Ethel & Ernest

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Ethel & Ernest
Ethel and Ernest Book Cover.jpg
Cover to 1999 Hardcover edition
AuthorRaymond Briggs
IllustratorRaymond Briggs
GenreGraphic Novel
PublisherJonathan Cape
Publication date
7 October 1998
Media typeHardback

Ethel & Ernest (subtitled "A True Story") is a graphic novel and animated film by English author and illustrator Raymond Briggs. It tells the story of the lives of Briggs' parents from their first meeting in 1928 to their deaths in 1971.


The story is a chronological progression through poignant moments in the home lives of the titular couple, from when they first meet in 1928 to their deaths in 1971. Ethel, at first a lady's maid, with middle-class aspirations and firm notions of respectable behaviour, becomes a housewife when she marries, and later becomes a clerk in an office during the Second World War. Ernest, five years younger, is an easygoing milkman with socialist ideals and an enthusiastic interest in current affairs and the latest technology. They raise their son, Raymond, living in the same terraced house for 40 years, in a suburban street, through the Great Depression, World War II, the advent of television and other events.


Ethel & Ernest won the "Best Illustrated Book of the Year" at the 1999 British Book Awards.[1]

Film adaptation[edit]

The book was adapted into the feature-length hand-drawn animated film Ethel & Ernest, voiced by Brenda Blethyn, Jim Broadbent and others. It was premiered at the London Film Festival on 15 October 2016, had a cinema release starting on 28 October 2016, and was broadcast on BBC television on BBC One at 7:30pm on 28 December 2016.[2] It had its North American premiere at the 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival by its US distributors, and was chosen by an audience vote to be screened in the "Best of the Fest" on the final day.[3]

It featured the Paul McCartney song, In The Blink of an Eye[4].


  1. ^ British Book Awards - previous winners Archived 5 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Ethel & Ernest". BBC iPlayer. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Ethel & Ernest chosen on the audience vote for Palm Springs International Film Festival".
  4. ^ Macca And Creation In The Backyard (28 October 2016), Paul McCartney - In The Blink of an Eye (2016), retrieved 12 March 2018