Hard on the heels of reports that Winnie the Pooh is to get a Glasgow accent in a new version of the children's books, comes news that Noddy and The Famous Five are to be turned into Americans.
Trocadero, the entertainment group that bought the rights to Enid Blyton's fictional characters last year for pounds 15m, has unveiled plans to send the little boy with the bell on his hat to the US for the first time. Big Ears goes with him, but there is no chance of the Golliwogs making the trip.
Over 40 episodes of Noddy, made for the BBC in the early Nineties, are to be re-scripted for an American audience and over-dubbed with an American actor's voice.
"Inevitably some of the emphasis and language will change," said David Lane, managing director of the Enid Blyton company. "We translate Noddy into German, so it would be arrogant to think he doesn't need translating into American-English."
Trocadero and BBC Worldwide, which holds the broadcast rights to the Noddy stories, have signed a deal with America's Public Broadcasting Service to broadcast the new shows from next year. It will be the first foray into the US for any Blyton characters, although the books have sold hundreds of millions of copies in the rest of the world.
The Golliwogs, who have attracted accusations of racism because of their unsavoury character, never appeared in the Nineties versions of the series and so there is no need to be written out for the American market.
As well as Noddy, Trocadero is rewriting the Famous Five books for Americans. "I doubt that they will continue to say `golly gosh'," said Mr Lane. "It's more likely to be `gee whizz'." Paul McCann
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