“They have went and gone and done it.”

The cycle run this morning was in drizzle rain, but summer is over so we have to adapt to the changing seasons.

Home showered, and as I flicked through the television menu, I spotted Swallows and Amazons, my all-time favourite children’s adventure film, well ‘Railway Children comes a close second. Both were made for television and show on the BBC.     

However when it started, something was very wrong with the storyline, Oh no, help ma boab, it’s a remake, they have totally spoiled it for me. My favourite children’s movie – Swallows and Amazons, why do they do that?

Swallows and Amazons is a children’s adventure novel by English author Arthur Ransome and first published on 21 July 1930 by Jonathan Cape.

At the time, Ransome had been working as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian but decided to become a full-time author rather than go abroad as a foreign correspondent. He did continue to write part-time for the Guardian, however.

The book was inspired by a summer spent by Ransome teaching the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. Three of the Altounyan children’s names are adopted directly for the Walker family.  I loved the 1962 adaptation that followed closely the author’s thinking. It had all the delight of a summer holiday spent in the Lake District, set in a time between the wars, the summer of 1929 the main characters,

The crew of the Swallow

John Walker: eldest of the Walker children and Captain of the Swallow.

Susan Walker: Mate of the Swallow and the cook and domestic organizer.

Titty Walker: Able Seaman of the Swallow and most imaginative of the Walkers.

This nickname was the real-life Mavis Altounyan taken from Joseph Jacobs’s children’s story Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse. Changed to Kitty in the 1962 television series of Swallows and Amazons, (for obvious reasons, Titty caused much tittering amounts children.)  

Roger Walker: at first Ship’s Boy, which he did not like, so was changed to Able Seaman; Roger was very fond of chocolate.

Bridget Walker: Ship’s Baby who proves to be a brave member of the crew.

The crew of Amazon,

Nancy Blackett: (real name: Ruth) — Captain of the Amazon; an enterprising leader. She is an imaginative and lively tomboy who is always willing to create fantasies and adventures. Though somewhat brash and short-tempered, she nonetheless has a heart of gold and is always quick to defend the weaker and less-confident characters in the tales.

Peggy Blackett: (real name: Margaret) — Mate of the Amazon, Nancy’s sister; although a bit timid and unassuming, she tries to live up to Nancy’s expectations

Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow until he sold it a number of years later, while Mavis remained in the Altounyan family and is now on permanent display in the Ruskin Museum. 

The first film was a delight, the children seemed real somehow, what we learned about seamanship and lines of sight were very accurate and would instantly be recognised by any seaman today. This new version was a disaster, totally out of context with the real story and the children totally out of character with the storyline of the book.

I am not a lover of remakes – they seldom work, I can think only of two that did. “Parent Trap” (Hailey Mills playing the part of the twins in the original, and so badly cast) and “A star is born” (the first was very much of its time).

Looks like some very wet cycling over the coming week, so a lot more bike maintenance, ho-hum

Stay safe. 

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