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Noddy genius Blyton was shunned by BBC

PUBLISHED: 16:27 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 August 2010

BESTSELLING children s author Enid Blyton was snubbed by the BBC for nearly three decades because her books were considered small beer by the corporation. Beckenham resident Blyton tried to get her work aired but was repeatedly rejected, archived docu

BESTSELLING children's author Enid Blyton was snubbed by the BBC for nearly three decades because her books were considered "small beer" by the corporation.

Beckenham resident Blyton tried to get her work aired but was repeatedly rejected, archived documents have revealed.

Some 18 letters and memos have uncovered the BBC's distaste for the author of Noddy and The Famous Five series which continue to sell millions of books worldwide more than 40 years after her death.

In an internal memo dated 1938, the then head of the BBC's schools department Jean Sutcliffe, head of the BBC Schools department, shunned her work.

It read: "My impression of her stories is that they might do for Children's Hour but certainly not for Schools Dept. They haven't much literary value.

"There is rather a lot of the Pinky-winky-Doodle-doodle Dum-dumm type of name (and lots of pixies) in the original tales."

Blyton, who spent time living in Clockhouse Road and Chaffinch Road before making her marital home with her husband Hugh in Elfin Cottage, Shortlands Road, tried to get her play The Monkey and the Barrel Organ onto Children's Hour.

But yet again, the response was critical and her efforts were labelled 'stilted' and long winded'.

Blyton was not ignorant of the corporation's ban on her work as proven by a memo to a producer which read: "I and my stories are completely banned by the BBC as far as children are concerned - not one story has ever been broadcast, and, so it is said, not one ever will be."

In 1963 the woman who has gone on to sell 600 million books worldwide and become the fourth most translated author was finally allowed as a guest onto Woman's Hour.

The first in a dramatic series portraying the life of Blyton was aired on BBC Four on Monday, starring Oscar-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter.

The actress said: "The ability to escape, to live imaginatively, was a way of coping when her father left.

"She invented a world that was comfortable and enchanted, she helped a lot of children as a result.

"I have a lot of friends who say 'she saved my childhood' or 'she helped me survive my childhood because I escaped to her world."

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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