Gangsta Granny

Radio Times
Review by:
Emma Sturgess

David Walliams’s 2011 children’s book, his fourth, has sold more than 430,000 copies, which means there are at least that many imagined versions out there of Ben’s adventures with his surprisingly acquisitive grandmother. The team behind last year’s Walliams adaptation, Mr Stink, now turn their attention to Gangsta Granny, with Julia McKenzie as the titular lawbreaker.

Schoolboy Ben (Reece Buttery) is bored rigid by the soup ’n’ Scrabble regime at Granny’s house until she reveals that she was once an international jewel thief. Like many career criminals, she’s haunted by the audacious heist she never pulled off, and together Ben and his grandma – aka the Black Cat – decide to complete it.

A child’s-view of adult quirks is part of what makes David Walliams’s stories special, and he appears here as Ben’s dad, with Miranda Hart as Ben’s mum. Obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing, they’re the ultimate source of mortification for any 11-year-old.

About this programme

Family comedy based on the children's novel by David Walliams. Schoolboy Ben is bored witless after being made to stay with his grandma. All she ever wants to do is play Scrabble and eat yucky cabbage soup. But it turns out there's a whole lot more to this OAP than cardigans and toffees when she tells him how she used to be an international jewel thief - and when she admits there was one heist she never quite managed in her heyday, the pair set out on a criminal adventure. Julie McKenzie stars as the shady senior citizen, with Walliams and Miranda Hart as the boys' ballroom-dancing parents, alongside Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and none other than Robbie Williams, with Reece Buttery as Ben.

Cast and crew


Julia McKenzie
Reece Buttery
David Walliams
Miranda Hart
Harish Patel
Mr Parker
Rob Brydon
Flavio Flavioli
Robbie Williams
The Queen
Joanna Lumley
Jocelyn Jee Esien
India Ria Amarteifio


Matt Lipsey
Executive Producer
Mark Freeland
Jo Sargent
David Walliams
Kevin Cecil
Andy Riley