Ethel and Ernest

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Ethel and Ernest
Ethel and Ernest Book Cover.jpg
Cover to 1999 Hardcover edition
Author Raymond Briggs
Illustrator Raymond Briggs
Country England
Language English
Genre Graphic Novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
7 October 1998
Media type Hardback
ISBN 0-224-06039-2
OCLC 41620728

Ethel and Ernest (subtitled "A True Story") is a graphic novel 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 simply a progression through the lives of the titular couple, from their courtship in the late 1920s to their deaths in the early 70s. Ethel is a lady's maid with middle-class aspirations and firm notions of respectable English behaviour; she becomes a housewife when she marries. Ernest, five years younger, is an easygoing milkman with socialist ideals and an enthusiastic interest in modern progress and technology. They live with their only child, Raymond, in a London suburb, through the Great Depression, World War II, the advent of television and other events. The book richly illustrates London working class life and concerns, during some of the most momentous social and political developments of the 20th century.[1]


Ethel and Ernest won the "Best Illustrated Book Of The Year" at the 1999 British Book Awards.[2]


TVCartoons Ltd, the animation company who made the film of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, is in negotiations to make a feature-length film of Ethel and Ernest. A 90-minute animatic (a filmed storyboard) has already been made, and the project was presented at "Cartoon Movie" in Lyon, France, on 6 March 2009. Veteran UK animation producer John Coates (TVC) and Camilla Deakin (Lupus Films Ltd) will be producing the film, with Robbie Little (Little Film Company) and Raymond Briggs as executive producers. On 16 September 2012 John Coates died, aged 84. Camilla Deakin and Lupus Films Ltd have now taken over as the producer and production company on the Ethel and Ernest film.[3]

Brenda Blethyn and Jim Broadbent are to provide the voices for a BBC animated adaptation of the book.[4]