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Dawn French reveals heartwarming true story behind new Christmas treat Roald & Beatrix

The new film premieres on Sky on Christmas Eve

Francesca Shillcock

Dawn French's new film looks like the perfect watch for all the family this Christmas. The actress, who plays the part of beloved children's author Beatrix Potter, in Sky One's Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, recently revealed the heartwarming true story behind the film that viewers may be unfamiliar with.

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Appearing on This Morning last week, the Vicar of Dibley told presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsfordthe real life meeting between the two literary giants.

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"It's remarkable really, it's about the very real day, the true happening when Roald Dahl aged six, met the real 60 year old Beatrix Potter. He had a tough old time Roald when he was younger, his father died and his sister died.

"And he asked his mother if he could go and visit Peter Rabbit, so she took him to Beatrix Potter's garden, and I'm sure Beatrix was a grumpy old thing who had many children running into her garden, and I'm sure she was fed up of it".

She continued: "But of course she wouldn't have known she was meeting the future Roald Dahl! He adored her writing and I think if you look at his writing, you can see the influence, the darkness in a funny way."

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Dawn French plays Beatrix Potter in the film

Dawn, who is a successful author herself, also revealed what she loved most about the children's author and what viewers can expect from the film. "The thing I like about Beatrix Potter is that although it looks cosy and cute, it's not at all." She added: "There are elements of Beatrix Potter that are quite alarming, and I think that's what Roald Dahl really reacted to."

Joining Dawn in the festive film is a whole slate of big names from Rob Brydon, who plays William Heelis, the husband of Beatrix Potter, to Last Tango in Halifax star Nina Sosanya, who plays Beatrix's publisher, Anne Landy. Eagle-eyed fans will also spot Strictly Come Dancing champion Bill Bailey in the film, who plays A Bona Fide Gent. 

Gavin and Stacey star Alison Steadman is also in the cast, as well as W1A's Jessica Hynes and comedian Nick Mohammed. 

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