The Famous Five get Cancelled

The Famous Five Back on Kirrin Island

It was the start of the Summer holidays and the Famous Five were back at Uncle Quentin’s mansion on Kirrin Island.

Julian, Dick and Anne were playing Sardines in the library when George and Timmy burst into the room.

“Everybody look at what’s in Timmy’s mouth!” cried George. “It’s the newspaper and it says that we’ve been cancelled!”

“Bring it here, Timmy” said Julian, “And, George, kindly grow your hair, young lady, you look like a lesbian.”

Julian grasped the paper from Timmy. He looked more and more scornful as he read. “Crikey! It’s true, we really have been cancelled. The dashed Wokerati have deemed that we’re racist, sexist and homophobic. What frightful rot!”

The Famous Five Cancelled

“Well, you did call that kid ‘a filthy Gyppo’ in our last adventure” Dick pointed out.

Julian was furious. “Dash it, Dick, you really are a wuss. The child was very much in need of a bath and he was a Gyppo. That’s why it was okay for me to call him ‘a Gyppo rotter’.”

“But you didn’t call him that. You called him ‘a filthy Gyppo’, you only just called him ‘a Gyppo rotter'” said Dick defiantly.

“Now, listen!” Julian barked back, “They’re the same thing and you jolly well know it but we’re simply not allowed to say it!”

Anne intervened “Much as you’re right, Julian, the question is whether we ought to turn it down a notch in the interests of good PR. I think it’s probably fair to say that there aren’t too many Pikeys queuing up to read the next Famous Five adventure now. And it’s not just them. You’ve already lost us the Chinks, the Darkies, the Jews and the Catholics, it’s constant market erosion. If we’re not careful we’ll only be selling to John Redwood. But it is awfully harsh that we’re not allowed to communicate your manly wisdom.”

“Oh! So I’m a racist now, am I?” huffed Julian, “Just wait ’til I get Dan Wootton on this. He’ll teach those frightful Libtards a lesson, I can tell you. A racist! Me!”

George felt that it was time to have her say. “Well, you did teach Timmy to growl at black people. Isn’t that a teensy-weensy bit racist?”

“If I wanted the opinion of a dyke, I would ask for it. I jolly well ought to wash your mouth out with soap!” continued Julian.

The Famous Five Investigate

A little later, the Famous Five set out for an evening stroll. As the light began to fade, they noticed a faint glow from the window of Uncle Quentin’s spare house. “I say! That’s jolly rum,” said Dick, “I didn’t know that anyone was staying in the spare house.”

Anne was delighted. “A mystery! I do love a mystery. Let us go and snoop around!”

“We could just ask Uncle Quentin if anyone is staying there”, said George.

“Yeah, whatever, George,” said the others, and they all raced towards the spare house.

As they came to the modest twelve-bedroom house, the Famous Five decided that Dick should shimmy up the drainpipe and take a closer look. A couple of minutes later he scurried back down. “I say!” he exclaimed, “There’s a big, fat, sweaty old cove sat there with a phone to each ear, Tweeting away like there’s no tomorrow. He looks pretty, jolly shifty to me.”

“We shall all take it in turns to spy on him,” said Julian firmly. “He sounds like a communist to me. He might even be the bounder that got us cancelled!”

“Let’s form a plan over supper,” suggested Anne, “The Famous Five always work better on a full stomach.”

“And Timmy must be absolutely starving, too!” said George, but nobody was listening.

The Famous Five Take Time Out for Food

The next morning, the Famous Five set out for the spare house again. This time they were in for a surprise.

The house was surrounded by a throng of journalists and photographers. “Hmmm, this gets stranger and stranger”, said Julian, “It seems that our leftist friend is also something of a media whore.”

“Speaking of media”, said Anne, “has the newspaper mysteriously appeared in Timmy’s mouth yet? Oh, look, so it has.” Julian grabbed the paper and his face turned white. “My God! This is an outrage! Ace reporter and free-speech advocate Peter Hitchens has gone missing! I wonder if he’s been kidnapped by the Trotskyite attention seeker in the spare house. Yes, that’s exactly the sort of thing they’d do to cancel him! The dirty rotters!”

