I was a huge Noel Streatfeild fan in my youth. I’ve still got my favorites, 3/6 Puffins picked up at Foyles (during my years living abroad as a kid). My favorite was White Boots, but I did love the Fossils’ stories as well and reread those books multiple times. And so, like many, I was curious what the BBC would do with it.
“Drama school brats,” is what you’d be forgiven for thinking, had you tuned into BBC1’s Boxing Day adaptation of Noel Streatfeild‘s Ballet Shoes. And that’s a great shame because Streatfeild’s depression era tale of treading the boards at a tender age is a perceptive and determined work.
I have several gripes: Winifred came across as a horrid backstabber, not the talented, earnest but dowdy kid of the book. I loathed Posy-the-Precocious, a bitching Bonnie Langford, who hardly dances at all – she dances all the time in the book and it’s her obsession with dance that makes her so interesting. But my real beef is that Heidi Thomas’ adaptation got the one thing wrong that for me, as child and adult, is special about the book: the family.
That’s from Shirley Dent at the Guardian who seems to have been quite disappointed. Read the rest of her review here.