Kit Connor

  • Actor

Press clippings

Talking of permanent fixtures of the festive schedules, New Year's Day saw the fifth BBC adaptation of a David Walliams children book in the form of Grandpa's Great Escape. Set in the 1980's, the hour-long film was told from the perspective of Jack (Kit Connor) who had a strong bond with his grandfather (Tom Courtenay); a former spitfire pilot in World War II. The rather episodic tale saw Grandpa's battles with Alzheimer's Disease as he was eventually forced to move in with Jack much to the chagrin of his parents (Walliams and Samantha Spiro). After an incident at the British War Museum, Jack's parents decide to put Grandpa in the ominous Twilight Towers Retirement Home run by the totally corrupt Miss Dandy (Jennifer Saunders). As the title of the piece suggests, soon we see Grandpa leading an escape mission from the home, which Dandy runs as essentially a prison camp, before Jack realises that his hero may actually be in a worse condition than he actually thought. The final few minutes of Grandpa's Great Escape stretched credibility somewhat, but the final takedown of Miss Dandy and her cronies was well-executed. I've been a fan of these Walliams adaptations in the part, particularly Mr Stink and The Boy in the Dress, so I was disappointed to find Grandpa's Great Escape quite underwhelming. Whilst I appreciate I'm not the key audience for this type of programme, I still usually find myself getting caught up in the story but unfortunately this didn't happen here. I feel part of the reason for this is that the story took too long to get the Twilight Towers home and some of the earlier scenes felt a little stretched. There was also a repetitive nature to the plot, possibly that will appeal to younger viewers, that made Grandpa's Great Escape a frustrating watch. Furthermore, I expected more from Tom Courtenay whose performance here wasn't as great as it could have been apart from in the scenes where he portrayed Grandpa's battles with dementia. In fairness, he did have believable chemistry with Kit Connor; a young actor who did his best to anchor the entire film. Meanwhile, Jennifer Saunders put in a scenery-chewing turn as the antagonistic Miss Dandy and Walliams himself was unimpressive as Jack's father. In my opinion, it was Samantha Spiro as Jack's Avon lady mother who had the most fun with her role and I personally would've liked to have seen her on screen more often. Whilst younger viewers may have enjoyed Grandpa's Great Escape, I can't say the same which was disappointing as it was one part of the festive schedules that I was rather looking forward to.

Matt, The Custard TV, 6th January 2018

The latest David Walliams book to be adapted by the BBC stars Tom Courtenay as a dashing but forgetful pensioner convinced he is still fighting for air superiority in the second world war. When his hapless son (Walliams) packs Grandpa off to a sinister nursing home, plucky youngster Jack (Kit Connor) vows to spring him out. It's a family-friendly adventure with a vibrant 1980s setting and a dual role for Jennifer Saunders.

Graeme Virtue, The Guardian, 1st January 2018

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