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Just William is the first book of children's short stories about William Brown written by Richmal Crompton, published in 1922. Just William is also sometimes used as a title for the series as a whole, and is also the name of various television, film and radio adaptations of the books. The William stories first appeared in Home and Happy Mag. .
- William Goes to the Pictures
- William the Intruder
- William Below Stairs
- The Fall of the Idol
- The Show
- A Question of Grammar
- William Joins the Band of Hope
- The Outlaws
- William and White Satin
- William's New Year's Day
- The Best Laid Plans
William is an eleven year old boy, eternally scruffy and frowning. William and his friends, Douglas, Henry and Ginger, call themselves the Outlaws, and meet at the old barn in Mr Jenkins' field. The Outlaws are sworn enemies of the Hubert Laneites with whom they frequently clash.
William's family, his grown up red-haired sister Ethel and brother Robert, caring mother and stern father, and never ending supply of elderly aunts cannot understand William. Only his mother has any sympathy for him.
Other reoccurring characters include Violet Elizabeth Bott, lisping spoilt daughter of the local aristocracy ("I'll squeam and squeam 'till I'm thick - I can, you know") and Joan, the dark haired girl whom William has a soft spot for.
William is adventurous, imaginative and a romantic. He writes stories - The Tale of The Bloody Hand and likes to perform drama. He is fond of white rats, Bull's Eyes, 'Tops and cricket.
A William story often starts when William or the Outlaws set out to do something - put on a play, collect scrap metal for the war effort, look after Violet for example. William always manages to get into trouble with his parents, although he can never see why. Often his well meaning efforts result in broken windows and hysterics among Mrs. Brown's friends.
Sometimes William can be very moral - he is inspired to tell the truth for the duration of Christmas day in William's Truthful Christmas (Still William , 1952) with terrible results;
"Did you like the book and instruments that Uncle and I gave you?" said Aunt Emma brightly.
"No," said William gloomily and truthfully. "I'm not int'rested in Church History an' I've got something like those at school. Not that I'd want 'em," he added hastily, "if I hadn't em."
"William!" screamed Mrs. Brown in horror. "How can you be so ungrateful!"
"I'm not ungrateful," explained William wearily.
"I'm only being truthful...
All the William books until William and the Witch published in 1964 were illustrated by Thomas Henry in ink, with water colour illustrations for the front covers. After Henry's death in 1962, Henry Ford and Lunt Roberts (who had previously illustrated her Jimmy books) continued in his style.
Other William Books
Crompton continued to write William books right up until her death with the last, William The Lawless , being published posthumously in 1970.
The publication dates are for the UK.
- Just William, 1922
- More William , 1922
- William Again , 1923
- William The Fourth , 1924
- Still William , 1925
- William the Conqueror , 1926
- William The Outlaw , 1927
- William In Trouble, 1927
- William The Good , 1928
- William (book) , 1929
- William The Bad , 1930
- William's Happy Days , 1930
- William's Crowded Hours , 1931
- William The Pirate , 1932
- William The Rebel , 1933
- William The Gangster , 1934
- William The Detective , 1935
- Sweet William , 1936
- William The Showman , 1937
- William The Dictator , 1938
- William and Air Raid Precautions , 1939 (also published as William's Bad Resolutions , 1956)
- William and the Evacuees , 1940 (also published as William and the Film Star , 1956)
- William Does His Bit, 1941
- William Carries On , 1942
- William and the Brains Trust , 1945
- Just William's Luck , 1948
- William the Bold , 1950
- William and the Tramp , 1952
- William and the Moon Rocket , 1954
- William and the Space Animal , 1956
- William's Television Show , 1958
- William the Explorer , 1960
- William's Treasure Trove , 1962
- William and the Witch , 1964
- William and the Pop Singers , 1965
- William the Ancient Briton ,1965
- William and the Masked Ranger , 1966
- William the Superman , 1968
- William the Lawless , 1970
Several films were made based on the books. The first of these is Just William (1940). Directed by Graham Cutts , and written by Doreen Montgomery and Ireland Wood, it starred Richard Lupino as William Brown and featured Fred Emney as Mr. Brown, Basil Radford as Mr. Sidway, Amy Veness as Mrs. Bott, Iris Hoey as Mrs. Brown, Roddy McDowall as Ginger, Norman Robinson as Douglas, Peter Miles as Henry, David Tree as Marmaduke Bott, Jenny Laird as Ethel Brown, Simon Lack as Robert Brown, and Aubrey Mather as Fletcher.
