The famous five

CBBC’s The Famous Five shows you can update a classic without trashing it

The new Doctor in Doctor Who has blond hair, blue eyes and a firm handshake, dresses in a splendid red coat and has an exciting catchphrase: ‘Hounds are running! Tally ho!’ No, not really. The new Doctor is so very much what you’d expect the new Doctor to be like that you can guess without my telling you. And it’s not that I think that Ncuti Gatwa is going to be bad as the Doctor. On the contrary, from what little I’ve glimpsed of him so far, he seems charismatic, energetic, and fun. But I do wish the BBC commissars responsible for the series would try to make their social

Sex and the Famous Five

Generations of readers of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series have enjoyed the books without having to contemplate the erotic properties of the canine member of the quintet. After reading Nicholas Royle’s one-of-a-kind fantasia on Blyton and David Bowie, they may never be able to do so again. Royle writes confidently that ‘the most obvious route to thinking about sex in the Famous Five books is Timmy the dog’. Once this bombshell has been absorbed, he knocks the reader down again by writing: ‘Timmy is a big dog. He is a big-tongued dog. He must have had a huge donger too.’ The idea behind David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the Sun

How Noddy and Big Ears conquered the world

Perhaps the funniest of the many funny jokes in Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ is its protagonist’s struggle with Enid Blyton. Having turned the corner into adolescence, Adrian is mortified by the Blyton characters on the wallpaper in his childhood bedroom and sets about repainting the room in black, the better to represent his turbulent soul. And yet, though he slaps on coat after coat of black paint, the shiny yellow bells on Noddy’s cap continue to show through. He’s reduced to colouring them in one by one. (‘Went over hat bells with black felt-tip pen, did 69 tonight, only 124 to go.’) Adrian Mole