After promising you this blog last week and failing to write it, I hope you don’t mind me bringing you the second part of Five have a Wonderful Time, part 2. Part 1 can be found here if you need to refresh your memory.
So we start the episode with Dick on the phone to Julian, updating him on their progress and the face at the window of the tower at Faynights. Julian, in his wheel chair at the holiday cottage, warns them to be careful and its clear to see that he’s fed up of being at home while the others are off having a wonderful time (see what I did there? ;)) However, here isn’t much he can do and hangs up, not before we get a lovely little domestic scene between Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny. Basically it seems to be that Aunt Fanny is at the end of her tether with Quentin’s absentmindedness and is blinkered view of the world. Its not a scene that would really happen in the books because Aunt Fanny seems to be the most patient of souls but I suppose everyone has their breaking point. Its a funny little scene to inject some humour into the episode, although you would have thought with Dick being in charge there was enough of that going on!
Sniffer plays a big part of this episode, more than he did in the other one, mostly because in the book Jo steps up to a bigger role, and the absense of Julian means that there is more scope for Lee Turnbull as Sniffer. Turnbull and Paul Child (Dick) almost have to compete with each other for the lead of the Five. Jemima Rooper and Laura Petela as George and Anne respectively just seem to be the steadying influence to the boys and let them bicker before settling on a decision. Its a shame that we don’t have more of a feisty George from Rooper because a three way battle to lead the Five would be something worth watching.
Another thing I have noticed about the second series that Rooper’s George becomes much more mature and doesn’t have the temper tantrums that she does in the books and in the first series. Maybe it was because the characters seemed to mature between series or maybe it was to show the Five in a different light. Again, its one of the questions I would love to ask the producers. Perhaps I shall have to dig out my Sherlock Holmes style detective skills and see if I can track anyone down for a Q&A!
The episode feels fairly clunky if I’m honest, the viewing of the castle, the arrival of Timmy in the castle and then the discovery of the secret passage is… not the most elegant. The secret way into the castle turns out to be an old wooden door that, literally anyone playing around near the castle could have found, and its sort of an anticlimax. There is very little excitement in the discovery, and the exploration of the secret passage. Its all done very methodically and carefully, taking the fun out of the episode. Unfortunately I can see why this one has been made into a two parter, but I wish it hadn’t. Had it not been for Marco Williamson’s (Julian) broken leg, the episode would have fitted quite simply into one 25 minute episode, and given that there are other books that would have benefitted more from a two parter, its a shame that this one had taken up that option for other adaptations.
The rest of the episode gallops through rather quickly, not really spending a lot of time looking at the finer parts of the story. Julian however has given the others a two hour time limit to do some exploring and then phone back. However surely he must know that’s not long enough?
However, given that the others and sniffer get themselves into a bit of a pickle, maybe its a good think Julian only gives them two hours to get back to him. At least then it means that he’s perfectly justified in telling the ‘responsible’ adult a.k.a Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin of what has been going on.
Well long story short, the episodes of Five have a Wonderful time, could be much better executed but its all really down to the fact that Williamson had a broken leg and so much had to be changed to accommodate the injury.
What are your thoughts on the episodes? Do you think they did alright? Let me know in the comments.
great review, and I totally agree with you other episodes could have the 2 partier, rather than this episode. I would of liked it if all of the episode got a one hour running length time. That would be a great idea if you could track a producer down or anybody that would of worked on set, you could probably see in the credits, if you are successful could you do a blog post about it. And how did you go about getting the information the first time?
Another great review. Thank you, Stef!
Having come across both this and the 1970s series fairly recently, I have to give my vote to the 90s series. Making them period and with the brilliant Jemima Rooper as George gave them a head start. Of course they are not perfect, Julian is pompous but lacks charm, Timmy is wrong. the villains are made comic and the episodes are too short. Despite this I still enjoyed the series immensely.
Yes, I agree! The 1990’s TV series is more similar to the books than the modernized version from the 1970’s (how I hated that opening credits song!). George almost looks like Eileen A. Soper’s George even though she cries more often than George in the books. I never noticed that Julian is pompous in the 2nd TV series, have to watch it again soon.