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Roald Dahl wanted Charlie to be a 'little black boy'

Roald Dahl originally wrote the lead character of his much-loved children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be 'a little black boy', his widow has revealed.

Despite every film version of the tale, and Quentin Blake's illustrations, portraying Charlie Bucket as white with a crop of fair hair, Liccy Dahl said yesterday that was never her late husband's intention.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme to mark Roald Dahl Day, she said: 'His first Charlie that he wrote about was a little black boy, and I'm sure that was influenced by America.'

Gene Wilder (left) as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum (right) as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder (left) as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum (right) as Charlie Bucket in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Asked why that had been changed, she said: 'I don't know. It's a great pity.' 

Dahl's biographer, Donald Sturrock, suggested that Dahl's agent thought it was a bad idea.

He said:

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