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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Helena Bonham Carter to star as Enid Blyton on BBC Four

Acclaimed actress Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter, Sweeney Todd) leads the cast in Enid Blyton (working title), a major one-off drama from Carnival Film & Television for BBC Four. Matthew Macfadyen and Denis Lawson also star.

Helena Bonham Carter says: "It's a long time since I have read such a well written script with as complex and fascinating a character as Enid. I hope I do her justice. And I hope I get to drink lashings of ginger beer."

One of the most recognised storytellers of all time, Enid Blyton's charming characters and classic tales have enchanted countless generations of children all over the world for almost 80 years.

Having sold over 500 million books in 40 countries, this one-off drama follows the woman behind the enduring and compelling stories such as the beloved Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers and Noddy series.

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: "I am delighted that Helena has agreed to play this role. Enid Blyton is loved across the world as one of the greatest children's storytellers. And yet behind this positive image lies a darker and more conflicted story. I know that Helena will employ all her renowned skills as an actress to bring this story to life."

Born at the close of the 19th century, on 11 August 1897, Blyton's life and career spanned a time of enormous social and cultural change. The film will shed light on the ambitious and driven – but as yet unpublished – young woman, from the development of her rich imagination against the adversity of an imperfect childhood, two World Wars, and a first marriage ending in divorce, to household name.

It will explore how the orderly, reassuringly clear worlds she created within her stories contrasted with the complexity of her own personal life.

Sally Woodward Gentle, Executive Producer, Carnival, says: "We are so excited to be embarking on this Enid Blyton adventure with such a brilliant cast and magnificent crew. Enid Blyton demonstrates Carnival's continued commitment to distinctive, original and authored drama."

Key cast also include: Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon, Little Dorrit) as Hugh Pollock, Blyton's publisher and first husband, and father of her two daughters Gillian and Imogen. Denis Lawson (Bleak House) plays Kenneth Darrell Waters, a London surgeon who becomes Blyton's second husband following her divorce from Pollock.

Ben Stephenson, BBC Controller, Drama Commissioning, adds: "The works of Enid Blyton remain a major part of our national psyche and it feels fitting that we tell Enid's story dramatically for the first time ever on screen, continuing BBC Four's commitment to reflecting Britain's cultural life after the RTS-nominated Steptoe and Long Walk To Finchley. As befits an icon of our time we are completely thrilled to have the glorious Helena Bonham Carter make her debut on BBC Four."

Currently in production for transmission later this year, Enid Blyton is a one-off drama made by Carnival Films for BBC Four, written by Lindsay Shapero.

The director is James Hawes (The 39 Steps, Miss Marie Lloyd: Queen Of The Music Hall), and producer is Lee Morris (My Zinc Bed; The Damned United).

The executive producer at Carnival Film & Television is Sally Woodward Gentle (The Ruby In The Smoke; Whitechapel; Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!).

BBC executive producers are Eleanor Moran and Jamie Laurenson.

Enid Blyton was commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Richard Klein, and is the latest drama commission for BBC Four which also includes The Curse Of Comedy season, Marie Lloyd, Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk To Finchley, Barbara Cartland, Fanny Hill and Crooked House. The popular drama series Mad Men continues on Tuesday nights on BBC Four.

AF

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