Like a lot of the 70s episodes of the TV series, Five Are Together Again comes in two parts. For me that means another blog and for us as viewers it means more content from Enid Blyton’s book on the TV screen. Gloria Tors is the writer of these two episodes and from past experience we know that the story can go either way! So let’s see how she does!
Gloria Tors seems to have done a good job getting all the relevant parts of the story into the first episode from Enid Blyton’s novel. All the details that you would expect from the episode and the writing are there and clearly visible to a practiced fan! So let’s have a look at what makes this episode work!
To start with,the essence of Tinker is perfect, Wayne Brooks who played Tinker seems to be the right choice for him. I know Tinker however is supposed to be younger than the others but he does seem a bit too young. However it does help the situation of Tinker bragging about his clever father, and his naivety about a near total stranger i.e. Mr Wooh. The monkey who plays Mischief is much too big for him however, and clearly should be a smaller ape, however the duo is comical enough.
I find that Tinker’s interactions with Dick are by far the best in the whole episode. Dick has the least patience with the little boy and tries to act very disinterested when Tinker has a big thing to share with the Five. Tinker however is somewhat immune to Dick’s sarcasm and just shrugs it off which is something I wish I could do. I have to respond like for like!
Its just a very laugh out loud line when this comes up, and is one of a few that Gary Russell’s characterization of Dick delivers in perfect form. I always imagined Dick as a very sarcastic young man, especially as he got older and could stand up to Julian a lot more. In the 90s version this happens when Marco Williamson is incapacitated with a broken leg, but in the 70s show it seems to happen more naturally with Marcus Harris’ Julian allowing Dick more responsibility and breathing space to develop and have these funny lines. Its really is a pleasure to watch, especially when Russell delivers a corker of a line about having to carry all the bags when they leave the train station at the beginning of the episode.
Classic Dick! Makes for an enjoyable episode.
One thing that really gets me with this episode is that while the Five are still in the train station they get drowned out by the noise of the train when it goes to leave the station. This makes it hard to work out what they are saying above the clatter of the train. I do think that a little more could have been done on the sound balance of that one!
We also don’t see Timmy at all in this episode. We are told that he has to stay at Kirrin Cottage. We’re not really told any more than Professor Hayling doesn’t want him around. I mean come on, he lives with a monkey, surely a dog is less hassle? Anyway, Timmy isn’t allowed at the Haylings’ and George gets annoyed with Rogers more than her father. Julian does tell her to leave it alone when she says she will get Rogers back for keeping Timmy from her but that doesn’t stop her getting up in the night to try and fetch the pooch from Kirrin cottage. It’s all a bit of a saga really because instead of getting Timmy, they end up chasing around Charlie the chimp from the circus, who has somehow escaped his cage.
Just a couple more things to look into before we round up this blog, and next it is something that crops up in the TV episodes, throughout the 70s and 90s show – the addition of characters into the story that don’t necessarily add anything to the story. In this case it’s the introduction of Sam, played by Kenneth Cope who is someone even I recognise as a great talent. Such a distinctive voice, not to mention charm about him, Cope does wonders with this character Sam who owns the chimpanzee, Charlie. A deviation from the book where the chimp is owned by magician Mr Wooh. The need for this update is unclear to me, unless it is to pad out the double episode issue. What do you think?
My last nitpick is all about the simple issue of Mr Wooh. This grand magician has seemingly turned into more of a memory man, picking random facts from the air and doing impossible sums in his head. So much less a magician as far as I am concerned and more of a trickster. Actor Peter Jeffery does make a credible Mr Wooh however and is very good at appearing to be a smarmy gent in a suit, under which you wouldn’t want to look. A little change but as I said, a nitpick.
Overall, the episode is good. It has detail and Gloria Tors has done a decent job of adapting Enid Blyton’s original text into an dhow good enough for TV. There are few little niggles, but when isn’t there? Has anyone spotted any more?
Let me know what you think about this episode!