Child's play: Ricky Gervais's first book tops chart

Ricky Gervais, who achieved comic stardom with his Bafta-winning series
The Office, is on the brink of success in a very different field - as the author of children's books.

Ricky Gervais, who achieved comic stardom with his Bafta-winning series The Office, is on the brink of success in a very different field - as the author of children's books.

Flanimals, the comedian's first foray into cartoon books, featuring a menagerie of wacky creatures, is not officially published until tomorrow, but the publisher Faber & Faber has already ordered a reprint following an initial print run of 100,000.

A promotional push at the weekend - with appearances on Parkinson and Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show - also helped Gervais's book go to the top of Amazon.co.uk's pre-order chart. "On my first attempt at literature I go straight in at number one. I feel just like Hear'Say," Gervais quipped, comparing himself with the band that won the ITV talent contest Pop Stars - and promptly flopped.

Although Flanimals is aimed at children, it appears to be fans of adult comedy who are ordering it in their droves. Customers who have pre-ordered the book from Amazon have also bought DVDs of The Office, Little Britain and Monty Python. "It seems it is fans of Ricky Gervais who are buying it rather than mums for their kids," a spokeswoman for the internet retailer said.

Kate Beal, the children's sales manager at Faber & Faber, said that ordering a reprint at such an early stage was highly unusual. "In this season with all the big Christmas books out and the Booker shortlist as well, coming top of the Amazon pre-order chart is really important for us," she said.

Gervais this year became the first British star to win a television comedy acting award at the Golden Globes in the US. He also won the Bafta for best comedy performance, while The Office won best situation comedy for the third year in a row. He admitted that his fame had helped get his book published. "I've been trying to do it for about six years, but nobody answered the door until I knocked on it with four Baftas."

The comedian added that Flanimals was based in part on his zoological knowledge. "I've been interested in zoology as long as I can remember. I actually went to university to study biology but changed courses after two weeks to avoid the 9 o'clock lectures. I did philosophy instead. They both came in useful for this book," he said.

The star of The Office is not the first celebrity to pursue a new career in children's literature. Madonna has quickly followed the success of her first book, The English Roses, with a series of children's titles, while Sarah Ferguson and Prince Charles have turned their hand to writing for the young.

Gervais's literary creations include the Plamglotis, a creature born without feet who swallows its hands to walk on while looking for food, but when it finds food cannot eat because its mouth is already full. Flanimals was illustrated by Rob Steen, a Los Angeles designer.

A lucrative Christmas beckons for the comic, whose DVD The Office: Christmas Specials is 10th in the Amazon pre-order chart.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones