Detailed Pedia

Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Cottrell-Boyce, 2015 at international literature festival berlin
Born (1959-09-23) 23 September 1959 (age 61)
Bootle, Liverpool, England
OccupationScriptwriter, author
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
Periodca. 1984–present
GenreScreenplays, children's novels
Notable awardsCarnegie Medal
Guardian Prize

Frank Cottrell-Boyce[1] (born 23 September 1959)[2] is an English screenwriter, novelist and occasional actor, known for his children's fiction and for his collaborations with film director Danny Boyle. He has achieved fame as the writer for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and for sequels to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, a children's classic by Ian Fleming.[3]

Cottrell-Boyce has won two major British awards for children's books, the 2004 Carnegie Medal for Millions, which originated as a film script, and the 2012 Guardian Prize for The Unforgotten Coat, which was commissioned by a charity.[3][4]

Personal life

Cottrell-Boyce was born in 1959 in Bootle, Liverpool. He moved to Rainhill,[5] while still in primary school to a Catholic family.[6] He attended St Bartholomew's Primary School in Rainhill[7][circular reference] and West Park Grammar School.[5] He was greatly influenced by reading Moomins growing up [8]

He read English at Keble College, Oxford, where he went on to earn a doctorate. He wrote criticism for the magazine Living Marxism. As a result, there was supposedly always a copy of the magazine on sale in the newsagent set of long-running British soap Coronation Street, while Cottrell Boyce was on the writing staff of that programme.

The then Frank Boyce met Denise Cottrell, a fellow Keble undergraduate, and they married in Keble College chapel. Together they have seven children.[9] He is also a patron of the Insight Film Festival,[10] a biennial, interfaith festival held in Manchester, UK, to make positive contributions to understanding, respect and community cohesion.[11] His favourite foods are fish finger sandwiches, marmite and wine gums.


After he met Michael Winterbottom, the two collaborated on Forget About Me. Winterbottom made five further films based on screenplays written by Cottrell-Boyce, Butterfly Kiss, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Claim, 24 Hour Party People and Code 46. Their 2005 collaboration, A Cock and Bull Story, is their last according to Cottrell-Boyce, who asked that his contribution be credited to "Martin Hardy", a pseudonym. He told Variety, "I just had to move on ... what better way to walk away than by giving Winterbottom a good script for free?"[12]

Other film directors Cottrell-Boyce has worked with include Danny Boyle (Millions), Alex Cox (Revengers Tragedy), Richard Laxton (Grow Your Own) and Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie).

Cottrell-Boyce has been praised by Roger Ebert as one of the few truly inventive modern-day screenwriters. He has spoken against the "three-act structure" and the "hero's journey" formulas, which are often regarded as axiomatic truths in the business[13][clarification needed].

In addition to original scripts, Cottrell-Boyce has also adapted novels for the screen and written children's fiction. His first novel Millions was based on his own screenplay for the film of the same name; it was published by Macmillan in 2004. Cottrell-Boyce won the annual Carnegie Medal from the British librarians, recognising it as the year's best children's book published in the U.K.[14][15] His next novel Framed, he made the shortlist for both the Carnegie[16] and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. He adapted it as a screenplay for a 2009 BBC television film. He made the Carnegie shortlist again for Cosmic (2008).[16] In 2011, he was commissioned to write a sequel to the Ian Fleming children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,[17] which was published in October 2011 as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again[18] In addition to Coronation Street, he wrote many episodes of the soap opera Brookside, as well as its spin-off Damon and Debbie.

He wrote and staged his first original theatre production Proper Clever at the Liverpool Playhouse during the city's European Capital of Culture Year, in 2008. On 18 September 2010, he co-presented the Papal Visit at Hyde Park with TV personality Carol Vorderman. In June 2012, he assumed the position of Professor of Reading (the first such professorship) at Liverpool Hope University.[19]

Cottrell-Boyce was the writer[5][20][21] of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, whose storyline he based on Shakespeare's The Tempest.[19] He collaborated with director Danny Boyle and other members of the creative team, including designer Mark Tildesley,[20] in the development of the story and themes, and wrote "short documents that told the story of each segment"[22] to provide context for choreographers, builders and other participants. He also wrote the brochure,[20][22] the stadium announcements[20] and the media guide for presenter Huw Edwards.[5][22]

Three months later, Cottrell-Boyce won the 2012 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Unforgotten Coat.[4] That story of a crosscultural friendship was inspired by a Mongolian girl he met as a writer visiting her school, whose family was subsequently deported by the British immigration office. It was commissioned by Reader Organisation of Liverpool and 50,000 copies were given away.[23] The Guardian Prize is judged by a panel of British children's writers and recognises the year's best book by an author who has not yet won it. Interviewed by the sponsoring newspaper, Cottrell-Boyce told The Guardian that "I'm definitely a children's writer[;] that's what I want to be. I'm always trying to get rid of everything else. ... The movies I'm doing are ones that have been on the blocks for a long time."[3]

Cottrell-Boyce was made an Honorary Doctor of Literature at Edge Hill University on 16 July 2013.[24] In 2014, Cottrell-Boyce wrote an episode of Doctor Who, titled "In the Forest of the Night". He also wrote the second episode of the tenth series, "Smile".[25] In September 2015, Cottrell-Boyce held the keynote speech at the Children´s and Young Adult Program of the 15th international literature festival berlin.[26]

