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Enid Blyton 'banned by BBC for 30 years'

16th November 2009

The BBC banned the works of Enid Blyton for almost 30 years because they doubted the literary worth of the children's author.

Documents released from the broadcaster's archives reveal the Famous Five author tried to have her material read on the radio several times from 1936 onwards, but was not successful until 1963.

One memo regarding a short story read: 'Not strong enough. It really is odd to think that this woman is a bestseller. It is all such very small beer.'

A note from head of the corporation's schools department, Jean Sutcliffe, said that Blyton's stories 'haven't much literary value', while BBC radio show Children's Hour rejected The Monkey and the Barrel Organ for being 'stilted and long-winded'.

The archives also show the author was aware of the ban, as she wrote to a BBC producer complaining that it was corporation policy to block her books from the airwaves.

Despite the 30-year veto on her work, Blyton's characters remain as popular as ever, with her granddaughter publishing new story Noddy and the Farmyard Muddle last month.

Meanwhile, the BBC will unveil a one-off drama on the author's life tonight, with Helena Bonham Carter taking the lead role.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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