Five Go to Mystery Moor is one of my most watched 90s Famous Five episodes, but I have to admit that I’ve only watched the 70s one a handful of times. So re-watching this episode felt new, and interesting. Read on to find out what I thought!
We start off nicely with the rivalry between George and Henry, George sorting out one of the stables and Henry is already pointing out to her that she’s not that interested in helping out with the horses. The rivalry between them is pitched just right so that it doesn’t overshadow the whole episode but just balances things out. As we can see in the end, George uses a clever trick to send Timmy to get help by telling him to find Henry instead of Julian and Dick which ultimately saves George and Anne from the travellers.
Lots of nice little touches weave in and out of this episode, such as the story of the Bartle brothers being told by the blacksmith as it is in the book, though there isn’t much mention of the mists and how dangerous they can so there is a little bit of a surprise when the mists come down later on in the episode.
I enjoyed the use of the quarry in this episode, using it as the Five’s camping place and hiding place and as the place they discover the parcels being dropped from the plane. The quarry in my mind has always been very atmospheric and its nice to have it in this episode in its proper place.
Overall the important bits of a true fan are included in the filming and its very nicely done. Mystery Moor is a very atmospheric book and its nice to see as much of that as possible being brought into the frame.
You may be wondering why I have named this section the unnecessary, if it wasn’t clear enough, this part is all about the changes that were made that didn’t really need to happen!
The biggest pet peeve of the episode is the simplest, stupidest and hardest to understand change of the whole episode – possibly the whole series – they changed
Sniffer’s name to Sniffy. I mean, honestly, Sniffy! You can picture me rolling my eyes right? Good. There is no rhyme or reason (that I can see) for this change. It doesn’t change his role, his personality or his overall impact on the episode, so why change it? Why do it? I just don’t understand. It is the mostly completely pointless thing in the world!
Another character issue we face is the one that Henrietta is too girly! Once again we are faced with a tomboy who has long hair an overly girly attitude. We aren’t subjected to her boasting (which is frankly a relief) and her exploits with her brothers and millions of riding awards. She’s just too wimpy to be any competition for George which makes it hard to work out why George is so horrible to her, apart from the fact that Henry constantly winds her up about how she doesn’t want to be holidaying at the stables.
Sniffy’s father isn’t part of the bad guys either, just a grumpy traveller who happens be to used as a smoke screen for the real forgers who eventually get caught by the police – who like usual magically appear at the end to sort everything out. The fact that Sniffy’s father isn’t part of the bad guys just leaves way for another couple of characters, such as the strangely disconcerting creepy boss man who has dark glasses showing us all that he really is not a nice person!
Changes like this are seriously not needed, not when Blyton’s original work plays out like a TV program anyway on the page . It flows so well on the page that the adaptation loses some of that which is a shame.
The one thing I did notice that struck me as quite funny was that during the scene with
Sniffy and his horse Clopper in the Moorland Riding School stable, there is a man behind the horse, clearly a trainer or something to stop the horse from getting nervous with all the strange children around. Obviously it is a health and safety issue but its quite funny to randomly see a man’s head popping out of the back of the horse. Its just an odd thing to happen!
Overall this episode is very well done, lots of nice touches and things added to make it a bit more like the book. The little touches are what makes it so good. Its not adapted by with of the two writers I have come to associate with the series, but rather a new name to me, Gloria Tors. I think if you have a look at the episode and consider it against the book you’ll see what a good job she has done!
What do you think?