RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: When will wokerati stop butchering classics?

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and now Agatha Christie… when are the wokerati going to stop butchering classic works of literature?

When are the wokerati going to stop butchering classic works of literature? Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, Enid Blyton and now Agatha Christie have all fallen victim to the sensitivity police.

No author is safe from the revisionists, not even Charles Dickens, judging by the BBC’s latest adaptation of Great Expectations by the Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.

Reading our TV critic Christopher Stevens’s brilliant review in yesterday’s Mail, it is blindingly apparent that this bleak production lives down to our worst expectations.

It features an opium-smoking Miss Havisham, a foul-mouthed Pip and a little light spanking as Mrs Joe — now called Sara, to prevent her being seen as a mere chattel of her husband — turns dominatrix. Not exactly ‘sensitive’ but utterly in line with today’s warped artistic values.

Yet while drug-taking, a torrent of four-letter words, graphic sex scenes and sado-masochism sail through the ‘best possible taste’ barrier, far more innocent works are bowdlerised to appease the ‘diversity’ brigade and plastered with trigger warnings. Talk about double standards.

English writer Dame Agatha Christie at work on a typewriter in March 1946 in her home in  Greenway House, Devonshire

‘Every TV show these days seems to be an exercise in box-ticking. No new drama is complete without the mandatory gay couple.

‘I shouldn’t be surprised to discover that Enid Blyton’s Famous Five now consists of a Muslim, a lesbian, a single-parent, an Afghan asylum-seeker and a Jamaican homosexual in a wheelchair.

‘It was reported recently that Thomas The Tank Engine has also been updated, with the trains all now representing a different ethnic identity. ‘No word, though, on whether the Fat Controller has been slimmed down so as not to offend people with weight issues.

‘And I’m especially looking forward to the next episode: Thomasina The Transgendered Tank Engine.’

No, I didn’t write that yesterday. Those words appeared in this column on April 19, 2016, almost seven years ago to the day.

Since then, the trains in Thomas The Tank Engine have been rebranded to include Ashima, from India, and Yong Bao, from China. The Fat Controller is now known as Sir Topham Hat, in deference to those who consider ‘fat-shaming’ to be a hate crime. Thomas The Trans Engine can’t be far behind.

You couldn’t make it up, except I did.

Ten years earlier, in June 2006, I wrote a spoof Noddy and Big Ears column inspired by dear old Keith Waterhouse, late of this parish, after he suggested that it was only a matter of time before these two children’s favourites were rechristened Noddy and Socially Challenged Ears.

Christie and her husband Max E. L. Mallowan pose in the grounds of their home

Toytown had descended into chaos and the police were turning a blind eye to crime committed by members of the travelling goblin community camping illegally on the village green.

The following year, I imagined Richmal Crompton’s Just William as a glue-sniffing, drug-dealing, Special Brew-swigging, Stanley Knife-slashing juvenile delinquent.

I wonder if he was the inspiration for Steven Knight’s morose, insolent new version of Pip. It’s not just Sir Topham Hat, either. Roald Dahl’s Augustus Gloop is no longer fat, presumably having been put on a courseof the fashionable new slimming drug Wegovy.

How long before Charlie’s Chocolate Factory stops making sweets and switches to vegan tofu?

Words such as ‘mad’, ‘crazy’ and ‘backwards’ have been erased, in case they upset people with mental health issues. Perhaps most bonkers of all, the Oompa-Loompas are now gender neutral.

And speaking of people with mental health issues, Dahl’s books have been expurgated by a sinister-sounding bunch of censors called ‘Inclusion Ambassadors’, who seem hell-bent on excluding anything they deem to be offensive.

In one of the more absurd edits, the word ‘darkly’ is replaced by ‘mysteriously’ — because darkly has connotations with race and skin colour.

How barking mad do you have to be to reach that conclusion?

Look, I can appreciate that language and attitudes change and that no one would nowadays use the original title of Christie’s And Then There Were None, first published in 1939, which contained the genuinely hurtful and unpleasant N-word.

But that’s no excuse for wholesale butchery and revisionism. Censoring Dahl and Blyton has nothing to do with protecting children. It’s all about the hang-ups of feeble-minded adults in thrall to Left-wing groupthink and anxious to advertise their own woke credentials.

READ MORE: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: ‘Not even the great Olivia Colman can rescue the BBC’s Woke Desecrations’


If they want literature to reflect their own worldview, they should write their own books. Not impose their narrow-minded intolerance and bigotry on works by writers far greater than they could ever aspire to be.

Same goes for those who are always agitating for a black James Bond. Why?

Fleming’s Bond is a character of his time, certainly in the original novels, even though the film adaptations have always evolved to reflect modern attitudes.

There are plenty of strong black heroes out there already, from Richard Roundtree’s black private dick John Shaft in 1971 to Idris Elba’s Luther today.

Elba, who made his name as Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire, recently put to bed the recurring rumours that he’ll replace Daniel Craig as the next 007.

Why would he want to play Bond? He already has his own franchise, currently being expanded globally by Netflix. And no one has suggested that Daniel Craig should be the next Luther. I was introduced to Christie at an early age by my paternal grandmother, who read every one of her novels over and over again. There have been some wonderful portrayals of Miss Marple over the years, most recently Joan Hickson, Geraldine James and Julia McKenzie on TV.

(Come to think of it, Julia McKenzie also played Nanny Whip, the dominatrix in Blott On The Landscape. Maybe that’s where Steven Knight got the idea for his Mrs Joe.)

But the definitive Marple, to my mind, has to be the magnificent Margaret Rutherford in the first four films from the 1960s.

Now the books have been updated, no doubt we can expect the movies to be remade to reflect modern mores.

I’m particularly looking forward to Murder Most Woke, which sees Mx Marple — who now defines as non-binary and is played by Suzy Eddie Izzard — investigate a suspicious death at St Mary Mead’s Gallop Hotel, which has been converted into a hostel for migrants who have crossed the channel illegally. Her loyal companion Mr Stringer is played by Lenny Henry.

After a riot breaks out at the Gallop, over the quality of the ethnically-inappropriate food on the menu, the body of a Sudanese asylum seeker is discovered in the library.

At first, suspicion falls on a notorious Albanian people-trafficker posing as a refugee and forcing migrants into modern slavery. But Mx Marple soon exposes the real murderer as Inspector Craddock, played by Vinnie Jones, a bent copper with links to the Far-Right.

Following the critical acclaim heaped upon this latest incarnation of Marple, plans are announced for a new Poirot movie, Murder On The Sexual Orientation Express.

Hercule Poirot is now Hermione Poirot, played by Sandra Oh, from Killing Eve, and co-starring Suzy Eddie Izzard, back by popular demand, as the cross-dressing Captain Hastings, after Idris Elba turned down the part.

They are called in to investigate the mysterious death in the buffet car of the Brighton Belle of a transgender activist, who was on their way to the seaside resort to reason peacefully with a group of violent Terfs trying to prevent biologically-male trans women using the ladies’ toilets at the end of the pier.

Bring on the non-binary Oompa-Loompas!

Source: Read Full Article