Yes, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Making A Famous Five TV Show – And He’s Not the First Surprising Director to Pivot to Kids’ Stuff

Today’s Famous Five news is just the latest in a long line of directors making left-field switches to children’s TV and movies

Ryan Gosling in Drive
Photo: Film District

Bet you weren’t expecting the eyebrow-raising TV news of the day to involve a new adaptation of beloved children’s author Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. But the surprising twist in the BBC’s announcement today didn’t concern the bestselling series of whimsical, jolly-hockey-sticks children’s adventure novels from the 1940s-1960s – rather the creator behind this new series: Nicolas Winding Refn.

Considering this Danish director is famous for stylish but graphically violent films like The Neon Demon, Only God Forgives and Drive, The Famous Five will be somewhat of a left turn for him.

The series will have three 90-minute episodes drawing on Blyton’s 21 Famous Five novels, which detailed the adventures of five daring young explorers – Julian, Dick, Anne, George and their dog Timmy – as they spend their school holidays gallivanting around the English countryside and coastline, solving mysteries, finding treasure and catching criminals. Filming has begun in South West England, although casting details are yet to be announced. Bafta-winning Tim Kirkby (The Pentaverate) will direct.

Unsurprisingly, Winding Refn’s adaptation is being described as a “new reimagining” of the books that promises to be a “modern, timely and irreverent action series with adventure at its heart”, so we can probably expect something a bit edgier than the previous TV adaptations in the 1970s and 1990s. Although hopefully not as dark as Five Have Plenty Of Fun Blowing a Drug Dealer’s Head Off or Five Go Down To The Sea And Drown a Smuggler.


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