The Famous Five

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Settle down with your macaroons, cucumber sandwiches and LASHINGS of Ginger beer to enjoy our overview of this 1970's version of the childrens classic.

The Famous Five

In 1978 Southern Television presented a children’s TV series based on Enid Blyton’s enormously popular “Famous Five” books.  Adapting the Famous Five for the small screen was something which to my knowledge had not been attempted before (although HTV created a newer version which began in 1997).   The series was based firmly on the original books; all but three of the novels were used in the two seasons which ran, but the story lines were re-set in the 1970’s.  This gives a strangely out-of-time feeling to the show.  The children basically still exist in a bygone world of steam trains and Romany caravans but they wear flares and carry their trademark ‘bicycle lamp’ style torches

At first glance, this possibly does not look like a classic television show, but it is worth a second look.  Firstly, some of the episodes were adapted by Richard Carpenter (better known for his work on Robin of Sherwood, Dick Turpin and The Scarlet Pimpernel) and the respected Sid Hayers directed the second series.  Secondly, it attracted a wide-ranging Guest Cast, a list of which is given at the end of this piece.   It is nice to see that a Children’s series was attracting respected and popular actors such as Patrick Troughton, Geoffrey Bayldon and Shane Rimmer, and the series is worth watching just to see who will turn up next.  When regular convention guest Michael Sheard appears as an extra in one episode then you know you must be on to something!

The main cast, Marcus Harris (Julian), Gary Russell (Dick), Jennifer Thanisch (Anne) and Michelle Gallagher (George) no longer remain in the acting profession, although Gary Russell should be a familiar name to Doctor Who fans.

I managed to pick up a few copies of the videos cheap in a local “Poundstretcher”.  If you have a few spare pennies you could probably do worse than rediscovering one of the 70’s classic children’s TV Series.  I bet you’ll be singing the annoyingly catchy theme song for days as well!


Series Information 

Title                                                       Aired                               Guest Cast   
Five On Kirren Island (Pt 1)03/07/78        James Villiers
Five on Kirren Island  (Pt 2)10/07/78                            as above
Five Go Adventuring Again                 17/07/78    Pearl Hackney, Peter Dennis    
Five Go To Smuggler’s Top (Pt 1)24/07/78                             Ron Pember, Ronald Fraser   
Five Go To Smuggler’s Top (Pt 2)31/07/78                             as above
Five Go Off In A Caravan                 07/08/78   Brian Glover, Sean Lynch
Five Go Off To Camp (pt 1)14/08/78  Cyril Luckham
Five Go Off to Camp  (pt 2)   21/08/78        as above
Five Go On A Hike Together             04/09/78     Prentis Hancock, Lally Percy
Five Go To Mystery Moor                 Alexis Hurst, Michael Sheard
 Five On A Secret Trail                         18/09/78           Diana Lambert
Five Go To Billycock Hill                    25/09/78          Geoffrey Bayldon, Gretchen Franklin
Five Go To Finniston Farm  02/10/78    Shane Rimmer,  Peter Copely

Series Two

Five Get Into Trouble (Pt One)    19/11/78                                 Stephen Chase, Brian Croucher
Five Get Into Trouble (Pt 2) 26/11/78      as above
 Five get Into a Fix                                03/12/78                                 Maurice Kauffman
Five Are Together Again (Pt 1) 10/12/78             Kenneth Cope, David Rappaport
Five Are Together Again (Pt 2) 17/12/78    as above
Five Have A Wonderful Time   31/12/78   Stephen Greif, Leon Eagles
Five Fall Into Adventure (Pt 1)  27/06/79     Geoffrey Moon
Five Fall Into Adventure (Pt 2)     04/07/79     as above
Five Run Away Together                   11/07/79                                 Patrick Troughton,  Michael McVey
Five Go To Demon’s Rocks (Pt 1) 18/07/79         Paul Curran, Timothy Bateson
Five Go To Demon’s Rocks (Pt 2)  25/07/79     As above
Five Go Down To The Sea (Pt 1)   01/08/79        Rupert Graves,  Dan Meadon
Five Go Down To The Sea (Pt 2)  08/08/79     As Above        


    Karon Hollis                                                                                               











Page Last Updated Sunday, February 13, 2005 at 12:32:45