Cripes! The Secret Seven are off on a new adventure. They are shelving the jolly japes and following the Famous Five into the digital age, taking modern dialogue with them on their travels.

Having modernised the Famous Five before the quintet's 70th birthday this year, publisher Hachette UK has snapped up the rights to Enid Blyton's entire estate, excluding Noddy, and plans to bring more of her most famous characters into the 21st Century.

The managing director of Hachette's children's books division, Marlene Johnson, said the company had "great plans for the future".

These included new illustrations and updated language, as well as making many more Blyton works available for digital download. In all, it would "catapult Enid Blyton into contemporary society", she said. Blyton died in 1968.


Hachette, which for some time has published the Famous Five under licence from Chorion, had already called in illustrators to "reinterpret" the intrepid child adventurers.

There was controversy when the language of the Five was updated last year, but more of Blyton's work, including the Secret Seven and The Naughtiest Girl novels, are now to ditch their lashings of pop and jolly hockey sticks.

The company believes a revamp could attract children who may have been put off by language they could not relate to. Some of Blyton's books have been criticised for racism and elitism, perhaps another reason the language is being updated.

- Independent