lenny Henry as Anansi/Mr Nancy, Jacob Anderson and and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett will voice Charlie and Spider, respectively. Dirk Maggs, who adapted BBC Radio’s adaptations of Stardust, Neverwhere and Good Omens, will helm this adaptation.
Gaiman published the novel in 2005, which follows a character named Charles Nancy, who’s life is upturned when he discovers that his father, Mr. Nancy, has passed away, and that he was really the trickster god Anansi. He also learns that he has a brother, Spider, who has inherited their father’s gifts, and his presence in Charles’ life turns everything upside down.
That name might sound a bit familiar: Mr. Nancy appears in Gaiman’s other big fantasy novel (and Starz TV adaption), American Gods. While it isn’t really a sequel to American Gods, Anansi Boys is a sort of companion novel.
This isn’t the first time that it’s been adapted by the BBC: the network first adapted the book in 2007 (with Lenny Henry voicing Spider and Charlie), but due to budget cutbacks, the final program was cut down to run for only an hour. Gaiman wasn’t pleased with the result, and the experience prompted him to tackle adapting the book himself, which the BBC eventually picked up as a TV series. That project hasn’t gone anywhere yet, but American Gods showrunner Bryan Fuller noted that if the rights become available, he’d be interested in a spinoff show staring Jones.