Multicultural Famous Five Find Adventure on Television

Article excerpt

ENID BLYTON'S Famous Five have been reconstructed for the 21st century.

A new Disney TV series features the offspring of the original ginger beer-loving adventurers - and their dog.

But the Famous Five's children are now multicultural, their enemies include a fake environmentalist, and they are armed with modern gadgets.

The TV series, Famous Five: On the Case, features 12-year-old Anglo-Indian Jo, whose name is short for "Jyoti", a Hindi world meaning "light".

Countryside-dwelling Jo is the team leader and like her mother George in the original Famous Five - who was thought to be modelled on Blyton herself - a tomboy.

Other characters include Allie, a 12-year-old Californian shopaholic who enjoys going out and getting "glammed up" but is packed off to the British countryside to her cousins.

Her mother was Anne in the Famous Five, the reluctant adventurer who has now become a successful art dealer.

The Famous Five was first published in 1942 and is a children's classic.

The new animated series was given the seal of approval by Blyton's oldest daughter, Gillian Baverstock, before she died at the age of 76 last year.

In the new TV series, the children of the original Famous Five are brought together at their aunt George's house on the English coast. The other characters are adventure junkie Max, who is Julian's 13-year-old son; Dylan, the 11-year-old son of Dick, and dog Timmy.

But while Blyton's original sleuths targeted kidnappers and smugglers, the enemies of Disney's Famous Five include Kyle, a DVD bootlegger on Shelter Island who is masquerading as an environmentalist.

The children, who wear iPods and use mobile phones, also discover subliminal messages in DVDs to brainwash children into buying Fudgie Fries sweets. …