Enid Review: Write Mentalist

November 16, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


ENID300ENID: Monday 16th November, BBC4, 9pm ALERT ME

It’s nearly impossible to imagine a programme about Enid Blyton which doesn’t include some posh young vigilantes armed to the teeth with ginger beer.

But the only lashings that go on in this piece of television are aimed solely at the author herself.

Instead of giving us a fluffily saccharine version of the storyteller’s life, the BBC has crafted a probing and original period drama which vividly portrays her as a woman who has more in common with Lady MacBeth than Beatrix Potter.

This biopic is not a gushing tribute but a biting character assassination which doesn’t shirk from tearing into one of the most prolific novelists in history.

Fresh from her exploits as marginally less evil Potter villain, Bellatrix Lestrange, Helena Bonham Carter opens up the troubled author with ease and she captures the spirit of an exasperatingly volatile Blyton superbly.

However it is through her first husband (Matthew McFadyen) that we see what this extraordinarily manipulative woman is capable of. Indeed her lies about her mother being dead even remind us of the famous bigamist bride, Emily Horne.

In the first two minutes we see her threaten to sack her driver for sneezing and things aren’t much better for those people actually in her family.

After a short intro which features Enid climbing the writing ladder to the accompaniment of the obligatory montage, we see her fall in love with her first publisher and the real drama begins.

Haunted by the departure of her womanising father (for whom she has a deluded admiration) when she was a young girl, we learn that Blyton is a stunted soul and she starts to swing between being a bit-selfish and positively bi-polar.

A cracking piece of TV which would have us believe that the famous author was also an emotional cripple – who much like Noddy and Big Ears – was trapped in her own little world.


Sean Marland