Stig of the Dump revisited for Christmas – Sunderland academic records ‘Stig at Fifty’

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A CLASSIC children’s novel is being given the festive treatment on national radio to celebrate its 50th anniversary – thanks to a Sunderland academic.

Stig of the Dump is to be remembered on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day in ‘Stig at Fifty’.

The programme has been produced by Soundscape Productions the independent radio production company run by Andy Cartwright, who also runs the Sunderland University’s Radio Production and Management masters degree course.

Andy said: “It’s such a beautifully written story and so easy for children to read and, although it was written 50 years ago, it still appeals to children today.

“We have tried to reflect this interest in the book across the generations and also ask if it’s possible for parents to let their kids roam further afield like Barney and Stig in the book?”

Since it was first published, Stig of the Dump has never been out of print.

The book centres on an unlikely hero, a filthy caveman who communicates only in grunts and lives in an unstable chalk pit beyond the adult world of rules and conventions.

He is the perfect friend for bored and restless eight-year-old Barney, a boy on the margins, nagged by his grandmother, lectured to by his bossy sister and ambushed by a gang of ruffian older boys, the Snargets.

The show is presented by the award-winning children’s author, and University of Sunderland Honorary Graduate, David Almond, whose own book ‘Skellig’ also features a grubby and inarticulate other-worldly hero.

He will explore the appeal of Stig half a century after publication.

He meets the book’s author Clive King, who turns 90 next year, and discovers why readers are still so fascinated by Stig the prehistoric part-man/part-boy.

The programme also features Year 5 pupils from Hilton Primary School in the west end of Newcastle.

Stig at 50 is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day at 7.30am, and repeated at 10.30pm on Saturday, December 28.