In January 2018, he was on the victorious Keble College, Oxford University Challenge "famous alumni" team; he got almost all of the points scored by Keble (total score 240) and was lionized on social media as a consequence; Reading University scored 0 in that game, thus making television history.[27]


  • Millions (2005)
  • Framed (2005)
  • Cosmic (2008)
  • Desirable (2008)
  • The Unforgotten Coat (2011)[28]
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again (2011)[29]
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time (2012)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon (2013)
  • The Astounding Broccoli Boy (2015)
  • Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth (2016)
  • Runaway Robot (2018)


Writing credits

Awards and nominations

Year Award Work Category Result Reference
1993 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award Coronation Street TV - Original Drama Serial (with Paul Abbott, Martin Allen, Ken Blakeson, Tom Elliott, Barry Hill, Stephen Mallatratt, Julian Roach, Adele Rose, Patrea Smallacombe, John Stevenson, Peter Whalley, Mark Wadlow and Phil Woods) Won
1999 British Academy Film Awards Hilary and Jackie Best Screenplay - Adapted Nominated
Golden Satellite Award Best Motion Picture Screenplay - Adaption Nominated
2001 British Independent Film Award The Claim Best Screenplay Nominated
2004 Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival Code 46 Best Screenplay Won
2005 British Independent Film Award Millions Best Screenplay Won
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Category Nominated
2007 Chlotrudis Awards A Cock and Bull Story Best Adapted Screenplay Won
2014 Australian Film Critics Association Awards The Railway Man Best Screenplay (with Andy Paterson) Nominated
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Script (with Andy Paterson) Won
2015 Australian Film Institute Award Best Adapted Screenplay (with Andy Paterson) Won


  • 2004: Buch des Monats des Instituts für Jugendliteratur/Book of the Month by the Institute for Youth Literature (Germany), Millions
  • 2004: Carnegie Medal, Millions[14][15]
  • 2004: Luchs des Jahres (Germany), Millions
  • 2004: Eule des Monats (Germany), Millions
  • 2005: Branford Boase Award, shortlist, Millions
  • 2005: Carnegie Medal, shortlist, Framed[16]
  • 2006: Die besten 7 (Germany), Framed
  • 2008: Guardian Prize, shortlist, Cosmic
  • 2009: Carnegie Medal, shortlist, Cosmic[16]
  • 2011: Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award, Honors, Cosmic
  • 2011: Costa Book Awards, shortlist, The Unforgotten Coat


  1. ^ "Cottrell-Boyce". Twitter.
  2. ^ "COTTRELL-BOYCE, Frank", Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2009 ; online edn, Nov 2009 [1]. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
  3. ^ a b c "A life in writing: Frank Cottrell Boyce". Susanna Rustin. The Guardian 26 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
  4. ^ a b Guardian children's fiction prize 2012 (top page). theguardian. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  5. ^ a b c d Kilmurray, Andrew (2 August 2012). "Frank Cottrell-Boyce: 'St Helens' DNA was woven into Olympic Games Opening Ceremony'". Times Online. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  6. ^ Craig, Amanda (6 June 2008). "Screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce's new children's book Cosmic is his best yet. Amanda Craig meets him". Times Online. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  7. ^ Rainhill
  8. ^ "great lives". radio 4. bbc.
  9. ^ "Harper Collins Authors & Illustrators: Frank Cottrell-Boyce biography". 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  10. ^ "People - Insight Film Festival - Faith in Film". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  11. ^ 'Five questions with… John Forresst, Creative Times, 6 March 2013 Archived 4 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Dawtrey, Adam. "Phantom scribe gets BIFA nom". Variety. Archived from the original on 28 June 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  13. ^ "How to write a screenplay". 9 November 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  14. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 2004) Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  15. ^ a b "Press releases for the 2004 Awards, presented in 2005 " Archived 6 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Press Desk. CILIP. 2012-08-18.
  16. ^ a b c d Press Desk (directory). CILIP. Retrieved 2012-08-18. Quote: "media releases relating to the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards in date order." (2002 to 2006 releases concern 2001 to 2005 awards.)
  17. ^ Brown, Mark (23 March 2011). "Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to fly again". The Guardian. London.
  18. ^ Lacey, Josh (15 October 2011). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce – review". The Guardian. London.
  19. ^ a b Martin Wainwright (18 June 2012). "Cosmic professor". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d Frank Cottrell Boyce (29 July 2012). "The night we saw our mad, fantastical dreams come true". The Observer. London. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  21. ^ Tracy McVeigh and Owen Gibson (28 July 2012). "London 2012: Danny Boyle thrills audiences with inventive Olympics opening ceremony". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  22. ^ a b c Cottrell Boyce, Frank (28 July 2012). "An Interview with Frank Cottrell Boyce". Today (Interview). Interviewed by John Humphrys.
  23. ^ Alison Flood (24 October 2012). "Frank Cottrell Boyce wins Guardian children's fiction prize". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  24. ^ "GFrank Cottrell-Boyce receives honorary award".
  25. ^ Fullerton, Huw (14 June 2016). "Matt Lucas returns to Doctor Who for series 10". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Children´s and Young Adult Program – internationales literaturfestival berlin". Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  27. ^ Smyth, Chris (2018). "Universally challenged: Reading alumni team gets zero". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  28. ^ Walker Books. ISBN 978-1-4063-3385-5
  29. ^ Macmillan Children's Books ISBN 978-0-230-75773-8

External links

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