Monday, 30 August 2010

Just William

It comes as no surprise to me that Daniel Roche has been cast in the role of William. Daniel plays Ben in Outnumbered. Both Ben (described as a veritable tornado of manic energy) and Karen (a girl with the face of an angel and the mind of a barrister') epitomise what I find so endearing about the 'Williams' of today.

 Richmal Crompton's eternally scruffy, 11 year-old hero may have been 'born' in the 1920s, when children made their own adventure outdoors in the company of other children, but there is something timeless about his character. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I've always had a soft spot for William. Inquisitive, literal to a fault, the world seen through the eyes of a child such as William is fascinating and entertaining.

William doesn't 'do' modesty, humility, or selflessness (how many 11 year olds do?) . His virtues, if they can be so termed, are a love of liberty, a zest for life, an irrepresible imagination and the kind of 'literal' honesty that annoys adults.

The new William series was filmed on location in the Home Counties.  Hitchin's British Schools Museum was chosen as the 1950s setting for William's school.
Museum trustee Terry Ransom said the production team had updated the room by 100 years, taking it up to 1954, and around 20 boys have been involved in filming.

One of the differences between our own period and that of William's is that William's parents do not feel the need to incarcerate him, to protect him from the perceived dangers of the world; he does not have to spend his time sitting in the back of a car or in front of a screen. I wonder what reception today's children will give the new series. Will the bulk of the audience be adults who watch out of a sense of nostalgia?

For those in the UK, the new series begins in the run up to Christmas and will air at 5pm on Sundays.