Reviewing one William story a day – it will take just under a year
William Brown made his first appearance in 1919, aged 11. And, 360 adventures later, in 1970, he was still 11. He had a birthday in 1930 but remained 11 on either side of it.
“William happens all the year round,” said Robert gloomily.
He lived through several Valentine’s Days, a brace of Bonfire Nights and countless Christmasses, but he, his parents, his innumberable aunts and uncles and his village all somehow resisted the ageing process.
The world, however, did not. The William of 1922 was enthralled by his first visit to the circus. By the 1960s, he had produced a television show (in the Old Barn), apprehended several suspected German agents (a small number of whom were actually German agents), established a National Health Service for animals, and met a much-idolised boy band.
As Richmal Crompton’s niece and literary executor, Richmal Ashbee, has said: “Over William’s fifty years, the world about him changed considerably. Fashions in what people did, and how they did them, came and went. William took it all in his stride. He confronted all that came in his own inimitable way.”
“I don’t want to waste all my time on one thing, same as most grown-ups do,” said William.
“Look at my father, goin’ to the office every single day! You’d think he’d get sick of it. I’m goin’ to do somethin’ diff’rent every day, so I’ve got to think up a lot of things.”
There are a total of 360 William stories. “Gosh,” I thought to myself, “if I read one each day it would last almost a year!”
Then I realised that no comprehensive listing of the stories and their content exists. A couple of reference books come close – and they’re invaluable, but I bet their authors didn’t have as much fun as I’m going to this year. Because I’m going to fill the gap and cover every single William story in the coming year.
One story a day. 360 days of William.
Just William’s Year
Just — Gabriel
Student Rabbi Gabriel Webber is a freelance journalist and rabbi-in-training who has been a Williamophile ever since hearing The Christmas Truce, 12.3 on a Martin Jarvis cassette.