6/101 Votes Alchetron
Publication date 7 October 1998
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Genres Graphic novel, Biography
3/5 The Guardian
Media type Hardback
Originally published 7 October 1998
Illustrator Raymond Briggs
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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 simply a progression through the lives of the titular couple, from their courtship in the late 1920s to their deaths in 1971. 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.
Ethel & Ernest won the "Best Illustrated Book of the Year" at the 1999 British Book Awards.
The book was turned into a feature-length hand-drawn animated film, 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.