The BBC’s new adaptation of Enid Blyton’s classic children’s novels, The Famous Five, promises to be a modern reinvention that retains the charm of the original books. The series will span three 90 minute episodes with the first, The Curse of Kirrin Island, streaming on BBC iPlayer now. Our guide below details how to watch The Famous Five online from anywhere with a VPN — and potentially for FREE.
Updating the young detectives for a generation reared on Stranger Things and Goosebumps won't be easy, but Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) reckons his take on The Famous Five will tell new stories whilst staying true to Blyton's 1930s world.
Starring as the new version of the group are Diaana Babnicova as George, Elliott Rose as Julian, Kit Rakusen as Dick and Flora Jacoby Richardson as Anne. A new Timmy the dog will of course make up the numbers. Also in the cast are Game of Thrones star Jack Gleeson as Wentworth, James Lance as Quentin, George's father, Ann Akinjirin as Fanny, George’s mother and Diana Quick as Mrs Wentworth.
The new adaptation could just be a nostalgic highlight of the BBC's holiday TV offering, so read on for how you can watch The Famous Five online and from anywhere.
Watch The Famous Five online for free
How to watch The Famous Five online for FREE
The Famous Five episode 1 (The Curse of Kirrin Island) aired on CBBC on December 9 and will air on BBC One on December 26. You can stream it right now via FREE on-demand service, BBC iPlayer (with a valid TV license).
Traveling outside the U.K.? Don't worry — as we explain below, you can watch on-demand when you download a VPN. Details just below.
Two more episodes of The Famous Five will arrive on BBC iPlayer in 2024. Not familiar with the BBC's streaming service? It's packed full of high-quality shows, including David Attenborough's latest triumph, Planet Earth III.
Watch from anywhere
How to watch The Famous Five online from anywhere with a VPN
Currently traveling in a country where BBC iPlayer isn’t available? With the right VPN (Virtual private network), you can continue to access your usual platforms and watch your favorite shows online no matter where in the world you are.
We've evaluated many options, and the best VPN is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more down to a minimum of $6.67).
Using a VPN is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.
2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.
3. Sit back and enjoy the show. Head to BBC iPlayer and stream The Famous Five online.
How to watch the The Famous Five online in Australia
Aussie fans of the young detectives can watch The Famous Five on Stan (30-day FREE trial) with the first episode, The Curse of Kirrin Island, available to watch now and two more due in early 2024.
Remember: if you're based in Australia but aren't there at the moment, you could still connect to Stan and stream The Famous Five, all you need is a VPN such as ExpressVPN.
Can I watch the The Famous Five online in the U.S?
There's no word on where or when The Famous Five will air in the U.S., but we'll update this page as soon as the news breaks.
Brits visiting the States can use a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer and watch The Famous Five using their free account, just as if they were back at home. Not used a VPN before? ExpressVPN is simple and fast, details just above.
Can I watch the The Famous Five online in Canada?
At present, The Famous Five is unavailable in Canada, but check back here for updates.
Brits visiting The Great North can use a VPN to stream The Famous Five online just as they would back home in Blighty.
Watch The Famous Five official trailer
The Famous Five trailer
What you need to know about The Famous Five
Who is in the cast of the The Famous Five
- Diaana Babnicova as George
- Elliott Rose as Julian
- Kit Rakusen as Dick
- Flora Jacoby Richardson as Anne
- Jack Gleeson as Wentworth
- James Lance as Quentin
- Ann Akinjirin as Fanny
- Diana Quick as Mrs Wentworth
How does this differ from previous adaptations?
Matthew Read (Executive Producer): Our approach to The Famous Five books was not to simply adapt the novels but to look at the entire series of the books and take inspiration from the source material. Rather than taking the individual stories and making straight adaptations of the books, we looked at the books as a jumping off point. We wanted to weave our own stories which were inspired by the whole cannon of The Famous Five books.
Whilst the series is set in the late 1930s, we wanted to create a drama series that is set in the timeless space of childhood. We wanted to draw on viewers’ memories of the long summers in their childhood rather than trying to specifically tie it down to one moment in time.
Who is George?
Diaana Babnicova (George): George is an independent girl who grew up without brothers and sisters. Later she finds Timmy the dog and they become like a family. She’s independent, she lives by her own rules and likes to have fun. She doesn’t always obey the rules and she’s quite a cheeky person.
Who is Julian?
Elliott Rose (Julian): Julian is the oldest and he's the muscle of the group, he's more physical. Plus as the oldest he's like a father figure when the parents aren't around. He's very caring, specifically toward Anne and Dick because they're his younger siblings. He has his arguments with George but overall he seems like a pretty nice guy. If he was a real person I'd probably be mates with him.
Who is Dick?
Kit Rakusen (Dick): He's really clever, he can tell you anything about history, Latin and times tables but he's also funny in his own way. He's definitely the brains of the group, he's like the walking internet. They didn't have it back then but he can list off any moment in history, Latin words, any train time table, bus time table, he can list off anything. I've definitely learnt a thing or two playing him.
Who is Anne?
Flora Jacoby Richardson (Anne): She's quite sassy, she likes to get her brothers to do things for her. She treats them like her servants, she presumes people are there to serve her. She gets Dick to do things for her, like look after her torch, and she gets Julian to carry her bags.
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Tom is a freelance writer, predominantly focusing on film and TV. A graduate of Film Studies at University of South Wales, if he's not diving in to the Collector's Edition Blu Ray of an obscure 80s horror, you'll find him getting lost with his dog or mucking about in the water with his board.