Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The Boy in the Dress Thurs­day, 6.30pm, ABC Three No dis­re­spect in­tended to ABC Three, but this en­dear­ing story de­serves a wider au­di­ence on the main chan­nel. A cel­e­bra­tion of be­ing dif­fer­ent, it’s not just for kids. Writ­ten by David Wal­liams ( Lit­tle Bri­tain, Part­ners in Crime), it’s one of his 12 best­selling chil­dren’s books, which are funny and charm­ing. Den­nis Sims (Billy Kennedy), 12, dis­cov­ers that, de­spite be­ing a crack soc­cer player, he has a fem­i­nine side. Kate Moss, mor­ph­ing out of the pages of Vogue in a gor­geous red dress, daz­zles his imag­i­na­tion. The coolest girl in the school, Lisa James, en­cour­ages Den­nis to wear a frock — an or­ange daisy num­ber. His de­pressed dad and lumpy older brother are not im­pressed (his mother left them five years ear­lier), and the head­mas­ter ex­pels Den­nis. That’s as much of the story as you need know here. Suf­fice it to say, it’s a sub­tle, heart­warm­ing treat­ment of loss, gen­der iden­tity, friend­ship and loy­alty. Jen­nifer Saunders ( Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous) pops up as the rather nutty French teacher with wild blond hair and Wal­liams minces into the pic­ture as a stand-in ref­eree. This was the first chil­dren’s book he wrote in 2008. It was the third one adapted for TV, af­ter Mr Stink and Gang­ster Granny. (Rat­burger, De­mon Den­tist and Bil­lion­aire Boy are in the pipe­line.) In a re­cent sur­vey, Wal­liams beat JK Rowl­ing as the most read au­thor in the five to 16 age group in Bri­tain.

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