Peter Hitchens vanishes - can the Famous Five crack the case?

“There’s only one thing to do”, said Anne, “We must have jolly good lunch with lashings of ginger beer and come up with a plan.”

“We could just ask Uncle Quentin” suggested George, but again, nobody listened.

Following a lengthy lunch, the Famous Five retired for the night, resolved to crack the case in the morning.

The Famous Five Ride Again

After a hearty breakfast of rashers, eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, tomatoes, fried bread and sausages, the Famous Five once again set off for their Uncle’s spare house. This time, however, the journalists had all disappeared. Or had they? “Isn’t that a grubby old hack, lying in the bushes?” asked Anne. “I do believe it is”, said DIck, “He must have become so overly-refreshed that he simply collapsed in the undergrowth.”

“He seems to be thoroughly rat-arsed” Julian explained, “It will be a good few hours before we get any sense out of him. I wonder if he’s an Albanian. Dick, go and fetch a car battery, some jump-leads and a bucket of water from the main house. We may have to interrogate the filthy, red wop at some point.”

“Oh, nice work Julian!” said Anne, “That’s yet another country where we’ll never sell another book. We’ll be bankrupt by Tuesday at this rate.”

“Don’t be such a girl, Anne!” Julian replied, “Even Albanians hate Albanians. There’s nothing racist about pointing out their feckless, drunken ways. They’re every bit as bad as the Poles. And anyway, I’m far too busy having an adventure to waste time arguing with girls. George, get up that drainpipe and see what’s happening in the bedroom.”

George Gets a Shock


“I’m starting to think that you’re the only one of us who can’t climb a drainpipe”, said George, but fortunately nobody was listening. She scurried up the wall to gain a better view.

A few minutes later, George returned with some startling news. “The ugly bloke is still in there”, she revealed, “But this time he’s with Uncle Quentin. They’re drinking champagne and sniffing away at something that looks an awful lot like Beecham’s powders. They seem to be laughing quite hysterically. He really is a spectacularly ugly old creature. He has a low, criminal forehead and his eyes are far too close together. Whatever can Uncle Quentin be doing with such a suspicious-looking cove?”

“Well, one thing’s for sure”, declared Julian, “There’s no way that Uncle Quentin would consort with criminals. He’s a top boffin and he went to Harrow. He’s got a CBE and everything. This really doesn’t add up at all. Where’s Dick with the interrogation equipment?”

Some Lives Matter

Dick struggled into view, a pail of water in one hand and a car battery in the other. There were cables hanging around his neck. “Oh, do man up, Dick!” yelled Julian by way of encouragement, “You wouldn’t be half as much of a fairy if you didn’t keep skiving off Rugger practice! Give me the gear and I’ll get to work on our Albanian friend.”

Anne, meanwhile, had been taking another look at the motionless form in the bushes. “I say, chaps! There’s some kind of note hanging from his neck. It says ‘I have a rare form of diabetes. If found unconscious, please supply sugar immediately.’ Does anyone have any sugar?”

“I have one bottle of ginger beer”, said Julian. “I’m not sure that I should like to share it with a filthy foreigner, though.”

“But the sign is in English”, explained George. “You only thought he was a foreigner because you thought that he was drunk. Now we know that he’s in a coma for perfectly legitimate reasons, there’s no reason at all to think that he’s an Albanian.”

Julian, the Hero

“Dash it!” said Julian. “I suppose you’re right, but if he does turn out to be some kind of grubby European type, I shall insist that you replace the entire bottle. This is artisan ginger beer and it doesn’t come cheap! One guinea, ten bob and threepence in the old money. ” He reluctantly placed the bottle to the journalist’s lips. After a few seconds, the immobilised hack began to revive.

“Where am I?” asked the reporter.

“You’re on Kirrin Island”, Anne replied. “Ah, yes, I remember now. I was working on a story for the Daily Express. I must have had one of my passing diabetic comas. Did you youngsters revive me?”

