Enchanted Lands is a British children's television series for the BBC in 1997 - 1998.
The Magic of the Faraway Tree Edit
The first title of the main trilogy, The Enchanted Wood, was published in 1939, although the Faraway Tree and Moon-Face had already made a brief appearance in 1936 in The Yellow Fairy Book. A picture-strip book, Up the Faraway Tree, was published in 1951. Over the years, the Faraway Tree stories have been illustrated by various artists including Dorothy Wheeler, Rene Cloke, Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, and Georgina Hargreaves.
The Enchanted Wood Edit
In the first novel in the series, Jo, Bessie and Fanny move to live near a large wood. One day, they go for a walk in the wood and discover an enormous tree whose branches seem to reach into the clouds. This is the Faraway Tree.
When the children climb the Faraway Tree they discover it is inhabited by different magical creatures, including Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, The Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname and the Angry Pixie. They befriend some of these creatures, in particular Moon-face and Silky. At the very top of the tree they discover a ladder which leads them to a magical land. This land is different on each visit, because each place moves on from the top of the tree to make way for a new land. The children are free to come and go, but they must leave before the land moves on or they will be stuck there until the land returns to the Faraway Tree. In various chapters, one of the children get stuck in the land.
The lands at the top are sometimes extremely unpleasant – for example the Land of Dame Slap, an aggressive school teacher – and sometimes fantastically enjoyable, notably the Land of Birthdays, Land of Goodies, Land of Take-What-You-Want and the Land of Do-As-You-Please.
The first land the three children visit is The Roundabout Land, where they give some cake to two rabbits, and the rabbits dig a hole for themselves and the three children. The last land they visit in this book is The Land of Birthdays, where the brownies and the inhabitants of the Faraway Tree celebrate Bessie's Birthday.
The Magic Faraway Tree Edit
Jo, Bessie and Fanny's cousin Dick comes to stay and he joins the secret adventures in the lands of the magic Faraway Tree. Dick is not interested at first but later on he gets interested, and into mischief.
The Folk of the Faraway Tree Edit
Connie, a mischievous girl, comes to enjoy a few days with the children, while her mother, Lizzie, is sick. At first Connie refuses to believe in the Faraway Tree or the magical folk who live in it, even when the Angry Pixie throws ink at her or when Dame Washalot soaks her. Jo, Bessie, and Fanny take her to the lands at the top of the tree and Connie gets a few surprises! The Saucepan Man's mother decides to live in the tree, leaving her job as a baker in Dame Slap's land. She sets up a surprising cake shop in the tree.
Up the Faraway Tree Edit
Jo, Bessie, and Fanny are joined by Robin and Joy, two children who have read all about the magic Faraway Tree and The Enchanted Wood. In come more exciting adventures in the various types of lands at the top of the Tree. All children are captured by the devious and sinister Enchanter Red-Cloak, have exciting times in the Land of Wishes, and give a delicious tea-party when the Land of Cakes arrives.
The main characters are Jo, Bessie, and Fanny, three siblings. Fanny is the youngest, Bessie is next in age and Jo is their big brother. They live near the Enchanted Wood and are friends of the residents of the Faraway Tree. Other characters include:
- The Angry Pixie, who lives in a house with a tiny window and has a
habit of throwing cold water or any liquid at hand over people who dare to peep inside.
- An owl lives in the house after the Angry Pixie's. He is a friend of Silky's.
- Silky the fairy. Silky is so named because of her long, silky, golden hair.
- Mr.Watzisname cannot remember his name. He sleeps and snores all the
time. During a particular story at the Land of Secrets, Mr. Watzisname discovers that his name is 'Kollamoolitumarellipawkyrollo'. This is forgotten by the end of the story (even by the man himself) and he goes back to being Mr. Watzisname.
- Dame Washalot, who spends her time washing her clothes and throwing
the dirty wash water down the tree. If she has no clothes to wash, she washes the dirty laundry of other people and even the leaves of the Faraway Tree.
- Moonface, named for his round face that looks like the moon. His
house is likewise round, and filled with curved furniture. He is the owner of the slippery-slip, a slide in the middle of his house which lets you slide down to the bottom of the Faraway Tree instead of climbing down; given its obvious use as a means of gaining access to the tree, it has played an important part in some of the adventures where others have sought control of the tree or their rooms.
- The Saucepan Man, who lives with Mr. Watzisname. His name stems from
the fact that he is covered all over with saucepans and kettles. Sometimes, he cannot understand what his friends are saying because he is partially deaf, which is further aggravated by all the noise from the pans and kettles which he carries all the time. In the cartoon series he looks very similar to Horace and Jasper from 1961 Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The Saucepan Man also appears in another lesser known Blyton book, Brownie Tales, helping the travellers out of one of their many bouts of trouble on their journey.
- The Saucepan Man's mother, who lives with Dame Washalot. She runs a cake shop.
- Dame Slap, who runs a school for bad pixies which, in adventures, the friends accidentally land in.
