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Famous Five

Characteristics of the series of 1978


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Screenshot Images

Southern TelevisionFünf Freunde TitelscreenKirrin CottageFünf Freunde am StartJulian, Dick, Anne und George im GartenGeorge im VorspannJulian im VorspannAnne im VorspannDick im VorspannTimmy im VorspannJulian, Dick, Anne und George im HeuFünf Freunde mit dem Rad unterwegsAutoKirrin Bahnhof mit ZugKirrin BahnhofFannyQuentinRogersKirrin IslandEryngium, das Boot

Famous Five revisited – in conversation with Marcus Harris

Radiointerview mit Marcus HarrisAs a producer at Weston-super-Mare’s Sunshine Hospital Radio, I am always on the lookout for interesting events to cover or people to interview. With the planned release of all the 1978/79 Southern TV Famous Five episodes on DVD, it seemed the perfect moment to find out more and relive some of my lost youth by speaking with Marcus Harris, also known as Julian from the 70s series.
I met with Marcus near his home and spent a very interesting and fun couple of hours, firstly trying to find somewhere to do the recording without being drowned out by background music (which is terrible for post production editing). Marcus and his contacts came to the rescue and we ended up in a small room at the back of the Tourist Information having moved an old Christmas Tree out of the way – the joys of show business! The picture accompanying this article was taken in the beautiful council chamber on the floor above but, due to an wedding about to take place, we couldn’t stay there.

The interview covered Marcus’ early days in theatre (he started at age 4), the auditions (with 4000 other hopefuls) for his part in the Famous Five, stories from behind the scenes during filming (including the importance that Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody played in the children's daily travels), and how the arrival of the Internet has revived interest and brought the series to the attention of a whole new generation of fans.

It was really great to meet up with Marcus and spend time reminiscing not only about the series but also the 1970s, an era now lost, where life seemed much safer and children could still dream that the sort of adventure written about the five could, just possibly, happen to them.

The programme ‘Famous Five revisited – in conversation with Marcus Harris’ is due to be broadcast on Sunshine Hospital Radio in early spring. Soon after it will be made available on the station’s own website (www.sunshinehospitalradio.co.uk) and the Famous Five International Fansite.

Transscript of the Radio Interview

Andrew Read
Sunshine Hospital Radio
Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom
January 2011


No Bootlegs! Please be aware, that most offers in the internet, especially ebay, are bootlegs. "Southern Star" as holder of the TV-rights and "Reel Corporation Australia Pty Ltd." take action against sellers and buyers to dry up all illegal activities with the '78 TV series.

Commercial Media

Here are all legally available editions of the '78 TV series from several parts of the world:

The REEL edition The DVD edition by REEL
The REEL version is an English DVD release of the `78 TV series, which accidentially reached the Australian market in 2005.
Due to an administrative confusion error "PRIMETIME" sent the English mastercopies to the Australian DVD production company REEL - instead of the version produced in 1996- and REEL then released them with the cover and label of the 1996 version. This set was officially available in Australia (see left picture column).When they realized their mistake, already too many copies had been sold. Remaining copies they had in their stores were taken back and destroyed.
This makes the DVD 4 Disk set the only official "inofficial" DVD release and therefore an enormous rarity. Later a DVD 3Disk Set with slightly changed cover and the additional imprint "Revised edition" was released by REEL (see right picture column). Especially the last picture on the left hand side marks the rarity of this release: On the DVD, only including the 1978 series, there is also "Five on a Treasure Island", from the 1996 version.

english Commercial Video The VHS edition by ILC Group Ltd
On November 8th, 1999, "Southern Star" licensed a VHS Video edition by the English media company "ILC Group Ltd", containing the sequences of the 1978/79 version, which were sold in Great Britain until November 1st, 2003.
On the back of the cover of the VHS tapes you can find the imprint Licensed from "Southern Star". "Southern Star until today is the owner of the rights concerning the mastertapes of the series. "Chorion" on the other hand has no rights whatsoever of the old series, unlike all presumptions.
(See: Special page "Broadcasting rights")

ILC Group Ltd
The Props Building Pinewood
Studios Pinewood Road
Iver Heath
Buckinghamshire SL0 0NH
Great Britain

From the point in time, when the media world announced that all rights concerning film and TV - productions went over to "Chorion" in 2003, no new distributions of licenses took place from the side of "Southern Star" and also " ILC Group Ltd" closed the production and selling of the VHS tapes.