“Yes. Yes we did!” confirmed Julian, “And we did so with some frightfully expensive artisan ginger beer.”

“Thank you, kindly”, the man said, “I’m Gerald Milton-Bostock, by the way, cultural commentator and impartial reporter. It’s most charming to meet you. Don’t worry, I shall treat you all to a jolly beano with all the ginger beer that you can wash it down with. I have a frightfully generous expense account.”

“There’s no need to thank us”, said Julian. “We’re all huge fans of the vital work that you do Mr Milton-Bostock. Had we realised who you were, we would have revived you much sooner. An autograph would be more than adequate compensation for our efforts.”

“What a thoroughly laudable attitude!” said Mr Milton-Bostock, “One can’t be too careful when it comes to Johnny Foreigner. What say we have a slap-up feast and I give you a signed copy of my new book, ‘The Gutter Press for Dummies?'”

“Rather!” said Julian. “That’s one mystery solved but we still have the question of who is upstairs with Uncle Quentin. It’s all frightfully confusing, don’t you think?”

All For one and Four for All!

“Oh, I think I can answer all of your questions, Julian”, said a smiling Mr Milton-Bostock, “Perhaps you would like to come into the house with me.”

“What about the others?” asked Julian.

“They’d better wait outside, it’s about to rain”, explained Mr Milton-Bostock, “This only involves the two of us.”

“But where one goes, we all go! That’s why we’re the Famous Five!” protested George.

“Absolutely! We’re the Famous Five!” said Dick.

“Indeed!” said Anne.

“Woof!” said Timmy.

Julian and Mr Milton-Bostock had already entered the building and slammed the door behind themselves.

The Unsatisfactory Explanation Bit

“Ah, Gerald, Julian! Do some in chaps”, said Uncle Quentin.

Julian was astonished. The man with Uncle Quentin was not the low-browed criminal that his cousins had described. “Blimey! It’s man of the people and ace cub reporter Peter Hitchens! My all-time favourite champion slayer of wokery and advocate of free speech”, he gushed. “But I heard that you had been so heavily cancelled that you had actually disappeared.”

“Ho, ho!”, chortled Mr Hitchens, “It worked like charm, did it not? You see, life was getting all too frantic, I was having to waffle on a different subject every time I was on the wireless or the television. It was terribly tiresome. Thankfully, you Uncle Quentin, here, came up with an absolute corker of a ruse. Instead of talking about boring old stuff like health care, the economy or whatever, I would just tell everybody that I had been cancelled.

“That was ripping for a while, I simply had to say the same, old thing a few times a week. Then it all got out of hand. People were starting to prefer hearing me talking about being cancelled than hearing me talk about the news. Before I knew it, I was on the air for fifteen hours a day repeating the same old line about not being able to get broadcast. It really was awfully tedious. But once again, your Uncle Quentin came to the rescue with an even finer bit of boffinry.

“We realised that if having me pretend to be cancelled could be so lucrative, being forced to vanish would be worth n absolute mint. So I came down to hide for few days on Kirrin Island. I hurriedly called a presser and fed the world the story of my having been kidnapped by Antifa or some such rot. It has been a roaring success, too! My dafter followers have been piling their hard-earned cash into my memorial fund and I haven’t done a stitch of work in three days. Your Uncle really is a remarkably clever chap!”

Cancelled is the new Black

“Cripes!” said Julian, “So you were never actually cancelled at all?”

“Oh Lord, no!” chuckled Mr Hitchens. “I may have had my knuckles rapped a couple of times for something I said about the sand monkeys but people absolutely lap that stuff up. It’s the only way to make a decent living in the media these days. Go woke, go broke and all of that eh?”

“Now, now, Peter”, cautioned Uncle Quentin. “Young Anne really did have a good point about market erosion. Even if she is a girl. That’s another few countries’ readers we won’t be seeing much more of.”

“Ah, yes, sorry, slip of the old tongue. Still, I don’t suppose it’s anyone we haven’t already lost, though”, Mr Hitchens mumbled apologetically.

