The Magic Faraway Tree Censored

We were both given a lot of Enid Blyton books as children, and to be honest, it’s shaped our view of life more than we would like to admit. I can’t get the images of Amelia Jane is Naughty Again out of my head, Becky can’t sit in an old chair without wondering if it might be the Wishing Chair, but neither of those things compares to the absolute fervour with which we read the Magic Faraway Tree books.

Those books had everything: there was a massive tree, which you could climb up to reach the magical lands which were at the top, and there were all sorts of strange people living in little rooms hollowed out of the tree trunk – Moon Face, the Angry Pixie, Silky the fairy and Dame Washalot. Anyhow, after watching the recent BBC drama about Enid Blyton (which has Helena Bonham Carter playing the lead!) on YouTube, I googled her to see if all the horrible things the film insinuated about her were true (like neglecting her own children and generally being a bit of a bitch). By chance, I came across the Wikipedia entry for The Magic Faraway Tree, and what I found was genuinely disturbing.

Apparently they’ve changed all the characters’s names because the original ones are too inappropriate. Not joking. I can see why they might change Fanny to Frannie (even at six, I thought that was a little weird) but changing Dick to Rick? Yes, Wikipedia, I know that Dick is American, Australian and British slang for penis, but reading about the adventures of Cousin Rick just isn’t going to be as fun.

Read the Wikipedia entry, it’s brilliant, I promise. And if you like Enid Blyton/Helena Bonham Carter, then watch the film on YouTube.


2 Comments on “The Magic Faraway Tree Censored”

  1. Olive says:

    The Faraway Tree was one of my favourites! But why change the names now after all this time?

    • Catriona says:

      They’ve been re-editing a lot of her work over the last ten years or so – mainly due to the blatant racism and sexism in some of the stories – so I guess it was just a matter of time before poor old Fanny and Dick got censored too. I have a feeling that it might be just the American and possibly the Australian editions that are being changed…the names that Wikipedia gives as the replacements seem very centred towards a US audience!

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