Saturday, 14 November 2009

Enid



I've just found out that on Monday of next week (17th) there is a 90-minute biopic of Enid Blyton starring Helena Bonham Carter in the title role airing on BB4 (apologies to those without access to the BBC or iplayer). More information about the programme can be found here. Enid Blyton's books were a huge part of my childhood and I would love to know more about the woman herself as I know little, if anything. I do know that I regularly pass a blue plaque commemorating her in Dulwich, South-East London, where she lived as a child. My first Enid Blyton books -the first few Famous Five- were bought by my aunt in the children's department of Harrod's on a visit I made to London many years ago, which is a fond memory. I am interested that this biopic focuses on her dual challenging roles of mother and writer, especially after having recently read a fictionalised account of that same struggle in The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. This biopic is part of a three-part series entitled Women we Loved devoted to iconic artistic females in Britain: Enid Blyton, Gracie Fields and Margot Fonteyn; I am excited to see how the careers of these women and the issues they face are conveyed onscreen.

I know that after viewing Enid I will be wanting to reread some of my beloved Blyton favourites, most likely the school stories.

The below still of Enid having a picnic with young readers makes me want lashings and lashings of ginger beer.





28 comments:

Vivienne said...

How exciting. Thanks for sharing this. I would have missed this otherwise. I have read a couple of biographies on Enid Blyton and really enjoyed them, so I can't wait to see this.

Sarah said...

Oh I loved Enid Blyton so much! It was such a disappointment to learn in later life that she was a bit of a nightmare (like Roald Dahl, sob!).

My first book of hers was a Famous Five but I think that my favourites were the Malory Tower series. I longed to do 'tricks' like Alicia and have midnight feasts on the playing fields.

Her books were very bigoted though weren't they? Later reading has been quite sobering. Lots of mentions of 'dirty gypsies' and posh children correcting the pronunciation of americans etc...

savidgereads said...

Lashings of ginger beer or pink lemonade hoorah! I didnt know that this was on, will be watching it without question.

I dont know whether I will be rushing to read more Blyton after, though it is time I read Looking for Enid by Duncan McLaren!!

Paperback Reader said...

Vivienne, you're welcome. I was so excited to learn about it that I had to share. I'm looking forward to watching it.

Sarah, I try to leave the author out of anything I am reading although sometimes that is easier than other.

I ADORE the Malory Towers and St Clare's series - I desperately wanted midnight feats with cakes sent from mum!

Some of what she wrote was incredibly bigoted (um, golliwogs?) but very much a product of its time. I'll be interested to see how offensive I find her prejudices as an adult.

Simon, it's thanks to Polly that I found out and I am so glad! I love rereading childhood favourites.

Karen said...

Tales of Toyland by Blyton was the very first book I read all by myself so I have very fond memories of her writing as well. The Faraway Tree series would have to be my favourite I think - talk about taking me to another world!! Just magical.

Sarah said...

Oh god, have obviously blanked all mentions of golliwogs out. You are right though, if we took all authors' lives into account then we wouldn't read any books ever. (Or indeed, watch any films or listen to music.)

I had forgotten about the St Clare's twins. Did you ever read the Trebizon books?

Mrs. B. said...

oh, I really want to see this! I'll probably have to wait for a dvd copy. Thanks for posting about it. I doubt I would have known otherwise.

Kals said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kals said...

I grew up with Blyton! She was my introduction to the great world of English writing and I miss her simple yet wonderful books.

Her descriptions of food, the midnight feasts, the scones, the lemonade, Timmy the dog, Kirrin island - oh gosh- I still remember how much I used to love them! Malory Towers, St. Clare's, the Famous Five are some of my favourites.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hollywood/news-interviews/Enid-Blyton-was-an-adulterous-bully-/articleshow/5227994.cms

I do feel really sorry and I almost don't believe it when I read articles like these. Sigh.

I can't get the BBC I Player though so I'll have to wait for it to come on YouTube or be telecast here :( But I'll be looking forward to your review =)

verity said...

I am so excited about this so thanks for reminding me that it's on - I'll be taping it to watch at thee weekend. You really must read Barbara Stoney's biog....

Book pusher said...

Hope we get this in Australia, love these kinds of dramas, Thanks for the heads up.

Paperback Reader said...

