This is going to sound harsh as I know that there are people out there who love the theme tune for the 70s Famous Five but after several false starts (I put the wrong DVD in for the episode three times before settling on the right one) the beginning of the song and the singing does rather begin to grate on ones nerves. For the first time in a long time I had to mute the titles in the beginning because I just couldn’t listen to the song one more time. I dislike when DVD’s put the theme song on the menu’s because it usually means that if you have to leave the room for whatever reason, the tune just keeps playing on and on and can really become annoying. Anyway, on to the second part of one of my favourite books!
There’s a lot of this episode that works really well, making homage to the books, and the little touches are lovely to see.
We basically start off with Dick teasing Anne, and its quite a nice, fond sort of teasing. He asks her what she’s cooking for dinner, and when he’s been told, he tells her that he doesn’t look impressed because she’s cooking it, and it may turn out to be anything! Julian doesn’t get involved until Dick mention’s he going to sit down. Julian then teases him about saving his energy for doing the washing up. Its a nice little moment between the siblings because there is no outside intervention from George and you get a screenshot into their lives and bond before they were the Famous Five. Its just a nice little moment to have included in the episode.
Another thing about this episode is that works really well is that you get to see a bit more interaction between Ebbie and Jacob and how they work as a pair. In the book there is little if any in the book interaction between the brothers . So this is a nice addition to the story because you get more of an idea of how they would react and interact with each other and arrange the locking in of the children and searching for the gold.
Overall the little touches with this episode are good ones, the use of the oars to block the door from the inside is fast thinking on Julian’s part, the use of the plans that Tinker’s father drew up to find the shaft in which the lighthouse’s foundations have been laid, thus leading Julian and Dick to the treasure. Not to mention when the Five and Tinker work out that Jacob and Ebbie wanted to keep them out of the way long before they had actually discovered any treasure which all started with the stealing of the lighthouse key.
One of the best bits was when Ebbie and Jacob, Dick and Julian were in the tunnel together but approaching from different ends and Julian starts making a noise which alerts the baddies to their presence while also scaring them and making them think that the tunnel is haunted. Its a nice touch, even if it does give the game away that the kids have found a way out of the lighthouse.
There are lots of little things on the flip-side however. Mostly they are little niggely things like before, but as a Blyton Purest, they’re hard to ignore. Like Timmy being able to hear Jacob locking them into the lighthouse from so far up! I know Timmy is supposed to be a super dog and all that, but I’m pretty sure that there would be lots of other noises and things to distract him. Its the same in the book as well – how would Timmy hear the door being locked? Just doesn’t make sense to me!
Also without it even being mentioned before Dick brings in the fact that when they were down in the caves, his compass was apparently pointing east (towards the lighthouse) and no one thought to mention the compass before this point. In the book, Tinker brings it up by saying that he has a compass on his watch and the others accuse him of showing off. Whereas here, its randomly mentioned when Julian is looking at the lighthouse plans and they’re discussing the use of the foundation shaft as an escape route.
With this episode there are some technical issues I think. I remember from the 90s version that it was hard for them to create a good storm for the five to be caught in; it usually consisted of a rain video being played over the still of the lighthouse. In this episode the supposed storm barely brings in any rain, or a rough sea. Jacob and Ebbie are able to row across to the lighthouse in what is supposed to quite a strong storm just seems like the normal tide coming in and out. Obviously you can’t really predict a storm during filming, but people could have been out of shot, throwing water and making the sea seem rough to create the illusion of a hard, stormy sea.
Overall its a nice little adaptation; all the right points in most of the right places. Just the small little points that have made it a little disappointing. I did love the little interactions between Dick and Anne about the food, and Julian putting his brother in his place.
Another good piece was when Dick reminded Jeramiah that he promised to eat his hat if they found the gold and the silly fool starts pretending to eat the hat. Not to mention the points where we spend more time with Jacob and Ebbie, which is development on the book.
Overall its a good solid episode. I don’t think I can fault that really. I’d score this two parter quite highly out of all of the episodes so far. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!