“But I don’t understand!”, declared Julian, “If even you weren’t ever cancelled, how come The Famous Five have been? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

The Famous Five are Vindicated

“Oh, that was all my doing”, offered Mr Milton-Bostock. “Your Uncle asked if I could do a bit of PR work on behalf of the Famous Five. I’d already seen how cancellation had revived Peter’s ailing career and it was all a bit of a no-brainer, really. We’d have you cancelled and then when you saved my life, you’d make the Woke Army look ridiculous. Here, take a look at today’s edition of the Gazette.

The Famous Five Vindicated.  Timmy the dog is not a racist.

“Gosh!” exclaimed Julian, “The stories of our adventures will be selling like hotcakes from now on! That really is remarkable work, Mr Milton-Bostock. I don’t know how we can ever thank you.”

Uncle Quentin spoke up. “There may be a way we can all help each other”, he began. “Now that we’ve all got the whole media circus pretty much automated, we have very little to do. And, well, it has to be said that Mr Hitchens, Mr Milton-Bostock could all do with a little adventure in our lives.

Dick the Cabin Boy

“The Famous Five is carrying a bit of dead weight and we were wondering whether you’d consider a change of line-up. Let’s face it, Dick’s a nice enough lad but he is a bit of a woolly-woofter. Truth to tell, I’m not really sure what he brings to the party. His only real asset is youth and I strongly suggest that we sell him before he’s past his sell-by date. I could get him a gig as the cabin boy on my Uncle Vladimir’s party boat.”

“Gosh!”, said Julian, “Life could be a little rough for Dick the Cabin Boy, but I suppose he might enjoy it. But he is my brother or cousin or something, so I really feel I ought to object.”

“There’d be a whole case of ginger beer in it for you”, Mr Milton-Bostock reassured him.

“Artisan?” asked Julian eagerly.

“Artisan!” replied Mr Milton-Bostock.

“Well, okay”, Julian acquiesced, “I dare say that you have a point about the sell-by date.”

Anne and George get Thrown Under the Bus

daily distress UK satire humour
Buses – it’s getting quite crowded underneath them.

“And it’s not just Dick”, Uncle Quentin resumed. “Anne is all well and good, as girls go, but she’s hardly an essential component of the Famous Five. Again, we have that sell-by issue. She’ll be 14 soon and we’re rapidly approaching the point where we’ll no longer be able to sell her or lease her to an MP. By keeping her, we’d simply be hampering her life opportunities. It just wouldn’t be fair on her.

“As for young Georgina, I think we’re all aware that she’s a lemon in the ointment. And she’s got all the lefty traits that go with it. I think we’ll just have to cut our losses on this one. She is a little dark. Perhaps we could donate her to a Rumanian orphanage.”

“It’s hard to argue with that”, agreed Julian, “So that would leave The Famous Five as the four of us and Timmy. Unless we want to replace him, too, of course.”

“Capital idea, Julian!” exclaimed Uncle Quentin, “We’ll have Timmy put down and replace him with a more exciting model. How about a Doberman?”

“Rather!” enthused Julian.

The Famous Five Say TTFN

A few minutes later, Julian returned to the original Famous Five outside. It had been raining hard but thankfully, it had now stopped.

“I say! What a topping adventure that was!” declared Anne, “Another case solved and we’ll be able to start shifting a few units after our de-cancellation. What a fabulous piece of teamwork!”

“Yes, indeed! Yet again, we proved that the Famous Five are better together”, Dick concurred.

“Hurrah for us! All for one and one for all!” cried a delighted George.

“Woof!” said Timmy.

“I say, Julian! Let’s all have a jolly good nosh-up to celebrate. Let’s all eat ourselves silly and wash it down with lashings of ginger beer!” suggested Anne.

“No time to eat, I’m afraid”, said Julian, “Dick, Uncle Quentin needs you to locate this ship in Portsmouth and report to the captain. Anne here’s a train ticket to Brent East, somebody will meet you there and fill you in on the details. George, I need you to take Timmy to the vets. When you’ve done that, you need to go to this address in Bucharest.

“It really has been a cracking school holiday. I can’t wait for my next thrilling adventure with the Famous Five!”