New TV adaptation of Enid Blyton’s classic boarding school adventures

Enid Blyton has a lot to answer for. Questionable content aside, she was also responsible for countless young girls (myself included) pleading pointlessly with their parents to send them to boarding school, after reading about the jolly japes at Malory Towers. Over the course of six novels, written between 1946 and 1951, Blyton fuelled the notion that going away to school was like one giant sleepover, punctuated by the odd midnight feast. No tearful bedtimes missing mummy and daddy or nasty bullying for those girls.

Just over 70 years later, Blyton’s books have been turned into a new TV series for CBBC and, just like the novels, it’s as twee as a picnic hamper. Our heroine (the one we all wanted to be) Darrell Rivers arrives at

the clifftop school in Cornwall, trying to shed a slightly naughty past at her previous private school. Mean girl Gwen has other ideas, but the whole dorm is on Darrell’s side so each night ends with a tucked-up smile; even if the rambunctious matron casts a shadow on anything remotely joyful. In book form, Malory Towers captivated countless

young readers from the 1950s onwards, as an antithesis to the rough and tumble of St Trinian’s. Whether today’s rather more streetwise viewers will buy into its storylines of hidden lacrosse shoes, minor teasing, and cries of ‘take it back!’ when somebody says anything remotely hurtful, remains to be seen. (Kelly Apter) CBBC, Mon 6 Apr. Available now on BBC iPlayer.

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