Thursday, 22 April 2021

William and the Artist's Model

A short video about the one act play, William and the Artist's Model. Including where to find the book and TV series versions of the same story.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Mystery of the Elms

A brief introduction to the play and its origin, followed by the play set to a slideshow of William book covers images.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Just William TV Series 1977 to 1978

A short video discussing the Just William TV Series featuring Adrian Dannatt at William Brown and Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth Bott. This complete set includes both classic series, originally screened in 1977 and 1978, including the double-length Christmas Special episode aired on 24 December 1977.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Book Review: Jimmy

Armada Paperback Edition
This is a fantastic book, with each story lifting my spirits. I originally purchased and read the Armada paperback, but realised that a significant portion of the stories were missing. 

Having since read the Newnes hardback, I can say that it is worth the additional cost as these stories are delightful. I find it disappointing that the Armada version was abridged, missing out 18 of the original stories.

Bill and Charles, make up Roger's Three Musketeers gang, with Toothy sometimes being part of their games. Jimmy, and his friend Bobby, look up to Roger's gang and always try to find a way into their current events. Sally, the girl next door has a liking for Roger, while Jimmy very much likes Sally! Then we have Archie and his gang, the Mouldies, always trying to get one up, and often failing, on Roger's gang. On the periphery is Araminta Palmer, a five-year-old, who wants to play with everyone, and sometimes does; but is mostly cast aside by all.

I enjoy that many of the stories are interlinked, with many of the locations reused in subsequent stories, such as the blitzed house and the quarry.  

Some stories are Williamesque in topic, but in feel, they are very different. The kids tend to get along and there's a much friendlier atmosphere within the stories. For instance, his parents have time for Jimmy and actually seem to like him, whereas William's parents try to ignore William when they can. The story where Sandy, the dog, is adopted by the family is a heart-warming tale and shows that even Jimmy, the youngest of their family, is allowed to make an impact on events within that family. Some other differences include: When excited Jimmy stammers, he saves well, thinks of others (often buying them presents), and is often let off his misdemeanours (possibly due to his age). 

The hardback and paperback are wonderfully illustrated by Lunt Roberts, who has the ability to bring life and action into each drawing.

The Cast

The main characters of this series are:
Jimmy Manning
Roger Manning
Mr Manning
Mrs Manning

Roger's Friends:
Bill (of a simple direct inquiring nature) 
-both members of Roger's gang: The Three Musketeers
Toothy (who has a gold bar to correct his wild teeth)

Jimmy Friend:
Bobby Peaslake

Recurring Characters:
Archie Mould - Enemy and leading of the Mouldies
Sally - the girl next door (9 years old)
Araminta Palmer (5 years)
Hardback Edition

Hardback, Paperback, and Audiobook Contents

Newnes First Edition (1949) Contents
1.1 Jimmy Turns the Tables
1.2 Miss Pettigrew's Parrot
1.3 The Mousse
1.4 Jimmy, Detective
1.5 Setting the Stage
1.6 The Smuggler Hunt
1.7 Sandy Make His Entrance
1.8 A Not So Clean Sweep
1.9 A Punitive Expedition
1.10 The Fancy-dress Costume
1.11 The Party
1.12 The Treat
1.13 Righting a Wrong
1.14 The Criminal
1.15 The Hostage
1.16 The Dream
1.17 The Hidden Treasure
1.18 The Black Market
1.19 Sandy Saves the Situation
1.20 A Problem Solved
1.21 A The Rehearsal
1.22 The Rescue that Failed
1.23 Archie Gets the Worst of it
1.24 Speeding the Parting Guest
1.25 On the Rocks
1.26 Jimmy's Gang
1.27 The Paper-Chase
1.28 A Present for Uncle Peter
1.29 Sandy Does his Turn
1.30 The Little Jade House
1.31 A Bid for Fame
1.32 The Fire Fighter
1.33 Christmas Eve

Armada Paperback Edition Contents 
I initially read the Armada paperback version of this book, which beings with Sandy Does his Turn, a story out of chronological order. In that story, we have Sandy in his role of being Jimmy's dog before he had actually becomes Jimmy's dog. This is followed by Jimmy Turns the Tables, in which we get the first descriptions of Jimmy and the main characters. When I wrote my initial story reviews, I wrote that Jimmy Turns the Tables should really have been the opening story of this book. It wasn't until I realised that the original Newnes edition did have it as the first story. Not only that, but that the Armada book is missing 18 stories, making it less than half the original! 

