Saturday, 1 September 2007

Five Go On A Saga Holiday

First up, I'm sorry if I don't smell quite so pleasant as usual. The spider-horse is still in the bath, and I have been unable to wash. I checked on Google, and it says spiders can live for up to a year. The only hope is that, since presumably they are not born the size of horses, this one must be at least a few months old already. Alternative accommodation may, however, have to be arranged. Fortunately I'm getting a new bathroom soon (from Q&B again - ha! My inane and mindless optimism never ceases to delight me), so it may just be a case of removing the spider-horse with the bath.

Onwards, however, and it seems that the week which saw the promise of the re-launch of the Wispa has another thrill up its sleeve - the re-launch of that ever-jolly quintet, the Famous Five. Not merely a remake of the old stories, ho no. According to today's Guardian (incidentally, on my weeks off I have discovered that newspapers are still available in their old-fashioned ink-on-paper format. How deliciously quaint. But I digress again.), there are plans to make a new TV series in which the Five are reunited in their middle age, to solve a new "complex modern mystery".

As a life-long Enid Blyton fan, I am almost hysterical with excitement. It's almost worth getting a TV for. But the Daily Mail (of which, one can be sure, it will turn out that Julian at least is an avid reader) sounds a note of caution: "There are fears that seeing the carefree crime-fighters saddled down with adult concerns - at least one of the team is likely to be divorced, say insiders - could destroy the youthful innocence of the brand."

Now, Guardian writer Marina Hyde rather callously hopes that it is Julian's marriage "that imploded", but I don't know. In the books, you will recall, it was Dick who always seemed to assert a strange attraction over the wandering gypsy girls - a power which, surely, can only lead to trouble. Julian, I suspect, became chief of police in a pleasant rural setting somewhere, but has now taken early retirement and devotes his time to giving road safety lessons to chavs in the local primary school. I have to agree with Hyde when she says she imagines Julian as being "not desperately keen on reality television, among several thousand other things". As ever, Julian's role in the new series will be to provide the ready cash (although probably for fast cars and international flights rather than ice creams and new torch batteries).

Dick, on the other hand, may well have have become the black sheep of the family for a time... his 'frightful' language, commented on by Anne in one book ("'Darn it!' said Dick. 'Dick!' said Anne, shocked to hear her brother using such a frightful swear word.") may well have taken him into rather less pleasant company. Of course, he'll have turned out all right in the end, after a sharp talking-to from Julian, and much pleading from Anne. Moreover, since at least one of the "new millenium" Five will need to be a forensics expert, my money for that one's on Dick.

Everyone will expect Anne to be the nice little housewife she was shaping up for, but this neglects to take into account the strength of her emotions when stirred. This is the girl who, in "Five on Kirrin Island Again" (book 6, I believe), abandoned a scoundrel at the bottom of a quarry with a broken ankle, shouting back over her shoulder 'you're a wicked, wicked man'. There was a firey heart in Anne, which any prospective husband will do well to have spotted. I'd say it's worth a bet that she at least had a fling with Alf the fisher-boy (you will remember him as the one who used to get George's boat ready each summer; never once was it ready when she wanted it, but always, always the paint had dried in time for them to row off and catch the kidnappers), but I can't imagine Julian allowing that to develop into anything more serious. No, Anne will have become a nurse, married a sensible and slightly older chap from the next village, and be happily settled in Kent. Of course, Anne will have her contacts from the past - and I don't think it's unreasonable to say that an old boyfriend might re-surface.

Incidentally, how any of the above three can be expected to turn out all right is, of course, a mystery - having spent their entire lives either at boarding school or on an island being chased by smugglers, scoundrels and the ubiquitous 'foreigners', with parents who turned up only briefly and infrequently.

And then, of course, there is George. Good grief. First, of course, we must remember that Timmy will no longer be with us. There must, naturally, be a descendant (otherwise it would be the Famous Four), but George will have had to weather the grief of seeing Timmy off to the great kennel in the sky, and can it be hoped that she will have come out the other side as a stronger, more mature person? Apparently a number of commentators have idly surmised that George will turn out to never have married (really, what gives them that idea? Or do I hear a civil partnership in the offing?). Aged 52, George, I suspect, is still a student. She's never quite got around to handing in her thesis (which is something to do with some kind of obscure art that nobody gives a toss about), but has a large house and vegetable garden in which she grows, amongst other less legal things, her own vegetables. As ever, George's role in the plot will be to do a lot of stamping around and throwing tantrums, during which she'll lob a 3-week-old copy of 'The Guardian' at Dick and it'll accidentally disappear down a rabbit hole. Some plot lines just keep re-surfacing.

George's parents will no doubt still be alive - Uncle Quentin simply by forgetting to die, and Aunt Fanny determinedly sticking by him, feeding him soup and tidying his 'important documents'. He will no doubt be aggrieved that his way of producing non-polluting energy from nothing (which, I assure you, was actually completed at the end of the afore-mentioned 'Five Go To Kirrin Island Again') has not been taken up by the world, but he has now settled for a quiet life and is working on 13-dimensional string theory instead.

One wonders, too, what kind of world the modern-day Famous Five will live in. No longer will it be acceptable for someone to be deemed a criminal merely because they are 'foreign' or beacuse they 'belong to a circus'. The local waifs who frequently turned up in rags and without fail found the secret entrance to the castle/high tower/cave/dungeon will now be knife-wielding chavs, more likely to block the Five in a rabbit hole and steal their wallets than to be won over by Dick's charm and turn out to know the local hills like the backs of their dirty hands. In any case, we can be sure that Julian's big car will have sat-nav.

And can you even still buy ginger beer?

1 comment:

Sam said...

ginger beer (or ale) is still a fine tipple available in all good multinational stores, with even better varieties available in your local shop (if it still exists)