Karen, they were magical. I loved The Secret Island so much but it was always the childish domesticity that amused me and what they ate and how they made it!

Sarah, exactly - there would be nothing left to read/watch/listen to! Reading more about the biopic, however, I expect that this will make me thoroughly dislike Blyton as a person...

I didn't read the Trebizon books, no (actually, looking at them on Amazon, I think I may have read one or two - I loved school stories!)

Mrs. B, glad to bring it to your attention! I'm so glad that I found out about it.

Kals, that article was illuminating and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how HBC portrays Blyton.
I love your reminisces - you've mentioned things I love dearly about Blyton's stories!

Verity, I'm very intrigued now about Blyton's life and probably will seek out the biography at some point.

Book pusher, you're welcome and I hope you see it at some point. I haven't watched a literary drama like this for some time so looking forward to it.

Jodie said...

Cool I hadn't heard about this one (I think BBC1 does not help BBC4 out with advertising at all). And look it's the man from Spooks as her husband, hope he's got the whole period drama thing after that blip as Mr Darcy.

farmlanebooks said...

Thank you for letting me know - I'll set the recorder now!

Paperback Reader said...

Jodie, I recognised the husband (the first?) but didn't know from where; I had no idea he ever played Mr Darcy.
I don't watch an awful lot of TV (I prefer to watch things on DVD or iplayer) so miss advertising of shows, which is why I'm thankful to newspapers, magazines and bloggers!

Jackie, I hope we enjoy it!

Annabel Gaskell said...

Looking forward to this immensely.

Darlene said...

This program looks fantastic for the period setting eye candy alone. Through reading the odd update in the Daily Mail I knew this was coming but sadly, I'll be waiting longer than you to see it.

I really must try ginger beer as I love all things ginger!

Paperback Reader said...

Annabel, me too! I think it is going to be fascinating.

Darlene, I do like the kick of ginger! I love a good period setting.

makedoandread said...

That looks amazing! I've only discovered Enid Blyton in the past two years, but I've been making up for lost time. I hope it will show in the US soon.

Paperback Reader said...

makedo, how wonderful to have only recently discovered Enid Blyton and be making up for lost time! I envy that. I hope you manage to see this soon.

verity said...

I picked up my first copy of one of the Mallory Towers sequels from the library at lunchtime, so it will be interesting to see how that compares to the originals.

Cath said...

I've just finished watching 'Enid' and actually feel quite shocked. I wonder if the BBC depicted her as she really was, or whether it was an exaggeration. The acting was excellent anyway, HBC was superb as was Matthew Macfayden (sp), and I *always* enjoy watching Dennis Lawson. I must try to get something from the library about EB's life to make a comparison with the drama.

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, oooh - can't wait to hear what you think! I'd need to reread the books first and for some bizarre reason I only have Upper Fourth here and the rest at home.

Cath, I have it on iPlayer to watch later and looking forward to it. From the articles I read and now your comment, I am prepared to be shocked (I think it is quite realistic - one of her daughters conferred with HBC extensively).
Verity above has recommended the Barbara Stoney biography, which I'll read at some point.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Oh, I missed it. Hopefully, I'll catch it on iPlayer.

I didn't realise that Malory Towers had sequels... how would that work, considering the last book ended with the girls saying goodbye to Malory Towers? Unless, it stars Felicity and June instead of Sally and Darrell, and dear Gwen....

When I was back home a few weeks back, I re-read the school series, as well as some of my favourite Famous Fives. I must get them here.

Paperback Reader said...

anothercookie, Verity has one of the sequels so I'm sure we'll find out (I can't fathom it either but my memory is also very sketchy). I envy you having your copies from childhood.
I downloaded it from iPlayer yesterday and hope to watch it before the weekend.

Mae said...

Thanks for posting this. I love Helena Bonham Carter and she's a very inspired casting as Enid Blyton! I hope it'll be shown in Aust. soon or I'll have to track it down on youtube.

Eni said...

I have written a semi-biography on Enid Blyton titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com).

Stephen Isabirye

Paperback Reader said...

Mae, I think it was inspired casting too. I was swamped last week and haven't had a chance to watch it yet bit I'll share my thoughts once I do.

Hi Stephen, thanks for commenting and mentioning your book.