Meet the multicultural, shopaholic, gadget-geek kids of the Famous Five

THE Disneyfication of the Famous Five is set to end years of speculation that George shacked up with a woman and Timmy met his maker in a crush with a bus.

Instead, fans of the Five can look forward to meeting their digitally remastered offspring in a 21st century televised version of Enid Blyton’s most popular books.

From May 5, the Disney Channel will broadcast the animated adventures of the next generation sleuths, in a format likely to draw comparisons with Scooby Doo.

Stepping into the shoes of Julian, Dick, Anne and George are Max, Dylan, Allie and Jyoti — Timmy the dog is the only member of the maiden quintet to survive the toll of time.

The public-school cucumber sandwich-munching originals who spent the “hols” running amok on Kirrin Island, are making way for their multicultural progeny.

The cartoon TV series, Famous Five: On the Case, features 12-year-old Anglo-Indian Jo, whose name is “short for Jyoti, a Hindu world meaning light”.

Pastoral dweller Jo is the team leader and, like her mother George in the original Famous Five, is a tomboy.

Allie, Anne’s 12-year-old daughter, is a shopaholic Malibu-babe, courtesy of her mother’s move to California. Like her mother, she has a penchant for hairbands and no desire for adventure unless it involves some new retail experience.

Gadget-geek Dylan, 11-year-old son of Dick, dabbles on the Japanese stock market, trawling for opportunities to turn a few yen. Max, an adrenaline junkie, is Julian’s 13-year-old son.

Instead of pocket torches and pen knives to track down their prey, the new heroes of the iPod generation are equipped with mobile phones, wireless laptops and all manner of modern machinery.

And while the original Five discovered smuggling operations and foiled kidnap plots, the new characters uncover a pirate DVD factory on nearby Shelter Island.

Steve Aranguren, vice president of global original programming at the Disney Channel, said the new series captures Blyton’s themes of mystery and adventure.

However, Vivienne Endecott, a member of the Enid Blyton Society, said she was “wary” about the Famous Five makeover.

“I don’t really see how you can take the Famous Five out of their era, which is 1940s Britain,” she said.

“Anybody can write about four children and a dog, and my concern is that modern kids who watch this will think that the Famous Five is all about gadgets and multiculturalism.”

Better than thinking they were all allowed lashings of ginger beer and had an aunt called Fanny. Beastly.

What they’re doing now

George: The tousled-haired tomboy of the original series gave birth to a Hindu daughter — proving her desire to be a boy was a childish fad.

Anne: Got the hell out of Dorset and carved a career as a successful art dealer in California while mothering a vacuous daughter.

Julian: The oldest and cleverest became a key member of the Monster Raving Looney Party and had an illegitimate son.

Dick: Drew the dole while using government money to fund an polar expedition — until Revenue caught up with him.

Timmy: Remained a dog.

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