The Famous Five Return on the BBC

The BBC has posted cast photos from its much-anticipated remake of Enid Blyton’s popular children’s series The Famous Five.

Diaana Babnicova plays the role of George, alongside Elliott Rose as Julian, Kit Rakusen as Dick, Flora Jacoby Richardson as Anne playing George’s cousins who come to stay at Kirrin Cottage.

Making up the fifth member of The Famous Five and the gang’s faithful furry friend, is Kip, the Bearded Collie Cross playing Timmy the dog.

Joining the five are Jack Gleeson (Game of Thrones, In The Land of the Saints and Sinners) as Wentworth, Ann Akinjirin (Moon Knight, I May Destroy You) as Fanny, James Lance (Ted Lasso, Bronson) as Quentin and Diana Quick (Father Brown, Forever Young, Houdini and Doyle) as Mrs Wentworth.

Jack Gleeson as Wentworth in the BBC’s Famous Five

Tim Kirkby, Director (episode one) and Executive Producer said: “Our brilliant young cast are mind-blowingly talented and, along with Kip (playing Timmy), they are already bringing these gorgeous characters to life in a fresh and modern way. Together with the brilliant Jack, Ann, James and Diana we can’t wait to bring these glorious, action-filled, epic, family adventures to the screen.”


The series, made in co-production with German ZDF, follows the five daring young explorers as they encounter treacherous, action-packed adventures, remarkable mysteries, unparalleled danger, and astounding secrets in an unforgettable odyssey that evokes the power of camaraderie between the fearless young heroes. It will be executive produced by Nicolas Winding Refn (director of the Pusher trilogy of movies, and Drive) & Matthew Read (Moonage Pictures) and is based on Enid Blyton’s 21 stories. Filming takes place across the South West of the UK.

The first episode is directed by Tim Kirkby (Fleabag, The Pentaverate) and produced by Moonage Pictures and byNWR Originals. Asim Abbasi (Churails, Cake, Count Abdulla) will direct the second episode and Bill Eagles (Beautiful Creatures, Gotham, Pennyworth) will direct the third episode.

No date has yet been given for broadcast.

Released between 1942 and 1961, Enid Blyton’s 21 books centred around four children (siblings Julian, Dick and Anne, and their cousin George) and their dog Timmy as they went on adventures across the UK. The hugely popular books have been adapted for the screen a number of times, the most well-known being a two-series adaptation which ran on ITV in 1978 and 1979.

The BBC adaptation will retain the period setting of the original books, but its diverse cast is intended to reflect the modern world.

In recent years, Enid Blyton’s books have been criticised due to their use of problematic stereotypes. An animated series aired on Disney Channel in 2008 titled Famous 5: On the Case. Set in the modern day, the show focuses on the children of the original Famous Five: Jo (short for Jyothi), Max, Allie and Dylan. While all the children in the original books are white, Jo is British-Indian.


The series was criticised at the time by members of the Enid Blyton Society, with one member telling The Daily Telegraph : “I don’t really see how you can take the Famous Five out of their era, which is 1940s Britain; anybody can write about four children and a dog, and my concern is that modern kids who watch this will think that the Famous Five is all about gadgets and multiculturalism.”

In 2019, plans to give the Noddy creator, who died in 1968, a commemorative coin were halted by the Royal Mint after members said she was “a racist, sexist homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer”.

Two years later, English Heritage updated their profile of the author to acknowledge that “Blyton’s work has been criticised during her lifetime and after for its racism, xenophobia and lack of literary merit”.

See also: Mission: Impossible’s Dramatic Fjord Locations

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