by Peter Griffith


Billy lives in dread of his mother (who wants him to wash and to dress neatly) and his father (who beats him if he is disobedient). Then he meets Gerald – a tame gorilla! Billy soon finds that Gerald is a real friend – gentle, helpful and reliable. But none of the adults in Billy's life shares his enthusiasm for the hairy giant. The local shopkeeper throws Billy and Gerald out of his shop – the schoolteacher Mrs Snootly is horrified to find a gorilla in her classroom – Billy's father is terrified – and in the end the army are sent to kill Gerald. Where can Billy find a home for his gorilla – a place where Gerald can live in safety?


Billy's Friend is a plea for tolerance towards foreigners: Gerald has a dark skin and doesn't speak our language, but he is far less aggressive than most human beings.


Photos of 'Billy's Friend'



Extract from the script 'Billy's Friend'

Mr. N: Billy, you give that magazine back this minute! Or I call the police...Or I tell your father!
Billy: I haven't got your magazine, really...I...oh no! Gerald – put that back – I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Noodleton. It's not me. It's my friend here.
Mr. N: Friend? I don't see anyone.
Billy: No...he's gone again.
Mr. N: Billy, this is terrible. You tell silly stories about a friend, and you try to steal my magazines. I must tell your father.
Billy: No, please, don't tell my father. You see, I really have got a friend here. My friend Gerald...Keep it back!
Mr. N: Who are you talking to there? Let me see...Aaaaaaaaaarrrrgh! Go away! Go away you horrible great hairy thing! Aaaaaaaargh! Help! Help! Take that thing away from me! Help! Catch it, catch it! It's horrible! It's dangerous! No – don't let it come near me!
Billy: It's all right. He's quite friendly. Please be quiet. You're frightening him.
Mr. N: Keep that thing away from me!
Billy: It's all right. He's not dangerous. Really.
Mr. N: Now you just take that horrible animal away from here!
Billy: Come on Gerald – it's time for us to go.