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1001 Stories Collection

The Bagthorpe Saga

1001 Bagthorpe Saga
Added on 20th August 2020

Author Helen Cresswell
First published 1977
Publisher Faber and Faber

Family
1001

A series of comic novels about the life of an eccentric family.

Story

The Bagthorpe Saga is a series of 10 books that follow the eccentric Bagthorpe family and their self-obsessed individual concerns in a darkly comic way as they go about their daily lives.

Much of the comedy arises from the fact that the Bagthorpe parents and three of their four children believe themselves to be geniuses. However Jack (the third child of the four) and his much-loved but rather hopeless dog Zero are not considered to be so gifted. In Ordinary Jack, the first story in the series, Jack and his Uncle Parker embark on a series of tricks to try and convince the rest of the family that Jack can see into the future resulting in unforeseen and chaotic consequences. The stories also feature the family's housekeeper and other members of the extended Bagthorpe family who all have their own particular eccentricities.

Why we chose it

Helen Cresswell's Bagthorpe novels are a wonderful example of comic writing with a subtle satirical twist. Her characters all display well-known foibles which Cresswell exaggerates to great comic effect. The domestic setting and the everyday activities provide the perfect backdrop for the comedy of relationships within an extended family.

Where it came from

The domestic setting and comic format have similarities to Richmal Crompton's Just William stories. The stories also mock some of the social stratifications and middle class pretensions of the 1970s and 1980s in a similar way to TV programmes such as The Good Life.

Where it went next

The first two novels were adapted for a TV series in 1981. Helen Cresswell was a prolific writer of books and screenplays. She wrote over 100 stories, including many with a strong fantasy element such as Lizzie Dripping and Moondial.

Associated stories

The 10 books in the Bagthorpe Saga are Ordinary Jack, Absolute Zero, Bagthorpes Unlimited, Bagthorpes Versus the World, Bagthorpes Abroad, Bagthorpes Haunted, Bagthorpes Liberated, The Bagthorpe Triangle, Bagthorpes Beseiged and Bagthorpes Battered.

Added on 20th August 2020

Author Helen Cresswell
First published 1977
Publisher Faber and Faber

Family
1001