Television Heaven, The British Film Institute, and The Famous Five…

Well, it’s as if I have stepped back into my happy youth. I still have many of the 21 books of The Famous Five by Enid Blyton in my private collection collecting dust, just waiting for Adrian and Anya to turn the pages and discover an enchanting world of picnic teas and Uncle Quentin. But now, there is a revelation and a redeemed salvation for me to explore alone… Ah’ you see life does turn a full circle… A full circle of magical wonderful escape and of complete and utter pleasure…

Now, Enid Blyton fans, young and old alike, are in for a nostalgic treat when the BFI releases on DVD two rare film serials made in the 1950s and 1960s of the much-loved Famous Five adventure stories. Filmed mainly on location in Dorset, both serials were made by the Children’s Film Foundation. They were originally shown at cinemas around the country, and all over the world. Both volumes feature original illustrations by Eileen Soper on the sleeves and contain comprehensive booklets with essays and biographies. Contributors include Enid Blyton expert Norman Wright, author of The Famous Five: Everything you ever wanted to know!; BFI Curator Vic Pratt and Natalie Morris, Senior Curator of BFI Special Collections.

Five on a Treasure Island, which stays true to the spirit of Enid Blyton’s perennially popular first Famous Five novel, is a ripping adventure tale in eight exciting instalments. The author herself helped to cast this serial which follows the celebrated chums as they search for buried treasure in the ruins of Kirrin Castle. Will the intrepid Five manage to foil dastardly antique shop owner Luke Undown’s desperate attempt to steal Kirrin’s treasure from under Uncle Quentin’s nose? Produced by Rank Screen Services Ltd. Story by Enid Blyton. Director Gerald Landau. Producer Frank Wells. Music Jack Beaver. With: Rel Grainer, Richard Palmer, Gillian Harrison, John Bailey.

Five Have a Mystery to Solve, the Children’s Film Foundation’s second Famous Five serial – with a new cast – sees the Five head off to the discover the secrets of the closely-guarded Whispering Island. Befriending young Wilfred, whose strange gifts include an ability to communicate with animals; the gang find themselves in grave danger when they try to find the truth behind the mystery. Made by Rayant Pictures Ltd. Story by Enid Blyton. Screenplay by Michael Barnes. Directed by Ernest Morris. Produced by John Durst. With: Michael Balfour, Keith Pyott, Michael Wennink, David Palmer, Darryl Read.

Five on a Treasure Island (1957) and Five Have a Mystery.  

Courtesy of Television Heaven and The British Film Institute.

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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