This was the first famous five book - and is the first adventure from the 1950's period TV series first screened in 1996 (around the 100th anniversary of Enid Blyton's birth). It contrasts well with the earlier 'modern' 1978 TV series many parents will remember. The 50's recreated sets and style are quite lavish for a kids production and all the Famous Five characters are present and correct - this episode is set around 1953. All the acting is to a high standard, and the children (and dog) all make likeable leads.
All the episodes in this TV series are very true to the original books - although theres no 'ginger beer and macaroons' for some reason. So like the EB books there is little slushy sentiment - the kids just get on with it in a 'quick after him' fashion, and the 50's setting allows them to roam around freely without being run over. The plot here follows E. Blyton's familiar and succesful formula: adults up to no good are being spied on by a bunch of clever kids, who solve the mystery of what is going on and call the police just in time to stop any unpleasantness or the crime paying.
My kids (boy 8 and girl 10) loved this TV series, particularly my daughter (we have all the episodes on VHS as well as this DVD). The picture quality of this DVD is noticeably better and far more stable than VHS - the video versions always seem to have occassional 'jumps' (miss-track) even though they have good picture quality. It's a real shame no other episodes other than this one seem to be available on DVD. Hopefully a boxed set of all 26 episodes (series 1 and 2) will appear on DVD sometime.
This 'episode' is about 60 minutes long - it was a two parter, so although it's not fantastic value, it is well worth a fiver or so. Try ebay if there's no Amazon resellers offering this DVD cheaply.