French commercial video The VHS edition by CITEL Video
In the late 90-ies the French video-company "Citel VIDEO" launched the series officially. It is at the moment the only European legal release after the last broadcast by SuperRTL and is therefore a rarity as well. Also interesting are the cast&credits in French. The English song was taken over 1:1, only the cast& credits were inserted in French.
This version on VHS is hardly available. Even fans in France are searching for these tapes. And still there is yet more demand for the old version than the new. The separate sequences sometimes have diverging titles in comparison to the books, what makes it difficult to relate them to a certain story. It is a box made from cardboard containing the sequences (see picture). "Citel-VHS- Primetime", which is the cover to the box (3VHS). It is released in SECAM and can only be displayed on SECAM video players, because this is the most frequented formant throughout France. That is also the reason why there are only seldom screenshots available in the German speaking area. The other pictures are the cover-presentation of the box, its front, right side as well as its back and left side.


Expert opinions taken from TV-periodicals
"Successful entertainment with uncramped actors. An Enid Blyton movie on the highest level."
"Strong kids against the nasty guys of this world - solid entertainment with many possibilities of identification."
"Good dialogues and believable actors guarantee suspense."
"After the youth books of the English author Enid Blyton. Realized as an English-German co-production at the original scenes of action in Exmoor and Somerset."
"An intelligent series, convincing with its love for detail."
"Measured suspense and attentive dramaturgy"
"A series with completely normal children and no oversubscribed film-kids."
Platz 1 der Top 20 Kinder- & Jugendserien (wunschliste.de, 26.08.2005) Who would like to see this series again?
It's easy: Click on www.wunschliste.de (assure that the entry "Fünf Freunde [The Famous Five] GB,1977" is checked) and confirm your vote by clicking on the button "Alle markierten Serien wählen". Meanwhile the Famous Five managed to achieve the first place in the ranking. SUPER RTL or some other TV-company will hopefully repeat the broadcast of the series.
'TV Hits - Die beliebtesten Kindersendungen' (RTL, 26.02.2005)TV-Hits - the most loved children's-series
In connection with the Programme "TV-hits, the most loved children's-series", the TV-broadcasting company RTL entrusted the polling institute FORSA with an opinion poll. The result: The "Famous Five"-series of 1978 ranged place 16 of the 25 most popular TV-programmes for children.

  • Georges Transvestitenrolle wird nicht ausgiebig behandelt, auch Anne trägt ausschließlich Hosen
  • es gibt keinen Alf, den Fischerjungen
  • auf der Insel gibt es keine gefährlichen Klippen
  • Kirrin Bay ist keine Bucht, sondern offenes Wasser
  • Anne weniger ängstlich und wesentlich vernünftiger als im Buch
  • Altersverhältnisse stimmen kaum mit dem Buch überein
  • Quentin und George vertragen sich "zu gut" (auch mit Julian, Dick und Anne)
  • Drehzeit wurde in die 70er Jahre gelegt - Schlaghosen, Anfänge der Computer, Quentin hat ein eigenes Auto, Solarforschung
  • Praktisch alle Bahnfahrten werden durch Quentin mit Auto ersetzt
  • Quentin taucht in jeder Folge auf, die Eltern von Julian, Dick und Anne werden überhaupt nicht erwähnt
  • Rogers (Gärtner) übernimmt die Rolle der Joan (Köchin)
  • Quentin gilt als anerkannter Forscher für regenerierbare Energieträger
  • Georges Boot heißt "ERYNGIUM". Eryngium ist der lateinische Name der Pflanze "Mannstreu". (Dank an Ed für die Erläuterung)
  • Serie von "Ford" gesponsert (hat sonst ja keiner gemerkt - oder?)
  • Kuriosum: eine Szene wurde in zwei Folgen hineingeschnitten, und zwar in [D] und [U]. Hier ist die Szene, einmal etwas heller, einmal etwas dunkler, relativ am Ende (ca. Minute 42), Dauer ca. 10 Sekunden.
    Inhalt: Polizei rast mit zwei PKWs und einem Motorrad ans Ende eines Hanges. Aus dem vorderen Fahrzeug, mit eingeschalteten Abblendlicht und Nebelscheinwerfern, Perspektive von unten, steigen der Beifahrer (da englisches Auto, in Fahrtrichtung links) und aus dem Fond (ebenfalls links) ein Polizist aus und eilen zum Strand. Motorrad (ebenfalls mit eingeschaltetem Licht), stellt sein Fahrzeug ab. Die ausgestiegenen Polizisten des Autos eilen vor der Kamera vorbei, von rechts nach links. (Dank an Christian für die Feststellung)
  • komplette Rollenbesetzung aller Schauspieler dieser Serie
  • Gary Russells ('Dick') Erinnerungen über seine Kindheit bei den Dreharbeiten
  • die Schauspieler dieser  Serie woanders...
  • so sehen einige Drehorte heute aus

  • Press Clippings

    ZeitungsausschnittZeitungsausschnittZeitungsausschnittZeitungsausschnittFünf Freunde helfen ihrem Kameraden: Die Freunde lernen am Stand Mädchen Jo kennen. Ist ihre neue Freundin in den Einbruch bei Quentin verwickelt?Zeitungsausschnitt