In the news today, Disney have announced they’re making a new cartoon series “Famous Five – on the case” inspired by, if not actually based on the Enid Blyton. This is in essence a brand new series loosely based on the premise of the books, rather than a simple update.
However it has still got the Famous Five society and Daily Telegraph readers knickers in a twist. It’s seen as a bad move, damaging a classic and leading people to associate the originals with, shock-horror, multiculturalism!
Disney recons that it’ll remain true to the spirit of the originals. While that remains to be true, as someone who devoured the books as a child I would contest that the spirit of the originals has very little to do with any of the tacit racism that went way over my eight year old head.
I mean seriously, people have been making derivative works for centuries. James Bond Junior, Kiss Me Kate and My Fair Lady spring to mind. Few have tarnished the reputations, and some have become classics in their own right. If it’s good enough for Ian Flemming, Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw, it should be good enough for Enid Blyton.