Crack open the ‘hindbær’ pop: the Famous Five are coming ‘home’!

Enid Blyton’s crime-solving quintet are swapping England for Funen on their way to the Danish cinemas, and not for the first time

Set in the craggy coves of Cornwall in southeast England, the ‘Famous Five’ series about four children and a dog, released from boarding school to embark on adventures with liberal ‘lashings of ginger beer’, is quintessentially British.

It might surprise many, therefore, to learn that the Danish film producer Bullitt Film plans to adapt the Enid Blyton book series for Scandinavian screens. However, this isn’t the first time. Over 40 years ago, Danish director Katrine Hedman made two films: ’De 5 og spionerne’ (Famous five and the spies) in 1969 and 'De 5 i fedtefadet’ (Famous five get in trouble) in 1970.

The decision to make a new film reflects Bullitt’s belief that Danish adults, who fondly remember the films or the book series from their childhood, will be keen to revisit the Famous Five with a new generation of potential fans in tow.

“I have a vivid memory of the novels, and I don't know anyone in my generation who isn't familiar with The Famous Five,” Bullitt producer Elise Lund Larsen told the Danish Film Institute website.

“The recognition and identification are really strong for parents, and we hope they will be curious about seeing an adaptation of the books they remember from their childhood.”

However, the source material will apparently need sprucing up in order to make it both palatable for the Scandinavian market and adaptable into a feature-length film.

“Rereading the novels, we realised that none of the plots are complex enough for a 90-minutes feature,” explained Larsen.

“It's essential to keep the story fresh and also to ground it in a Danish context, set in a familiar location exuding the Danish summer with fields the colour of ripe corn."

Larsen is currently searching for suitable filming locations on the island of Funen, and shooting is due to start in the summer of 2014. Mariella Harpelunde Jensen, an experienced children’s filmmaker, and television director Kathrine Windfeld, who has made episodes of ‘Forbrydelsen’ (‘The Killing’) and ‘Wallander’, have been signed up to co-direct.

Denmark is just one of 50 countries to translate a book series that has sold over 100 million copies since the first edition was published in 1942. Blyton, a prolific author who wrote over 600 books in her lifetime, had only intended to publish six or eight novels about the Famous Five, but ended up writing 21. The books are particularly popular in France and Germany where a further 47 books were written by other authors.

The title characters – the boys Julian and Dick, the girls Ann and Georgina (a tomboy known as George, who the author based on herself) and Timmy the mongrel dog – can sometimes be confused with Blyton’s Secret Seven, Adventurous Four and the Five Find-Outers, but Larsen is confident modern audiences will find it easy to identify with them.

"I like the fact that the children are the main characters in their own right and don't just solve the grown-ups' problems,” she said.

"The kids are all capable, and even more so when they stand together. That's a message we'd like to send out."