1.1 Sandy Does his Turn
1.2 Jimmy Turns the Tables
1.3 Miss Pettigrew's Parrot
1.4 The Mousse
1.5 Jimmy, Detective
1.6 Setting the Stage
1.7 The Smuggler Hunt
1.8 Sandy Make His Entrance
1.9 A Not So Clean Sweep
1.10 A Punitive Expedition
1.11 The Fancy-dress Costume
1.12 The Party
1.13 On the Rocks
1.14 Righting a Wrong
1.15 The Criminal

Just Jimmy Audiobook Edition
A fantastic performance by Martin Jarvis, who has updated the odd word here and there for modern audiences.
The five stories, all from the original Jimmy book, are:
1. Setting the Stage
2. Miss Pettigrew's Parrot
3. The Hidden Treasure
4. Sandy Makes His Entrance
5. Christmas Eve.
While short, at around an hour running time, this audiobook is fantastic and worth a listen.

Monday, 28 December 2020

21.5 William the Dog Trainer

Quote from the story
"…she couldn't get out of givin' me the half-crown. She made me promise to put it in my money-box, so I did all right, but I got it out again with a knife when she'd gone. I never promised not to get it out again"
- William

 The Outlaws were in Ginger's back garden eating apples before throwing apple cores at each other. William was telling them about a films he had seen with his aunt, who had given his half a crown because he had been helpful. While William was rather vague about the content of the films, apart from general fighting, one thing he was sure on was that he liked the sheep dog the best. Quite taken with the intelligence and abilities of sheep dogs, William decides that Jumble would make a good sheep dog.

Now that William has the idea, he won't shut up about the idea. The Outlaws get a bit fed up as they want to know what happened in the war film, but William is no longer interested. This leads to Ginger betting William that he can't train Jumble to be a sheep dog. The bets hardens William's resolve and he now daydreams of all the amazing feats Jumble will achieve as a sheep dog. And of course, while he'd hire him out to the farmer, Jenks, he'd charge him more and make it difficult for him! Settling old scores!

Deciding to train Jumble in secret, seeing as the other Outlaws didn't support the cause, he heads over to the aforementioned Jenks' farm. Seeing Jenks heading towards the pigsties, William heads directly for the outfields, where he comes across many sheep. So, the training begins. Unfortunately, Jumble's idea of bringing the sheep efficiently to the corner was running wildly and barking loudly at them from all directions. Jumble, now in a state of ecstacy, ignores William's commands to stop. This, of course, brings Farmer Jenks to the chaotic scene; throwing stones at Jumble and grabbing William by the scrub of his neck.

Farmer Smith arrives now, but even his attempts do not calm a furious Jenks, who wants five pounds in damages and Jumble destroyed for sheep worrying. William pleads with Jenks. He'll bring him all the money, two-pence a week, as long as he doesn't tell Mr Brown or destroy Jumble.

As he drags William home, the damages have decreased to three pounds, but it seems the destruction of Jumble is a must.

Mr Brown deals with William harshly and his solicitor advises him to pay the damages and get rid of Jumble. William pleads for the life of Jumble, but his father won't hear of it, his mother doesn't have a sympathetic ear either.

William decides to keep Jumble in the barn until the whole mess dies down. When the vet arrives to take care of business, Jumble is nowhere to be seen. It becomes clear that the adult world is against him. He decides to take Jumble and go on the run.

