Hundreds of foster families in Leeds enjoyed an early Christmas treat this weekend with an exclusive showing of a new BBC TV adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, days before it is due to be broadcast to the nation.
Leeds City Council’s fostering department teamed up with Screen Yorkshire, Hyde Park Picture House and British Gas, to organise an exclusive preview screening of Billionaire Boy, as a special thank you to families who foster through the council as well as some of the city’s care leavers and independent visitors.
As well as having an exclusive viewing of the Yorkshire-made film, before it is broadcast on BBC One on New Year’s Day at 7pm, the 275 specially invited guests were given a festive welcome with carols sung by the Leeds People’s choir and refreshments provided by British Gas.
Councillor Alice Smart, lead member for Child Friendly Leeds said:
“Our foster carers provide an invaluable service, giving stable and supportive homes to children in care, so we have made a commitment to recognise and ‘give something back’ to these exceptional people. They really are an integral part of our team.
“Children in care often find Christmas a difficult time, so we will do anything we can to help their carers given them a happy and stress free Christmas.
“We are very grateful to everyone involved, especially the generosity of Screen Yorkshire, The Hyde Park Picture House and British Gas for helping to provide this amazing experience for these children, and supporting our aim to be the best city for children to grow up in. This makes a huge difference to us and our ability to demonstrate how valued foster families are in Leeds.”
Leeds City Council has a dedicated ‘corporate offer’ to foster carers which gives them access to a range of support and services to help them in carrying out their important role which improves the lives of vulnerable children within the city. As well as special events like this, the council also provides foster carers with access to free gym and leisure centre facilities, discounted or free entry to local attractions and regular free events / activities. The Council’s offer to foster families relies on the continued support from organisations across the city who have pledged to support the council’s aim to be a ‘Child Friendly City’.
Billionaire Boy synopsis
Billionaire Boy is the story of Len, who makes a billion from inventing a new toilet roll, and his 12 year-old son Joe, who appears to have everything he could want - but what he really needs is a friend.
A stellar cast appear in this hour-long adaptation of David Walliams’ book to be shown on BBC One, New Year’s Day, 7pm-8pm.
The cast includes John Thomson (The Fast Show, Cold Feet) as Joe’s dad, Len, who invents a new toilet roll - Bumfresh - making him millions. Catherine Tate (Doctor Who, The Catherine Tate Show) is Sapphire Diamond, a 40-something hand model who still likes to pretend she’s 21 and is dating Len for his money.
Playing Joe’s shy and very nervous head teacher is James Fleet (Vicar Of Dibley, Partners In Crime), while Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It) plays Joe’s firm but fair opera-loving teacher.
There’s also an appearance from Warwick Davis (Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Harry Potter, Life’s Too Short) playing himself, in the role of the family's celebrity butler. Joe is played by Elliot Sprakes in his first major TV role.
David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School, Britain’s Got Talent) plays Mrs Trafe, a dinner lady at Joe’s school who is described as 'dirty and old' and 'dreadful at cooking'.
Billionaire Boy was made by King Bert Productions for BBC One, with investment from Screen Yorkshire's Yorkshire Content Fund. It was made in South Yorkshire and it includes performances from children at Oakwood School in Rotherham, where it filmed.