Richard Ayoade pens doppelganger memoir The Unfinished Harauld Hughes

ExclusiveSaturday 10th February 2024, 12:27pm by Jay Richardson

  • Richard Ayoade's latest book chronicles his efforts to restore the reputation of his lookalike, obscure playwright Harauld Hughes
  • The IT Crowd star is said to have been drawn to Hughes's story because of his "uncanny" resemblance to the hitherto overlooked auteur
  • The book is also an account of Ayoade's unfinished film, The Unfinished Harauld Hughes, reflecting upon the "unfathomable collapse" of a Hughes film
Richard Ayoade

Richard Ayoade is doubling down on his doppelganger preoccupation for his latest book, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

The comedian and filmmaker, who made the 2013 black comedy thriller The Double based upon Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1846 novella of the same name, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska alongside Chris Morris, has written The Unfinished Harauld Hughes, seemingly a fictionalised account of his attempts to rescue the reputation of a lookalike auteur.

Published on 19th November by Faber & Faber, the book chronicles "Ayoade's dogged quest to rescue Harauld Hughes - the great mid-century playwright, and Ayoade's uncanny doppelganger - from obscurity", with the subject's name perhaps suggesting an amalgamation of Ayoade's Norwegian ancestry and the eccentric, reclusive reputation of legendary film producer and maverick businessman Howard Hughes.

According to Faber's description, "the gifted filmmaker, corduroy activist and amateur dentist, Richard Ayoade, first chanced upon a copy of The Two-Hander Trilogy by Harauld Hughes in a second-hand bookshop. At first startled by his uncanny resemblance to the author's photo, he opened the volume and was electrified. Terse, aggressive, and elliptical, what was true of Ayoade was also true of Hughes's writing, which encompassed stage, screen, and some of the shortest poems ever published."

The IT Crowd and Garth Merenghi's Darkplace star has apparently embarked on a documentary, The Unfinished Harauld Hughes, to understand the "unfathomable collapse" of Hughes's final film O Bedlam! O Bedlam!, taking us deep inside the most furious British writer since the Boer War, with this book "the story of the story of that quest".

Meanwhile, as BCG first revealed last year, Ayoade, who has written four previous books, is preparing to direct his third film - and his first since The Double - an adaptation of George Saunders's dystopian short story The Semplica Girl Diaries.

He is also publishing his second children's novel, The Fairy Tale Fan Club: Legendary Letters Collected By C.C. Cecily on 5th September, a collection of letters between curious children and their fairy tale character idols.

Richard Ayoade - The Unfinished Harauld Hughes

By Richard Ayoade

This new memoir follows Ayoade's dogged quest to rescue Harauld Hughes - the great mid-century playwright, and Ayoade's uncanny doppelganger - from obscurity.

Gifted filmmaker, corduroy activist and amateur dentist, Richard Ayoade first chanced upon a copy of The Two-Hander Trilogy by Harauld Hughes in a second-hand bookshop. At first startled by his uncanny resemblance to the author's photo, he opened the volume and was electrified. Terse, aggressive, and elliptical, what was true of Ayoade was also true of Hughes's writing, which encompassed stage, screen, and some of the shortest poems ever published.

First published: Tuesday 19th November 2024

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

Richard Ayoade - The Fairy Tale Fan Club: Legendary Letters Collected By C.C. Cecily

By Richard Ayoade

FAIRY-LAND EXCLUSIVE! Discover THE TRUTH about your favourite fairy tale characters in Richard Ayoade's second children's book.

Read about the real lives of fairy tale characters in this exclusive collection of letters between curious kids and their fairy tale idols.

What are they doing now? Was it really Happily Ever After? Is the Big Bad Wolf actually that bad? When will Sleeping Beauty get out of bed? And what makes frogs so kissable?

Only one man has the answers, direct from the ACTUAL LEGENDS themselves: meet C.C. Cecily, Senior Secretary of the Fairy Tale Fan Club.

With illustrations by David Roberts.

First published: Thursday 5th September 2024

  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Pages: 128
  • Catalogue: 9781529500318

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

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