Writer behind Paddington’s meeting with the Queen will be next festival director

Frank Cottrell-Boyce has been announced as Brighton Festival's next guest director <i>(Image: Submitted)</i>
Frank Cottrell-Boyce has been announced as Brighton Festival's next guest director (Image: Submitted)

A critically acclaimed author and screenwriter who helped to create Paddington’s meeting with the late Queen will be the guest director for next year’s Brighton Festival.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce will follow in the footsteps of previous guest directors Anish Kapoor, Kae Tempest, Lemn Sissay and most recently, Nabihah Iqba, as he prepares to put his stamp on the major arts festival.

Mr Cottrell-Boyce’s debut children's novel, Millions, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, which annually recognises a new and outstanding English-language book for children or young adults.

He is also the author of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, Cosmic, Framed, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and his latest novel published by Pan Macmillan, The Wonder Brothers. His books have been shortlisted for a multitude of prizes, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Whitbread Children's Fiction Award (now the Costa Book Award) and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

He is a judge for the BBC’s 500 Words competition and, along with Danny Boyle, he devised the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics.

He has written many hit films including 24 Hour Party People, The Railway Man and Goodbye Christopher Robin.


He has also written for Dr Who and wrote the ITV drama Stephen, based on the 1993 murder of black British teenager Stephen Lawrence. This year he received a BAFTA for being part of the team that brought to life Paddington meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Mr Cottrell-Boyce spoke of his excitement at his appointment.

“What a thrill and what a challenge to be asked to help put together Brighton Festival 2024,” he said.

“In the 70s Keith Waterhouse famously said ‘without putting your finger on it, you always get the feeling that Brighton is up to something’.  In 2024 I’m hoping that Brighton is up FOR something - for everything.

“Brighton’s a special place - with its love of liberty, style and the salty sea.

“Unlike nearly everywhere else in Britain, Brighton seems to look to the future. That spring in Brighton’s elegant step is hope. If we can celebrate that for a few days then maybe we can spread a little seaside illumination over the rest of the land.”

Mr Cottrell-Boyce is collaborating with the Brighton Festival programming team to develop a diverse and inclusive programme of events for 2024, which will be revealed on Thursday, February 15.

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, said: ‘When we look for a Guest Director of Brighton Festival we think about an artist who matches the eclecticism and open spirit of Brighton, is a brilliant collaborator with other artists and someone who naturally delights in the explosion of creativity that the Festival brings.

“There are few artists who fit that description better than Frank Cottrell-Boyce. His work speaks to children and adults alike, and for many of us he helped to define our nation at its best with the London Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2012.

“We are thrilled to be working with his inspiration and infectious curiosity and can’t wait to present the 2024 Brighton Festival programme.”

Brighton Festival 2024 will take place from Saturday, May 4 to Sunday, May 26.