Just my luck

I have recently watched the 1985 television adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole age 13 3/4.

I do remember watching this when it was originally broadcast and it has stayed with me ever since despite the fact that I have not seen it in almost 30 years. It probably helped that I also read the book at about the same time and have re-read it a number of times since.

The television version was just as good as I remembered it being but one thing that I noticed about it was how grim it seemed to be at times what with his mother and father arguing, and then splitting up, and his father being made redundant and how that affected him.

Of course this was set in, and made, in the 1980s when this sort of thing was happening all over the country. Not that I noticed any of this watching it at the time as it went right over my head but it was interesting to spot it this time around and also bemoan the fact that this could be set in modern days and it would be just as topical.

Of course there were some really funny moments such as Adrian getting an model plane stuck to his nose after an experimental sniff, the school trip to London that ended in anarchy and the teacher having a breakdown, and all the stuff about his relationship with Pandora, and his wall chart, which was the sort of thing all boys of a similar age would have been thinking about at the time and if you were Adrian Mole, at that age and that time, then you would fancy Pandora. I know that I did.

The casting is very strong with such stalwarts as Julie Walters, Stephen Moore, Beryl Reid, and Bill Fraser amongst it. Gian Sammarco who plays Adrian pretty much seems like he was born to play the role, and inhabits the role entirely, although it probably wasn’t a stretch for him.

The theme music composed by Chaz Jankel and Ian Dury, and performed by Dury, was also a classic and was very relevant to the series and it showed that the writers had read the book as some of the lyrics directly referenced events in the book, as do the titles that accompany the theme music.

If you have read the books and have never seen this then I would highly recommend that you find yourself a copy and watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

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