We are then introduced to Miss Wortleton, who has taken a house on the outskirts of Marleigh, in which she housed a large number of dogs. She cannot abide dogs being maltreated, so while she is worried about the amount of dogs she has; when she sees a farmer giving a sheep dog a hiding during training, she buys it for £10 (even though the farmer, secretly, only wanted £5).

She sees William outside her home looking at a sign-post, as if wondering which way to go. She witnesses his affectionate behaviour towards Jumble and thinks that William is the boy to relieve her of one of her dogs.

William declines her offer of viewing all of her dogs until refreshments are offered. At seeing the amount of dogs she has, he considers that she collects dogs like someone might collect cigarette cards. So while she is trying to palm a dog off on William, William is in turn wanting her to look after Jumble until the fuss dies down. Miss Wortleton offers a sheep dog, Hector, to William. William, at first, declines, but having time to think while he demolishes a second plate of new current buns, then accepts. He decides he can go back to the original plan of hiding Jumble and can now say that he has swapped him for Hector. Hector, having nothing to do with the situation would be left out of it.

Walking home, William is less certain that his plan will work. But he comes upon a situation at the boundary of Farmer Jenk's land and Farmer Smith's land - sheep gone wild! Jenks has tied up his sheepdog as useless and William, deciding to watch proceedings, does the same with Jumble. However, Hector makes a run for the sheep. Smith seeing that Hector is trained, yells instructions, which are followed to the tee. Smith is impressed and tricks Farmer Jenks into saying that Jumble can live if Hector is for sale. Jenks says he'll buy him, but Smith says that he already has, will pay for the original damages - but must have proof! This sends Jenks off in a rage.

Escorting William home to speak with his parents, Smith tells them everything is fine and he'll manage Jenks. He gives William a ten-shilling note with the potential of more to come, dependent on the damages he has to pay Jenks.

Unaware of Jumble's change in fortune, Ethel returns home thinking that he has been destroyed. Thinking William is low on money as his pocket money was suspended, she offers him a low fee for collecting her shoes from the cobbler and she'll borrow the money for payment from mother. William flashes his ten-shilling note, saying he'll collect the shoes for free and lend her the money! Shouting "Hi, Jumble!", Ethel is thrown into "utter stupification". Life again, for William, is good!

Characters Events
William Sheep worrying
Douglas Places
Henry Ginger's House (Back Garden)
Jumble Jenks Farm
Farmer Jenks William's Home
Farmer Smith Miss Wortleton' s Home
Mr Brown
Mrs Brown
Miss Wortleton

Monday, 21 December 2020

Jimmy Story Review: 1.4 Jimmy, Detective

The Three Musketeers (Roger, Charles, and Bill) have decided to investigate a brooch now missing, but previously in the ownership of Sally's visiting aunt.

As Jimmy is not allowed to join, he and Bobby agree to investigate themselves. The Three Musketeers go off following a clue. Jimmy has it all figured out. His logic is that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime, in this case the greenhouse, so that's where they'll catch him. The trap will be a bucketful of 'spraying stuff' fitted up over the greenhouse door.

Jimmy leaves Bobby and goes inside, in search of something handcuff-like to secure the criminal. His search takes longer than expected, however he does find a chain and a rusty hook. His mother informs him that Sally's aunt has now found the brooch - caught in a scarf. Mrs Manning has told her to go and gather any carnations from the greenhouse that she might like.

Running breathlessly, Jimmy heads towards the greenhouse - we know the outcome! - the spraying stuff has gone all over her! She's gone off in a huff, 'like a volcano'.

Sally appears in the gap of the hedge, which they regularly meet at, and asks if he say covered her aunt in lime wash. He admits to the mistake, however Sally is jubilant at this knowledge - all she wanted was for the aunt, who has been bossing her around, to go home. She's currently packing, refusing to stay. She was fed up with Roger trying to find the brooch. All of this leaves Jimmy the hero, for once, and not Roger.

Mrs Manning

Monday, 14 December 2020

Just William at Christmas

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Here's a quick video with some ways to enjoy William during the Christmas period. Enjoy!