Mr Benn Author David McKee Dies Aged 87

He sent a card to his 'Festive Road' Putney address every year

David McKee
David McKee

David McKee, the man responsible for the Mr Benn series of books, has died aged 87 according to his publisher.

Andersen Press has released a statement to confirm the "beloved" author's death "with great sadness".

It continues, “All at Andersen Press hope his spirit lives on for many more generations through his joyful, heartfelt stories."

Born in Devon, the children’s author and illustrator, had lived in Putney and chose to base his character in Festive Road, the word ‘Festing’ being considered less appealing.

Every morning, Mr Benn would leave his house wearing a bowler hat and black suit and proceed to a costume shop where he would depart through a magic door for an adventure based on the outfit he chose.

The books were adapted for a hugely popular animated TV series originally broadcast by the BBC in the seventies.

When he was asked about the popularity of Mr Benn in an interview with the Radio Times in 2021 he said, “Mr Benn endures, I think, because people like the idea of being able to escape to another life. And at their heart they’re old-fashioned stories which last. The elements that make up the episodes – the voice, the music, the story – are all simple elements that endure.”

Up until this year, Hugh Thompson, the current owner of 54 Festing Road, the house where David McKee lived, received a New Year’s card from his current home in France.

David McKee's card to mark the beginning of 2022
David McKee's prophetic card to mark the beginning of 2022

The fiftieth anniversary of Mr Benn was marked last year and Hugh shared the hand drawn cards sent to him.

In all he sold 10 million books including of his creation Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Spot the Dog books as well as King Rollo.

David's spookily accurate take on what 2021 had in store
David's spookily accurate take on what 2021 had in store

He also illustrated books by other authors, including some of the later Paddington books and Forrest Wilson's Super Gran.

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April 7, 2022