The Third Leader: Another world

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The Independent Online

Golly Gosh! Or, rather, Yeah, Yeah, Whatever: The Famous Five are about to be modernised for a new animated TV series. So, no more lashings of ginger beer, ice cream, or anything, I'm afraid, as fears grow for Julian (Jools now, surely), George (G being punchier, still asexual, but avoiding unhappy political associations), and Dick (please!).

Actually, following the likes of Five Go Mad In Dorset and ...on Mescalin, and the cover of the 1978 TV series theme by the Helsinki punk band Widows, one does rather feel that this part of Ms Blyton's oeuvre has had enough adapting already.

Why not give the Secret Seven a crack at world celebrity? They are day pupils, not posh boarders, the gender division (4:3) is much more acceptable, and good old Scamper is far more sympathetic than smarty-paws Timmy. Mind you, as Mr Hari Menon has pointed out on the excellent, the initials are unfortunate.

Nor is my taste always widely shared. Barney the Dinosaur, for example, is greatly loved, while I have recently been much entertained by a ring-tone featuring his song - "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family" - and a loud burst from a sub-machine gun.

And my all-time favourite, Bobby Brewster, Bus Conductor, is now barely known; although, delightfully, he is listed by one second-hand bookshop next to Omar Khayyam, as therein lie the last words on adults and childish entertainment: "Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose! That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close! The Nightingale that in the Branches sang: Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows?"