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My sisters and I love this mini-series and can't find the episodes
We introduced them to friends when they were aired on A&E. They are well crafted and faithful to the short stories. I have read that the BBC "lost" them. How the BBC could have lost or destroyed them, I'll never understand.
These should be available as a box set! Shame on the BBC for their negligence. Things that were in the dramatization that you don't get in Kipling's text were wonderfully depicted here-- the costuming, the art direction, set dressing, proper British pronunciation for us poor Americans.
Plus the singing. Yes, there are songs in the text but, my sisters and I can sing "Arrah, Patsy!" thanks only to the show. If anyone has information on obtaining them, please let me know.
Stalky & Co. is a faithful adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's book of the
same name (less one chapter and the afterstory chapter). Kipling was
telling tales based on his own public school experiences as a boy (he
is 'Beetle' in the book), and he did an excellent job of capturing the
tenor of life in 'the Coll,' a school that catered to boys who would go
on to govern and defend the British Empire in the Civil Service,
Foreign Service and the military.
Partly shot on location at an actual British 'public school' (which in America would be called a private school), the series chronicles the actions and activities of the denizens of Study No. 5 in Mr. Prout's 'house' (residence hall) as they chart their own courses, running somewhat against the grain of the Establishment. The inseparable threesome are:
Stalky, son of an officer serving in the Indian Army. The leader of the band, he's skilled in the arts of war and capable of unorthodox thought and action. Good at sports, he nonetheless disdains them in favor of the pursuit of fun with his pals;
M'Turk, scion of a family that owns 5,000 acres "... of Irish bog," to quote Stalky. Devoted to the writings of John Ruskin, he has a highly developed sense of honor and a smouldering hatred of bullies, prefects and unsportsmanlike conduct;
and 'Beetle,' the wit of the gang, a writer of scurillous poems and songs with literary leanings and the skill to make good on them. Eventually editor of the school paper, he's not above putting his skill as a compositor to less orthodox uses, among other gags Study No. 5 pulls in defense of the honour of their House and to settle scores with various students and teachers of the school.
Their friends include the Padre, the school chaplain; Colonel Dabney, a retired officer who served in India at the same time Stalky's father had command of a regiment of Sikh cavalry; and 'Foxy,' otherwise Sergeant Fox, a retired infantry sergeant and the school's resident cop. Their undying enemy is Mr. King, Latin teacher and Master of another house, whose hatred is returned by the trio with interest. (There is something of Mr. King in J.K. Rowling's Professor Snape, in my opinion.) The only adult at the school who truly understands them and their interpersonal dynamic is 'the Head,' the school's Headmaster, apparently patterned on the head of Kipling's own coll. He talks to them like men while yet understanding that they are boys, and feels that in the end they all will make their marks on the world.
The ways these three find to achieve their goals, sometimes within the rules and sometimes without, in the several self-contained episodes are a delight to anyone who ever lived in that sort of environment or wishes they had. The mini-series recaptures the flavor of a long-gone age admirably. Kipling fans will adore it, and those who've not read Kipling will be inspired to do so by this series. I impatiently await its release on DVD. If you can find it, by all means watch it.
Almost as amusing as the original stories, showed up on "Victorian
Times" in the US on the then brand spanking new A&E cable station. My
only complaint is that they downplayed the casual brutality present in
the original, for modern audiences. It's a frikkin boarding school, and
boys left to raise themselves can be monsters. Kipling didn't glamorize
boys or boyhood, which is what made these stories so hilarious. These
boys were subversive,and uninterested in following the herd, and that's
why the real life models went on to achieve remarkable things in their
Sure wish this was available on DVD.
A little bit of trivia for those that enjoyed this television show. This show was filmed at a boarding school that I attended on the south coast of England near Bournemouth called Hurn Court School it was once the home of the Duke of Malmsbury. Alas the school did not survive and has been converted into posh apartments. I was one of many that had a role in the filming. The experience serves as good memory from my childhood. Boarding schools remain a vicious and loathsome place to send the young. I imagine some of the set dressing remains to this day, I would be interested to know if somebody unearths a copy of this television show.
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