Posts Tagged ‘Jennings’

According to Jennings

December 19, 2015

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!