Amongst the programmes over Christmas this week included a dramatisation of David Walliams' children's novel, Mr. Stink.
The story follows a young girl, Chloe (Nell Tiger Free), the eldest daughter of a vile right-wing mother (Sheridan Smith) who wants to become an MP, and whose main policy is getting the homeless off the streets in any way possible. Chloe encounters a tramp, who goes by the name of Mr. Stink (Hugh Bonneville), so called because of his terrible odour.
Mr. Stink's only companion is his dog the Duchess (Pudsey, the winner of Britain's Got Talent), and so Chloe becomes friends with him and eventually persuades him to move into her shed - all while trying to avoid the wrath of her mother.
It's no surprise that this and indeed all of Walliams's children's books have a heavy influence from Roald Dahl. Much of the humour in Mr. Stink's visual, which for a pre-watershed children's comedy isn't a surprise, but it was good. It ranges from Chloe's younger sister Annabelle (Isabella Blake-Thomas) taking part in a historical re-enactment society dressed in full medieval armour, to both of them giving Mr. Stink a full makeover. There are also the throwaway comments in the show, such as Stink claiming that he is "lice free, but no stranger to worms."
In terms of a children's comedy, this seems to tick all of my boxes. It's inoffensive, it's witty, and it's not too childish so adults can watch it without feeling embarrassed. No doubt that more Walliams novels will be adapted for future Christmases.Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 31st December 2012
Mr Stink may have been improved with a tighter running time because the story began to flag slightly after the first 40 minutes, but it ended on a life affirming note and avoided a banal happy ending.Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 24th December 2012
David Walliams's comedy drama Mr Stink was the standout show of yesterday's primetime schedule (December 23), early overnight ratings data indicates.Mayer Nissim, Digital Spy, 24th December 2012
Mr Stink (BBC1, Sunday), adapted from David Walliams's kids' book, proved that winning a TV talent contest doesn't always mean immediately disappearing into obscurity. It stars Britain's Got Talent winner Pudsey - a half-decent performance, though he has a tendency to overact. The standout stars are Sheridan Smith as a slightly Nadine Dorriesy mum and the remarkably natural Nell Tiger Free (child actors have to have names like that) as young Chloe. Is that really Hugh Bonneville - Lord Grantham - in there, behind the beard and the stink?
Anyway, it's lovely - funny, warm, with a bit of a message (it's nice to be nice to people) but also some wickedness. And while so many kids and family shows are nostalgic, this feels contemporary; the nasty kids on the bus talk like real nasty kids on the bus.Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 23rd December 2012
Chloe Crumb is that most common figure in redemptive childrens' fiction - the lonely outsider. Her mum's an unbearable aspirant MP, her dad's downtrodden, her sister's a goody-two-shoes and she doesn't have any friends. Soon, she's befriending pungent gentleman of the road Mr Stink and learning all sorts of life-lessons as a result. The underlying message - everyone's got problems and we could all use a little extra kindness - resonates with the season, even if the regular fug of CGI miasma wreathing Stink fails to compensate for the absence of Quentin Blake's wonderful illustrations in David Walliams's source book. Some of the dialogue is too trite to be entirely explained away by the target demographic - 'I realise now how important family is,' declaims Sheridan Smith as the pushy mum towards the end. But it's elevated by spirited performances from Smith, Johnny Vegas, a game Hugh Bonneville as the titular tramp and particularly, newcomer Nell Tiger Free as Chloe.Phil Harrison, Time Out, 23rd December 2012
David Walliams's book about a homeless man who is befriended by a lonely young girl, Chloe, was written with kids in mind, so it's stuffed with references to bottoms, belches, farts and smells. But there's some subtle moralising and tackling of prejudices.
Sheridan Smith is fabulous as a potential MP whose politics are slightly to the right of Hitler, while it was genius to cast Hugh Bonneville as the odoriferous Mr Stink and BGT's Pudsey as his canine companion. Funny and heart-warming, it even has a cameo from Walliams himself.Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 23rd December 2012
The comedian and children's writer fields questions from two of his biggest small fans.Craig McLean, Radio Times, 23rd December 2012
David Walliams stars in this family comedy, adapted from his own children's book, joined by a weighty cast including Hugh Bonneville, Sheridan Smith, Johnny Vegas and Pudsey - not the charity bear but the dancing dog who won this year's Britain's Got Talent. Bullied, lonely Chloe (Nell Tiger Free) is ignored by her politician mother (Smith), so invites local tramp Mr Stink (Bonneville) and his faithful hound Duchess (Pudsey) to stay in their garden shed. Chloe soon discovers there's more to her aromatic guest than meets the eye. Or indeed nose.The Daily Telegraph, 21st December 2012
David Walliams on how he adapted for television Mr Stink, his sweet tale of a smelly man and the girl who befriends him.David Walliams, The Daily Telegraph, 21st December 2012