BBC enters bedroom to portray the 'dreadful' Enid Blyton (The Daily Telegraph, 11 novembre 2009).
Revue sonore au cours de l'émission Front Row sur BBC Radio 4.
Kirsty Lang and children's author Francesca Simon discuss Enid, a TV drama about the life of Enid Blyton. Starring Helena Bonham Carter as Enid, the drama follows the writer's life - from her unhappy childhood to her becoming internationally renowned - showing how the orderly, reassuringly clear worlds which she created in her stories contrasted with the complexity of her personal life.
SHE HAD WRITE STUFF ; Helena Bonham Carter reveals why she loved playing the Famous Fivechildren's writer Enid Blyton (Daily Record, repris par California Chronicle, 14 novembre 2009).
Independent.ie, 21 novembre 2009.
At least Enid (BBC4) was about something -- specifically, the life and career of Enid Blyton, who retreated into denial and fantasy after her much-loved and put-upon father left the family home and then grew up to become a monster to her husband and daughters. That, at any rate, was the film's thesis, which it elaborated with persuasiveness and panache. Helena Bonham Carter was wonderfully good as the icy central figure, holding tea parties for adoring children while her own banished offspring watched from the landing.
Matthew MacFadyen was affecting as her despised first husband and there were telling performances in minor roles, too. Indeed, the film was so attentive to character and nuance that by the end you even felt a degree a pity for the driven and deluded Blyton herself.
Enid, Doctor Who and The Art on Your Wall with Sue Perkins (The Observer, 22 novembre 2009).
Life was no fairy tale for Enid Blyton's offspring (Daily Mail, 2 avril 2010).
Enid, BBC Four (The artsdesk, 16 novembre 2009)
- Enid, BBC Four
Beloved children's author Enid Blyton is portrayed as a ruthless ice maiden with a father fixation
by Adam SweetingMonday, 16 November 2009
Enid Blyton (Helena Bonham Carter) curbs her enthusiasm for long-suffering husband Hugh Pollock (Matthew Macfadyen)
Has somebody got it in for poor Matthew Macfadyen? In the recent series of Criminal Justice he didn’t even make it to the end of episode one before he was fatally stabbed by Maxine Peake. Now here he was as Enid Blyton’s adoring and supportive first husband Hugh Pollock, books editor at the George Newnes publishing house, only to find himself on the wrong end of Ms Blyton’s brutally self-centred drive for success at any price. For heaven’s sake, was this any way to treat a man who’d given you your big break in publishing and even bought you a new typewriter?
Eventually he was driven to drink and expelled from the marital home, and was last seen walking dolefully down their leafy Buckinghamshire drive with his belongings crammed into his Army knapsack. He was thenceforth an un-person in the Blyton saga, and she even ensured that his publishing career was terminated.
But whatever her husband’s fate, Enid’s goose was trussed, plucked and boiled with sadistic thoroughness by writer Lindsay Shapero. For the first hour of this 90-minute biopic (part of yet another BBC mini-season, Women We Loved), I was gripped by the cold efficiency of Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of the beloved children’s author. Though, post-transmission, she may be beloved a little less (Blyton and daughters, pictured)Enid__daughters_small
With 500 million copies of her 750 books sold worldwide, Blyton is an acknowledged phenomenon, her sales matched only by the scale of her self-regard. “I am the guardian of our children’s morals,” she announced regally to her interviewer on BBC radio. Not only this, but “I seem to understand instinctively what it is that children want from a story.” What she really meant was she lived much of the time in her own imaginary childhood world, and her inner narrative provided her with endless material for her books. Everything was about her.
Her love and empathy for children seemingly knew no bounds, as she diligently toured the country reading her stories to excited groups of them, and spent hours answering sacks of juvenile fan mail. But inside her rambling Home Counties mansion, her personal life resembled an expanse of frozen tundra. When she invited selected young fans to her home for tea and cakes, her own daughters were despatched upstairs and ordered not to intrude. She hired a nurse to prevent the children from interfering with her work, and made it known that she would be available to her children only between 4 and 5pm daily. Even this over-taxed her reserves of empathy. “Incidentally, I’m sending Gillian away to school,” she off-handedly informed the bemused Hugh one day. “Any objections?” Being speechless, he couldn’t think of any.
Having the daughters at all had been more a demonstration of bloody-minded willpower than of maternal instinct, since she had what her gynaecologist described as “the uterus of a 12- or 13-year-old girl”. Very apt for a woman immersed in her own perpetual childhood. The doc proposed hormone treatment. “I’m a very determined woman, Dr Beresford,” she retorted. “If I want a baby I’m jolly well going to have one.”
As the story progressed, I was reminded of Alan Whicker’s interview with billionaire J. Paul Getty, when the great inquisitor suggested to his subject that Getty’s success in business was matched only by his abject failure as a human being. Shapero’s screenplay depicted Blyton as haunted by memories of her wildly idealised father leaving her mother for another woman, prompting Enid to disown mother and siblings and depart for teacher training college. She saw none of them again for 30 years, until her brother Hanly appeared on her doorstep to tell her her mother had died, after a 10 year illness.
An affair with a surgeon, Kenneth Waters (Denis Lawson), seemed to provoke a mild thaw, the implication being that he was a replacement father figure. After she'd become pregnant at 47, the tragedy of losing her unborn son after falling off some steps briefly seemed to penetrate her laminated exterior.
But Enid was a one-act play, ultimately scuppered by the absence of a convincing dramatic arc. A strong cast performed miniature marvels with the script, but they didn't have enough notes to play with - Macfadyen had nowhere to go beyond being the stoical Bloody Nice Bloke, while Lawson was so understanding and uncritical that he began to seem half-witted. Above all, there was no way around the fact that you wanted the central character to be run over by a bus.
Enid repeats on BBC Four on Thursday at 10pm, Friday at 1.25am and Saturday (21 November) at 9pm
Submitted by Gillian Simmons (not verified) on Wed, 08/09/2010 - 00:21.
I was a pupil at St Bernards Convent, High Wycombe, when we performed one of Enid Blyton's plays early in the war: I had to speak the opening line with the author sitting in the front row! I thought then that she lived in Beaconsfield - and (apropos) Mrs. Fairley's comment, do not recall her as being either large or well-built! My earliest memories pre-war in London are of "Sunny Stories" tumbling through the letter-box and my racing upstairs to my grandmother on the top floor, to ask her to read them to me. In later years, my own children used to borrow my typewriter and write hilarious send-ups of her tales, usually involving a lot of blood! (Living in Tasmania, I have not seen the BBC 4 play, but we recently watched "Gracie" on the ABC).
Submitted by Ulla Harvey (not verified) on Sat, 21/11/2009 - 20:14.
Adam Sweeting's reviews are always entertaining. Where has he been all my life? Dinner?
Submitted by Mrs. Mary Fairley (not verified) on Fri, 20/11/2009 - 18:45.
I knew Enid Blyton personally & her children. She did NOT live in that Home Counties Mansion but in a small thatched |Cottage in Well End, Bolurne End, Buckinghanshire. He fan mail, tumbling in addressed to "Green Hedges" was the home of her second husband Kennenth Waters. Another wrong piece of info. I would have thought her remaining daughter, Imogen, would have corrected all these misleading points, which lent nothing to the history of this vile woman. She was a large, well built woman, & I could hardly imagine her frolicking on the bed with Kenneth Waters - she would have needed a very large four poster to withstand the weight!!
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