Roald Dahl: Willy Wonka’s Charlie was originally black but changed for THIS shock reason

The 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the best loved children’s books of all time.

Having spawned the Gene Wilder classic movie and the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp reboot, the story continues to hold pop culture appeal.

Yesterday marked what would have been Dahl’s 101st birthday and his widow Liccy appeared on Radio 4 in an interview on her late husband.

She revealed: “His first Charlie that he wrote about, you know, was a little black boy. I’m sure that was influenced by America.”

However it seems the character was whitewashed by the author’s agent.

According to NME, Dahl’s biographer said: “It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea, when the book was first published, to have a black hero. She said: ‘People would ask why.’”

Dahl’s widow Liccy also expressed in the radio interview that the change was “a great pity”.

She said it would have been “wonderful” to have seen the story as Dahl had originally intended.

She also revealed that Dahl wasn’t a fan of Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie.

She said: “He wasn’t very happy about…the original with Gene Wilder.”