Five Go to Billycock Hill: An exciting dramatised adventure


Unfortunately, Five Go to Billycock Hill is one of my least favourite Famous Five books. (It’s right down at the bottom with Five Are Together Again and Five Have a Mystery to Solve.) But life isn’t fair and so that’s the story that came with the one I really wanted (Five Go Off to Camp.) Still, I’ll make the best of it as even my least favourite Five books are still a decent read.

2008 CD edition

2008 CD edition

The early part of the book is very quickly covered, most of it is narrated with very little dialogue. The narrator even quotes some of the Five’s dialogue at times. In fact, listening further, it seems a lot more of this tale is narrated rather than acted compared to the others.

The scene with the fake spider is quite funny, though I can’t remember it from the book. Perhaps that’s just because I’ve read it less often than the others.

While most of the dialogue and language remains true to the original, there has been at least one update. Mr Gringle buys a butterfly from the boys for fifty pence, which the boys then give to poor old Mrs Janes. Even in 2008 fifty pence wouldn’t have bought her much.

Some of the sound effects during the story are better than others. Timmy’s as bad as ever, he sounds like a very small dog at best and a poor imitation by a person at worst. The planes sound fine though, and the Five splashing in the pool as well. Also good are the news reports from the radio, as they come complete with static!

I wasn’t very convinced by the ‘whistling’ in the caves though I suppose it would be frightening when you were down there. Benny’s pigling doesn’t get to squeal during the story, it’s only referred to by the narrator so obviously they didn’t have either a recording of piglet sounds or a person capable of imitating them!

There’s some nice creepy and dramatic music later on, at one or two of the more critical parts of the story while the boys are prowling about the butterfly farm at night. We know it’s night as we can hear owls hooting every few seconds.

Mrs Janes’ voice isn’t very good really. It’s clearly a young woman affecting a quavering old-lady voice expect it comes off more like she’s impersonating a sheep at times. The other voices are good enough though, Benny, Toby, Jeff, the butterfly men etc.

I’ve found it difficult to write any sort of conclusion to this post tonight. The audio dramatisation was a good one, it adapted the book well but as it’s not a favourite of mine I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as some of the other ones. If you like Billycock Hill, though, and I’m sure plenty of people do, then I’m sure you’ll like the CD.

 

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13 Responses to Five Go to Billycock Hill: An exciting dramatised adventure

  1. Francis says:

    I am afraid I am a lover of this book – the only book I ever owned as a child and the ‘Cold War’ feel of the book made it seem very relevant in the 1950s. I agree about the 50p point – 10/= in 1956 was a lot of money as it is the equivalent of about £30 – £40 nowadays. It made the gratitude of the old lady for the money sound somewhat ridiculous!

    Francis

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  2. Sean J Hagins says:

    Your audios are full cast? The ones I have are read by Jan Francis. From reading this, I can tell that we are talking about totally different audios. Have you ever listened to those?

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  3. Sean J Hagins says:

    (Did you get my email? Did you do a book review for this volume?

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    • Fiona says:

      I’m working through the Famous Fives at the moment, I’ve done up to Five Go Down to the Sea, I’ll get to Billycock Hill eventually.
      I don’t recall a recent email from you but I may have missed it.

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      • Sean J Hagins says:

        Ok-thanks. Yea, I think the email address isn’t the best way to reach you. I’ve sent several emails over the past few months without reply. The other thing I mentioned was for you to please let me know if and when you want me to review the New Bobbsey Twins books (Sorry to mention it here, but I don’t know how else to reach you)

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        • Fiona says:

          Whenever suits you is fine by me, just write and send it when you have the time and I’ll fit it into the blog schedule.

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          • Sean J Hagins says:

            Ok. Where shall I send it? Like I said, you haven’t gotten my emails. Is there a better location?

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            • Fiona says:

              The last email(s) I have from you were on the 26th of July, and I replied to those with the exception of the last one where you asked if “full reviews” were OK. I must have missed the last one – my phone email app seems to load more errors than emails some days! I will endeavour to check for emails on my laptop more often.

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              • Sean J Hagins says:

                Ok, I emailed the review to you. Please respond when you can if you received it, and what other pertinent details you can share (if I need to polish it, when it can be published, when I should send book #2, etc) Thanks.

                And yea, I don’t own a smart phone, so all of my emails are via computer

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I sent you the photos and replied as per your request. I’m going to log off now as it is the middle of the night here. Thanks very much for your kind help, Fiona

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