12 March 2003 | nickhutson964244
Good try from the BBC, but not good enough.
I can say that as a fan of the Just William Stories, by Richmal Crompton, I was happy to see some of the wonderful stories were made into a new TV series. It was disheartening to see the result! Don't get me wrong...some things were done to my satisfaction, but not many.
The plots revolve around a 10/11 year old, tyrannical, school boy and his boon companions the "outlaws", and their often attempts to help and entertain!
For example, the actor playing William, was just too upper class and not covered with enough dirt and mud (even when the producers put more mud on him for the second series, it didn't work!) Secondly, they got the character of Violet-Elizabeth Bott totally incorrect. In the novels, Crompton's detailed attention to dialect proves that Vioilet-Elizabeth has a lisp, and she does not in this production. Another mini flaw, is Ethel's hair colour in this production is black, and the short stories continually said her hair was golden and curly...not black and straight! Finally (phew) my biggest complaint is the fact that the stories were practically rewritten...which is a shame, because the original stories were usually much better than the ones in this TV series.
There are a few good points however, luckily. They got the characters of Mr John Brown and Mrs Mary Brown perfect! The outlaws too were perfect, but the acting was sometimes a bit too stiff...and very forced. The most perfect thing about this version was the scenery and locations...they were perfect! Also, Nigel Hess' score is very witty and intellegent, playing around endlessly with the main motif and theme in a variety of 20s and 30s styles - very enjoyable!
It's a shame the BBC messed it up so much...they should give it another try!