David Weir

David Weir, the guy who wrote the English scripts for 39 episodes of Monkey in the late 1970s


[Written by Nikki White for the Monkey Multiverse Article in 1981]

David Weir: Director
David Weir is a 45-year old Londoner of Celtic descent with not a drop of Oriental blood and who doesn't even speak Japanese or Chinese. His interest in things oriental goes back only to 1976 when he began work on THE WATER MARGIN adaptation. Previously, he has written scripts for THE ONEDIN LINE and THE LOTUS EATERS. With both Japanese series, he was given a translation of the original dialogue and reworked it to make it more colloquial and approachable to the general public, often, as in the case of MONKEY, incorporating idiomatic English humour to fit the actions of the characters - dialogue which has no equivalent in the original. For instance, in one episode, a Taoist magician carries off Tripitaka on his cloud and Monkey gives chase on his own cloud. After shooting down the Taoist's cloud with a type of home-made laser, Monkey speeds to rescue the falling Tripitaka, catching him neatly with a "Howzat!" to which Tripitaka replies, "Well caught." Only an Englishman could have written that exchange, as cricket and cricketing terms are an unknown quantity in Japan.

Update (7 July 2011)

David Weir passed away on 25 June 2011. He was a very talented writer, whose English adaptation of Monkey bas been enjoyed by millions of Monkey fans all over the world. His contribution to the success of Monkey, from the time it first hit our screens in 1979, should never be understated, or taken for granted. Monkey was fundamentally, in its original Japanese version, filled with comedy, and while much of the comedy was very visual, the Japanese script contained humour which would not have necessarily appealed to Western fans.

David Weir, in his own unique way, pain-stakingly crafted every line of dialogue, every narrator quote, embracing the story's roots, and at the same time, tailoring it to appeal to a Western audience.

Take a few moments to browse Matt Sephton's Monkey (Magic) Quotes and Monkey Narrator Quotes and reread the classic lines that made Monkey the show that it is. This was all David Weir's work.

Most remarkable of all is that, over 30 years on from when Monkey was first broadcast, all over the internet and in real life, people of all ages are still asking about, and quoting, the legendary introduction to each Monkey episode - again, all David Weir's work.

David Weir was a highly-respected writer whose work included not only Monkey, but scripts for many other TV shows and films. For more information about him, see David Weir (writer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Finally, as a tribute to this great writer, I'm including the introduction to Monkey here, as written by David Weir. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

In the worlds before Monkey, primal chaos reigned.
Heaven sought order.
But the phoenix can fly only when its feathers are grown.
The four worlds formed again and yet again,
As endless aeons wheeled and passed.
Time and the pure essences of Heaven,
the moisture of the Earth,
the powers of the sun and the moon
All worked upon a certain rock, old as creation.
And it became magically fertile.
That first egg was named "Thought".
Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, said,
"With our thoughts, we make the world."
Elemental forces caused the egg to hatch.
From it then came a stone monkey.
The nature of Monkey was irrepressible!

Related web sites:

  • Monkey Interviews - David Weir - Interview questions (and the answers obtained so far) for David Weir, the guy who wrote the English scripts for Monkey. Also includes actual interviews that have been carried out.

  • Back to the Monkey Dubbing Cast / Crew page