The Famous Five | Nicolas Winding Refn’s Enid Blyton adaptation hits CBBC next week

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Nicolas Winding Refn has swapped ultraviolence for Enid Blyton. His The Famous Five adaptation is coming to CBBC on 9 December. 

The Famous Five, Nicolas Winding Refn’s adaptation of Enid Blyton’s classic series of children’s adventure books, is set to air its first feature-length programme on BBC on 9 December, at 5.25pm.

The series will consist of three episodes, all of them lasting 90 minutes. While the first episode is set to air on CBBC and BBC iPlayer next week, the two remaining episodes won’t be available until sometime in 2024. The first episode of The Famous Five will also be broadcast on BBC One between Christmas and New Year. 

The series, as well as the books, follows four young adventurers and their dog as they “encounter treacherous, action-packed adventures, remarkable mysteries, unparalleled danger and astounding secrets” as described by the BBC. 

Elliott Rose, Kit Rakusen, Flora Jacoby Richardson and Diaana Babnicova lead the cast and are joined by Jack Gleeson, James Lance, Ann Akinjirin, William Abadie and Diana Quick. 

Winding Refn seems like an unlikely choice to lead such a wholesome adaptation. Winding Refn’s previous works include the hyperviolent Drive, dark and gloomy Only God Forgives and the cannibalistic The Neon Demon that really delved into how the fashion world eats you alive. 

The Cannes-winning director has focused on making TV shows instead of feature films. He crafted Too Old To Die Young, starring Miles Teller, for Prime Video and Copenhagen Cowboy for Netflix. Both were bloodsoaked spectacles, but something tells us there will be considerably less blood in The Famous Five. However, the new series is reportedly inspired by Quadropheania.

Blyton wrote the 21 books in The Famous Five series between the years of 1942 and 1962, but the series has remained a firm favourite with modern readers too. It’s still unclear what books the new series will focus on or whether the episodes will include completely new adventures based on Blyton’s characters. 

We’ll keep you updated on the release dates for the last two episodes of The Famous Five.

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