Netflix in talks to buy Roald Dahl catalogue


Netflix is in talks to acquire the works of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which the report said could be announced in the next few days, is likely to give Netflix ownership of children’s classics such as Matilda, The BFG and The Twits.

An acquisition deal is a rarity for Netflix, and this would be their biggest such deal in the past decade, the report added

Netflix did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Netflix already has a licensing agreement with The Roald Dahl Story Company from 2018 to create animated series based on the author’s books.

LISTEN | Roald Dahl on CBC Radio in 1981: 

Roald Dahl on CBC Radio in 1981

The author describes his work ethic, his ideas about books for children, and his Tales of the Unexpected. 17:07

News of the acquisition came only days after the streaming giant’s commanding performance at the Emmys, which gave them — and other streaming services — a long-awaited artistic stamp of approval in the face of traditional TV producers.

Netflix was the clear frontrunner at Sunday’s ceremony,  winning more awards than any other broadcaster or network. Over the past decade, Netflix has trailed HBO when it comes to Emmys, though finally came out on top this year with 44 wins compared to HBO’s 19.

With their 44 statues, they tied the record for most Emmys won in a single year, set by CBS in 1974.

They also won a top category for the first time, as The Crown took home the “outstanding drama” award, and swept the acting category at the same time. 

WATCH | Bob Homme steps out of Friendly Giant costume:

Bob Homme steps out of Friendly Giant costume

For the first time ever, Bob Homme (otherwise known as the Friendly Giant) is interviewed out of character in 1982. 6:40

Dahl’s fiction has been adapted in Hollywood numerous times, spawning everything from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory to 2016’s The BFG.

And for nearly three decades, from 1958 to 1985, young audiences spent their mornings with actor Bob Homme as the titular BFG character in CBC TV’s The Friendly Giant.

Dahl himself spent a considerable amount of time in Canada, including as an air attaché at the secretive Second World War training facility Camp X, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. 

And while it’s his children’s fiction for which Dahl is now most remembered, the author spent his early career writing stories aimed at adults — which became controversial in their own day due to blatantly sexual content. Many of those stories were themselves adapted for the TV show Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected

Despite the frequency with which his work was adapted though, Dahl had a fraught relationship with Hollywood. He disliked many movies that came out of his writing — including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and even the much beloved Willy Wonka

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