The truth about how Noddy was framed

William Hartston
Thursday 19 June 1997 23:02

After almost 20 years, a case of wrongful conviction has been exposed in a prize-winning essay by a 14-year-old New Zealander. The Toytown One, also known as Noddy, has been found innocent of all the charges of political incorrectness on which he was convicted in the 1970s.

The new evidence, entitled "Was Noddy Framed", is based on a statistical analysis by Tom Hallet-Hook of all 23 of Enid Blyton's Noddy books.

His conclusions, which won him a mathematics competition in Auckland, reveal that contrary to general belief very little crime in Toytown was committed by the golliwogs; Tessie Bear, often portrayed by feminists as a poor role model, is assertive and full of initiative; and the milkman, often criticised for Noddy-abuse, in fact hit him on the head only three times.

Since the first accusations of Toytown political incorrectness were made in the 1960s, Noddy and his friends, in print and on television, have undergone several changes.

First the golliwogs were changed into goblins, then all references were exorcised to Noddy and Big Ears snuggling up in the same bed, while Noddy himself was no longer allowed to feel "queer".

Even PC Plod was not PC enough, and had to stop being so aggressive. Yet, even without the golliwogs, Hampshire County Council deemed Noddy to be "too sensitive" an issue to send out information to its schools on a stage production of the stories in 1993.

When negotiations began two years ago to screen a television version of the Noddy stories in America, Big Ears ran into problems. The network showing the programmes "could not be seen to sustain discrimination" against people with large ears. So they called him White Beard instead.

Sales of the Noddy books appear unaffected by all the controversy. Last year, Trocadero plc, paid pounds 13m for the remaining 43 years of copyright to the works of Enid Blyton, who died in 1968. Her books continue to sell more than 8 million copies a year; Noddy alone has accounted for more than 100 million sales since his first appearance in 1949.

Now his readers can relax in the knowledge that all charges against him are unjustified. Only 6 per cent of all the naughtiness in the Noddy books is committed by golliwogs and all allegations of a sadomasochistic relationship between the Milkman and Noddy is unfounded.

"Also," Tom Hallet-Hook explains, "Noddy's head was made out of wood and they explained that it didn't hurt."

Big Ears was not available for comment.

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