Roald Dahl's Esio Trot

Roald Dahl's Esio Trot is a British made-for-television comedy film that was first broadcast as part of BBC One's 2015 Christmas programming. It is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1990 children's novel Esio Trot in which a retired bachelor falls in love with his neighbour, a widow, who keeps a tortoise as a companion after the death of her husband.[1][2]

Roald Dahl's Esio Trot
Roald Dahl's Esio Trot poster.png
Based onEsio Trot
by Roald Dahl
Written byRichard Curtis
Paul Mayhew-Archer
Directed byDearbhla Walsh
ComposerTim Phillips
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
ProducerHilary Bevan Jones
CinematographyBen Smithard
EditorTim Murrell
Running time90 minutes
Production companyEndor Productions
DistributorRed Arrow International
Original network
Original release1 January 2015 (2015-01-01)
External links

Featuring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench as the couple, with James Corden as another neighbour, who acts as the narrator, it was broadcast on 1 January 2015.[3] It was seen by 7.86 million viewers, making it the ninth-most watched programme on BBC1 and across all UK TV channels for the week ending 4 January 2015.[4] It was repeated on BBC1 on 31 December 2015 and on BBC2 on 30 December 2016.



The musical score is by composer Tim Phillips. All the commercial music used in the show is that of New Orleans jazz singer and trumpeter Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars; which include Edmond Hall, Trummy Young, Billy Kyle, Arvell Shaw & Barrett Deems.

Differences from Dahl's novelEdit

  • Mr Pringle (Hoppy's rival for the affections of Mrs Silver) does not appear in the novel.
  • In the novel, Mr Hoppy's ruse of switching tortoises to fool Mrs Silver into thinking that hers is growing is successful and she never discovers the truth. In the movie, she discovers Mr Hoppy's plan but eventually marries him anyway.


Charlotte Moore announced the television film at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on 22 August 2013.[1][5] It was produced by Hilary Bevan Jones and directed by Dearbhla Walsh.[1][5] Bevan Jones said: "To bring together two of the world’s favourite actors in Dame Judi and Dustin is a dream come true. Richard and Paul have captured the magic of Roald Dahl’s wonderful tale and I am thrilled that Dearbhla is to direct it."[1][6] It was adapted by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, and filming took place in May 2014 in London.[1][6][7] The apartment block featured in the film is Adelaide Wharf in Haggerston.


The adaptation received praise, with Lucy Mangan in The Guardian writing, “an utterly, completely, inescapably beguiling adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, directed by Dearbhla Walsh, narrated by James Corden and starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench. You could argue that with a pedigree like that nothing could have gone wrong, but it doesn’t work like that. Although you can maximise your chances of being able to conjure it, charm is ineffable, alchemical. You can’t measure it out by the yard and cut it off when you’ve got enough. You can’t splash it on to a scene and then stopper it to make sure you’ve got enough for the next take. It just … appears, if you’re careful and if you’re lucky. And then it ripples through your film, or your play or your book, animating all and subtly transforming everything from a prosaic good – or even great – into a thing of wonder.”[8]


Year Award Category Nominated Result
2016 44th International Emmy Awards Best Performance by an Actor[9] Dustin Hoffman Won
Best Performance by an Actress Judi Dench Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e Maguire, Una (22 August 2013). "Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman to star in Roald Dahl's Esio Trot for BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  2. ^ Sweney, Mark (22 August 2013). "Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench to star in Roald Dahl adaptation for BBC". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  3. ^ "BBC One - Roald Dahl's Esio Trot". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  4. ^ Broadcasters' Audience Research Board,, shows Roald Dahl's Esio Trot in place 9 of most watched for week ending 4 January 2015. Accessed 23 December 2017
  5. ^ a b "BBC reveals new commissions at the Edinburgh Festival". BBC. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Eames, Tom (22 August 2013). "Judi Dench, Dustin Hoffman for Roald Dahl's 'Esio Trot' on BBC One". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  7. ^ Patrick, Seb (23 August 2013). "Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman to Star in Roald Dahl's 'Esio Trot' for BBC". BBC America. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Esio Trot review – Dench sparkles, Hoffman is perfect; World's Strongest Man". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Brazil, UK Lead Pack For International Emmy Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 November 2016.

External linksEdit