Break out the ginger beer, whip up lashings of cream to go on scones, and prepare for jolly hockey sticks and a simply smashing time … for Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers has come to our TV screens. The BBC has made a series of the six novels.
Feminists disapprove, racist comments have been erased from her books, and Noddy and Big Ears can no longer sit in bed together, drink cocoa and feel gay, but the popularity of Enid Blyton lives on. Over 600 million copies of her books have been sold and she remains one of the world’s best-selling authors. Enid Blyton once said that she didn’t care what any critic over the age of 12 thought of her fiction, but from the 1940s librarians banned her works as too simplistic, badly written and “of little literary value”. The BBC was amongst her earliest detractors.
I don’t think I’d have wanted to meet Enid Blyton. Her childhood was a difficult one as her father left them for another woman and Enid blamed her mother for this. She was married twice and she had two daughters – their childhoods were far from the idyllic ones described in such books as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. Daughter Imogen has described her mother as “arrogant, insecure and pretentious”. There’s a good 2009 movie called Enid where the writer is excellently played by Helena Bonham Carter, and she comes across in that as an extremely unpleasant woman.
It seems that the new Malory Towers is faithful to the books. We will see the fabulously horrid Gwendoline Mary Lacey who declares “Girls only need jobs if they’re too ugly to catch a husband”, and heroine Darrell will no doubt be wielding a lacrosse stick with aplomb!
In Australia you can watch it on ABC iview.