In modern reprints, the names of some of the characters have been changed. Jo has been changed to Joe, the more common spelling for males, and Bessie is now Beth, the former name having fallen out of usage as a nickname for Elizabeth. Fanny and Dick, whose names now carry unfortunate connotations, have been renamed Frannie and Rick. The character of Dame Slap has become Dame Snap, and no longer practises corporal punishment but instead reprimands her students by shouting at them.
In October 2014, it was announced that the books will be adapted for the cinema for the first time and are being developed for a live action film version by Sam Mendes' production company, Neal Street Productions.
In 1997, stories from the novels were adapted into ten-minute episodes for the TV series Enid Blyton's Enchanted Lands.
Adventures of the Wishing-Chair Edit
Mollie and Peter, searching for a birthday present for their mother, find a mysterious antiques shop which appears to be run by fairy folk. There, they find a magic wishing chair with the power to grow wings and fly. After the chair rescues them from the shop, and gets them home, they decide to keep the chair in their playhouse. On their first flight, they rescue a pixie called Chinky from a giant. The pixie comes to live in their playroom, and the remainder of the book concerns the adventures of the children, as the chair takes them, and Chinky to various magical places.They also get into trouble due to some invisible paint, and a boy who makes faces, and cannot unmake them. But they also have some good adventures like going to Greatheart, the magician's party or going to Grabbit Gnomes. The children have a most pleasant time with the chair, with some dangerous adventures.
The Wishing-Chair Again Edit
It's the first day of the summer holidays and Peter and Mollie are dying to go on more adventures with their wishing-chair. Peter inadvertently asks to go to the land of "Goodness-knows-where" and on the way, they disturb Sleep-alone, a very grumpy, sleepy, unlikeable hermit who loves to sleep alone, just like his name suggests and ask him where the land of Goodness-knows-where is and he mutters "Go and ask Goodness and leave me alone, will you?", so they do, but in the process the wishing chair is stolen and the only means of transport home is the dream bus, which poor Chinky falls out of and has to walk home, so he's bone-tired the next morning. Peter and Mollie are determined to find their chair and their search leads them to Mr Spells and he ends up saying "What's going on here? I am getting tired of hearing people say this chair is theirs, so could somebody please explain?" and Peter does so and finally they're on their way home. A few days later, the wishing-chair grows wings again, but only grows three, not four but the children decide to ride it anyway and the chair soon ends up flying sideways, so they immediately order the chair to land. They end up in the land of slipperies and when Peter offends one of them, they retaliate by chopping all the chair's wings off, so they need more ointment. Next rainy day, they try the ointment on some of their toys and Mollie accidentally makes Chinky's wand fly too and a strong gust of wind blows them out the window and to Mr Grim's school where mischievous brownies are sent. The brownies may be naughty but it's a horrible place to be; the teacher asks ridiculous questions that he doesn't know the answer to and at dinner time, there's not enough food for every brownie so he says "You haven't brushed your hair! No dinner!" (even though he knows perfectly well that some kinds of brownie and in this case pixie have hair that naturally doesn't lie down, he just doesn't like that particular pixie) and he makes Winks miss out on dinner too, just because he doesn't like him. Later that night, Chinky and a golliwog friend of his round up an army of toys and they force Mr Grim to relinquish the toys. Winks takes up residence in Peter and Mollie's house and they take him on adventures, but unfortunately he spoils them by doing something naughty and is eventually sent back to Mr Grim's school, with a consolation prize of the "Tid-bit" dish Peter won and I must say that even though Winks is a rather naughty brownie, I hope that Mr Grim has improved somewhat, or that a new, more reasonable teacher has taken over, because really, Mr Grim was somewhat unreasonable in his treatment of the brownies
More Wishing-Chair Stories Edit
In this final sequel, a compilation of stories about the Wishing Chair from other books (The Adventures of the Wishing Chair, Enid Blyton's Omnibus and the Enid Blyton Annuals), More Wishing Chair Stories Mollie and Peter are home for the half-term holiday and Chinky and the Wishing-Chair are ready to fly away with them to magical lands. They visit the Land of Wishes and the Land of Chatterboxes, but perhaps the best adventure of all is helping Santa Claus deliver presents on Christmas Eve.
The wishing-chair is briefly seen at the end of The Black Dossier by Alan Moore.
Enchanted Lands has been broadcast on BBC1 and BBC2 from 1997 - 2004, CBBC on Choice began showing the Faraway Tree series on Saturday January 22nd 2000 at 9.45pm until 9th March 2000. The Wishing Chair series, it, premiered Saturday 5th August 2000 at 2.05pm and continuing until Sunday 3rd September 2000 before returning to CBBC on Choice on summer weekends of 2001 after The Animal Magic Show. A new series of this animated series aired on Nick Jr. since its launch in September 1999, along with Postman Pat, Teletubbies, The Magic Key and thereafter Bob the Builder.