Just William's Luck and William at the Circus were both released in 1948 and were written and directed by Val Guest. They starred William Graham as William Brown and featured Garry Marsh as Mr. Brown, Jane Welsh as Mrs. Brown, Hugh Cross as Robert Brown, Kathleen Stuart as Ethel Brown, A.E. Matthews as The Tramp in Just William's Luck and as Minister in William at the Circus, Muriel Aked as Emily, Maid, Brian Roper as Ginger, Brian Weske as Henry, James Crabbe as Douglas, Michael Balfour as Jenks in JWL, uncredied in WatC, John Powe as Policeman in JWL, uncredited in WatC.
Just William's Luck also featured Audrey Manning as Violet Elizabeth, Leslie Bradley as The Boss, Hy Hazell as Gloria Gail, Patricia Cutts as Gloria's Secretary, Ivan Hyde as Glazier, Joan Hickson as Hubert's Mother, Anne Marie as Masseur, Leslie Hazell as Hubert's Gang, Peter Davis as Hubert's Gang, John O'Hara as Hubert's Gang, Michael Medwin as The Boss's Gang, John Martel as Johnnie, Ivan Craig as The Boss's Gang.
There was a play, William and the Artist's Model , written in 1956.
The BBC has produced many recordings of William stories read by Martin Jarvis, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4. For many people, Jarvis is the definitive voice of William. His performances of William and Violet Elizabeth Bott are instantly recognisable.
In 1976, an ITV series called Just William was made starring Adrian Dannatt as William, and featuring Stephen Wilmot as Henry, Diana Fairfax as Mrs. Brown,Hugh Cross as Mr. Brown, Stacy Dorning as Ethel Brown , Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth Bott and Diana Dors as Mrs. Bott.
Information from here "William and the Begging Letter" Episode: #1.1 - 6 February 1977 "William - The Great Actor" Episode: #1.2 - 13 February 1977 "The Outlaws and the Tramp" Episode: #1.3 - 20 February 1977 "The Sweetest Little Girl in White" Episode: #1.4 - 27 February 1977 "William and the Badminton Racket" Episode: #1.5 - 6 March 1977 "A Little Interlude" Episode: #1.6 - 13 March 1977 "William and the Prize Pig" Episode: #1.7 - 20 March 1977 "William and the Wonderful Present" Episode: #1.8 - 27 March 1977 "William the Matchmaker" Episode: #1.9 - 3 April 1977 "Waste Paper Wanted" Episode: #1.10 - 10 April 1977 "Only Just in Time" Episode: #1.11 - 17 April 1977 "William and the Sleeping Major" Episode: #1.12 - 24 April 1977 "Finding a School for William" Episode: #1.12 - 15 January 1978 "William Clears the Slums" Episode: #1.13 - 1 May 1977 "William's Lucky Day" Episode: #2.1 - 23 October 1977 "The Great Detective" Episode: #2.2 - 30 October 1977 "Violet Elizabeth Wins" Episode: #2.3 - 6 November 1977 "William Holds the Stage" Episode: #2.4 - 13 November 1977 "William the Philanthropist" Episode: #2.5 - 20 November 1977 "It All Began with the Typewriter" Episode: #2.6 - 27 November 1977 "A Rescue Party" Episode: #2.7 - 4 December 1977 "William Finds a Job" Episode: #2.8 - 11 December 1977 "Parrots for Ethel" Episode: #2.9 - 18 December 1977 "William at the Garden Party" Episode: #2.10 - 1 January 1978 "Two Good Turns" Episode: #2.11 - 8 January 1978 "William and the Tramp" Episode: #2.13 - 22 January 1978 "William the Great Actor"
In 1994, the BBC broadcast another series also called Just William. Written by Allan Baker , It starred Oliver Rokison as William, and featured Jonathan Hirst as Ginger, Polly Adams as Mrs. Brown, David Horovitch as Mr. Brown, Ben Pullen as Robert Brown, Naomi Allisstone as Ellen the maid, and Olivia Hallinan as Susie Chambers.
William has been criticised by the RSPCA for stories where he is cruel to animals. For example, in one story he paints his dog blue as a circus exhibit. In another he has a competition to see how many rats his dog can kill in a certain time. Some stories have been removed from modern publication, such as William and the Nasties from William The Detective where William suspects a Jewish shop owner of dishonesty and forms a mob to evict him. This story was written in 1935 before the Second World War, and was probably meant as parody or was simply naive. Crompton herself decided the story was inappropriate and had it removed. (The story did however appear in the Armada Paperback edition of William the Detective, published in the 1970's.)
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