First look at Harry Hill as Professor Branestawm in BBC’s Christmas family comedy

The madcap comedian plays the nutty professor in the BBC’s Yuletide special The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm written by Charlie Higson

Here is Harry Hill in a role he was perhaps born to play: that of the eccentric inventor Professor Branestawm.

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Hill leads a starry cast in Fast Show star Charlie Higson’s distillation of Norman Hunter’s classic children’s books into a 60-minute drama for BBC1 this Christmas.

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm brings to life the almost-blind Professor’s madcap scientific experiments in a plot fashioned by Higson around Hunter’s many short stories about his exploits.

Other characters include his highly-strung housekeeper Mrs Flittersnoop played by Vicki Pepperdine and loyal yet dim best friend Colonel Dedshott of the Catapult Cavaliers played by the Fast Show’s Simon Day.

The story revolves around Mrs Flittersnoop’s young science-obsessed niece Connie (Madeline Holliday) who comes to the rescue when local councillor Harold Haggerstone (David Mitchell) and a businessman played by Ben Miller conspire to wreck the Professor’s village with a “giant munitions factory right in the middle of the town”.

Higson revealed at a screening for the show on Thursday that he developed the character of Connie partly to provide a more engaging foil to the Professor but also to encourage children – especially young girls – into science.

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Hill also revealed that he had something in common with his character when he was a schoolboy inventor, often trying without success to make gunpowder with his friends.