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Andersen Press to bring back Mr Benn brand

The four original books by David McKee to be reissued to celebrate 50 years since character’s debut on the BBC.

Andersen Press has secured rights for the four original Mr Benn books by David McKee, and will publish in time to celebrate 50 years of the iconic character on TV in 2021.

This is the first time that Andersen Press has had rights to the four original books that inspired the ground-breaking TV show which was shown on television for over 25 years without a break. Andersen Press previously published a new story Mr Benn: Gladiator in 2001.

The original stories were first published in the 1960s and 1970s – Mr Benn: Red Knight, Big Game Mr Benn, Big Top Mr Benn and 123456789 Benn inspired the TV show, produced by McKee in the 1970s.

Each book inspired an episode of the 13 episode run, apart from 123456789 Benn which was set in a prison and deemed inappropriate by the BBC in the 1970s.

Andersen Press has had a run of David McKee anniversaries, celebrating 30 years of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant in 2019 and 40 years of Not Now, Bernard this year.

“We are proud to publish David McKee, from Elmer, King Rollo to Not Now, Bernard, now we’re thrilled that another of David’s iconic characters, Mr Benn, is joining the Andersen Press Family,” said Klaus Flugge, founder and publisher of Andersen Press, and David’s publisher for over 50 years. “To bring these iconic, classic books back to bookshops has been a long-held ambition of ours, and to do so in celebration of 50 years since they were brought to life on TV is very fitting.”

2021 sees the 50th anniversary of the TV show’s premier on the BBC in 1971, and will feature press activity with David McKee, a new and re-invigorated licensing programme from Factory Rights, while discussions are on-going for special programming with the BBC.

Mr Benn: Red Knight and Big Game Mr Benn will publish in February 2021, while Big Top Mr Benn and 123456789 Benn will follow in July 2021, all in paperback.

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