The Malory Towers TV Facebook page shared an exciting article on Wednesday. There are to be 26 new episodes!
There has been talk of more episodes since the first series aired, but I assume due to the pandemic it has been difficult to secure any deal. The series is filmed in the UK (the external scenes) and in Canada (indoor scenes) with cast members from both countries, and so involves a fair bit of international travel, which would complicate any plans to film.
However, it has been declared now so let’s have a look at what we know about the new episodes.
It has been confirmed that most of the cast are returning.
Confirmed as coming back are Ella Bright (Darrell), Danya Griver (Gwen), Sienna Arif-Knights (Sally), Zoey Siewert (Alicia), Imogen Lamb (Mary-Lou), Natasha Raphael (Irene) and Beth Bradfield (Jean), Ashley McGuire (Matron) and Geneviève Beaudet (Mam’zelle Rougier).
The girls missing from the list are Twinkle Jaiswal (Katherine) and Saskia Kemkers (Emily) but that doesn’t mean we won’t see them. In the books Katherine has moved up to the third form by the time we join Darrell again in the second form, so it may be that they follow the books on that and leave the space for someone else to become head of the second form. Emily is barely in the books – in the first form she joins Darrell when her parents visit at half-term, and in the second form her brooch is stolen by Daphne. The TV series substantially increased her role in the first form, but with the storyline of the ghost resolved, it’s not clear if they continue to write her in.
Of course they’ve not mentioned Miss Grayling or Miss Potts either. Although Miss Potts won’t be their form-mistress any more she is always popping up in the books, so I hope we do see her again. And Miss Grayling must come back!
New girls confirmed are Ellen Wilson (to be played by Carys John), and Bill (Amelie Green).
Not mentioned are the other new girls, Daphne and Belinda. I really hope we do get a Belinda as she is one of my favourites.
The new teachers are Miss Johnson (Emily Piggford) and Mr Parker (Jason Callender). In the books the second form mistress is Miss Parker, aka Nosy Parker, so it is interesting that they have decided to cast a male teacher. The only men at Malory Towers in the books are Mr Young the music/singing master, Mr Sutton the carpentry teacher (mentioned, never seen) and Pop the handyman.
I don’t know who Miss Johnson is going to be as Miss Peters is the third form mistress.
We don’t have much to go on for the storylines they will use. Obviously we know what happens in the next two books – but it hasn’t actually been confirmed if we are getting two series.
I am assuming that 26 episodes means two 13 episode series, given that series one was 13 episodes and they’ve already lost a year for filming due to the pandemic. I imagine that they want to film two series back-to-back or at least close together to catch up, aware that the girls are aging. I also can’t see them trying to stretch one book to fill 26 episodes. 13 was just about the right length for the first book – or in fact it could easily have been 12 if they had missed the entirely fabricated debutante episode.
As above we know we will have Ellen so it’s likely that we will have storylines from second form (Ellen being ill and cheating at the exam). It is yet to be seen if we will have a Daphne, however, or if Ellen will be stealing and cheating!
Bill doesn’t appear until the third form, so that lends credence to the theory that we will see the third book adapted too. Unless they decide to combine storylines from the second and third form! Let’s face it, they could do anything.
So when are we going to see the new episodes?
The good news is that they are expected to start shooting the new episodes in the UK this spring and Canada this summer, and we may see it as early as the end of this year.
The first series dropped on iPlayer all at once, and was then shown weekly on CBBC. The decision to put it all on the iPlayer earlier than announced was because the UK had just gone into its first lockdown, and they thought it would give us something to do! I don’t expect we will get to binge-watch this time around, as hopefully life will be a bit more normal by late 2021. Instead I expect episodes will be aired on CBBC and added one at a time to the iPlayer either concurrently with the TV episode or shortly after.
We may not know much, but what I do know is I am excited! I will keep you updated if I see any new announcements about the cast!