According to Jennings

People of my age in the UK may well remember Jennings stories on the wireless. I suppose it was during the 1950s that my brother and I were delighted when a new set of Jennings adventures came on ‘Children’s’ Hour’ on the BBC Home Service.

The stories were based on books by Anthony Buckeridge and concerned the escapades of young Jennings and his slightly more hapless friend Darbishire as they coped with life at a minor private school called Linbury Court Preparatory School.

It was odd we loved these stories as much as we did, for as mere state school pupils it was way outside our experience. Let’s face it, Jennings and co were boarders, living away from home and looked after by headmaster Mr Pemberton Oakes (a minor character in the tales) and the rather explosive Mr Wilkins, the kindly Mr Carter and the inevitable matron.

Jennings was a perfectly decent young lad with not an ounce of malice in him. But he always had wizard schemes which were doomed to throw up some unforeseen snag and land him, Darbishire and maybe other lads in trouble. For me, as a kid, Anthony Buckeridge had created believable characters who managed to have a good time. I loved those stories.

My reminder, these days, is one Jennings book that I acquired at a jumble sale. ‘According to Jennings’ was first published in 1954.

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The book has a few line drawing illustrations and here’s Jennings with his head stuck in a glass dome. Don’t ask!

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My favourite tale from the wireless happens to be in this book. This is the one in which Jennings has heard Mr Wilkins talking about leaving on Friday. Jennings persuades all his friends to club together and they buy an alarm clock as a leaving present for ‘Old Wilkie’ and somehow they rake up enough for an alarm clock. This proceeds to go off in a lesson in which Mr Wilkins is reciting a Tennyson poem – Ring out Wild Bells.

I recall brother and I laughing ourselves stupid when we heard it on the radio.

Mr Wilkins confiscated the clock – and he wasn’t leaving anyway – just having a weekend away! Good old Mr Carter sorted things out. But not before quite a few of the Wilkins catchphrase of ‘I—I—Corwumph!

There are happy childhood memories for me in this dusty old book!

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4 Responses to “According to Jennings”

  1. Thom Hickey Says:

    Thanks. I have enjoyed many, many posts here this year. All good wishes to you and your family at Christmas. Thom.

    • locksands Says:

      Thanks Thom. I enjoy your blog too. Music has never really been my thing so I learn much by reading your words.

      As we say in Wiltshire, ‘Have a good’un’.

  2. opobs Says:

    It was the “Just William” books I liked, and as well as holding on to my originals, over the years I have accumulated a number of additions, all in the old red bindings printed in the 1940s and 50s. In the 1980s I came across a much-thumbed set of paperback reprints of the Jennings books and found they were as entertaining a read as my William’s, wished I had discovered them as a boy.

    • locksands Says:

      Now funnily I never got into ‘Just William’ until watching a TV series with my own son. But most of my memory of that concerned an episode with a jumble sale. The credits at the end told us ‘Jumble by Ace’. One look around my home was enough for me to think that maybe I had a possible career supplying jumble for dramas as needed. Then my wife burst that bubble by telling me that ‘Jumble’ was the name of the dog. It was back to the day job for me.

      I hope you have a good Christmas. My blog will largely ignore it but my house will, no doubt, accrue even more jumble!

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