Malory Towers (Season 4) – CBBC


It’s lovely to see this back for a fourth series.  It’s obviously proven to be a hit – so take that, all ye Blyton naysayers, especially the primary school teachers who used to moan about how much time I spent reading her books!

In the book, new girls Clarissa, Connie and Ruth are in the same form as Darrell & co, but the BBC have put them in the First Form with Felicity, June and Susan.  It’ll upset purists, but I can see why they’ve done it.   I can’t think of any mention of any other girls in that form, other than Jo who doesn’t appear until a later book, and it’d look a bit daft to have a form with only three girls in it!

Also, Darrell’s been made head of the entire Lower School, not just her own form, which gives her authority over Felicity and should make for some interesting sibling interaction.  But I assume that we’re still going to get the “canon” storylines of Connie’s behaviour towards Ruth, Gwen’s wish to be friends with Clarissa. and Darrell losing her temper.

Incidentally, Enid Blyton really muddled her form systems in the fourth book of the series!  We’d had the First Form, the Second Form and the Third Form, but then suddenly we had the Upper Fourth, with Ruth talking about moving up into the Lower Fifth.  Er, no.  If you’re using the Upper IV, Lower V system, Upper IV is the third year and Lower V is the fourth year, and the first and second years are Upper III and Lower IV respectively!  In this adaptation, they were just referred to as “the Fourth Form”!

Anyway, as I said, it’s great to have this back, and I look forward to watching it all!


Malory Towers Christmas special – CBBC


  This had nothing to do with the books, but it was a very enjoyable bit of festive fun.  I’m so pleased that the TV adaptations have been popular enough to merit a Christmas special.  I grew up in the days when the educational Establishment disapproved of Enid Blyton books, so it’s wonderful to see the iconic stories being rehabilitated into popular culture.   It’s also interesting to see the much-maligned character of Gwendoline Mary being fleshed out and made more sympathetic.

This was just a two-part special in which, for various reasons, the characters featured in the main series ended up spending the Christmas holidays at school, but it carried on the themes of friendship, togetherness and teamwork, which are what the TV adaptations have really emphasised.  And Matron sorting out a broken-down car, and saying that she (like my grandma) drove ambulances during the War (no need for rescue by passing males!), was a nice touch.  It won’t work for purists, because it had nothing to do with Enid Blyton’s writings, but the spirit of the stories was there, and it made for a really lovely hour’s watching.