Hetty Feather - Merry of Misery House

(5 Posts)
morningtoncrescent62 Tue 23-Jun-15 09:06:48

I haven't read the original Hetty Feather children's novel but I'm watching the TV serialisation at the moment, and it reminds me so much of the long-running serial Merry of Misery House in one of the 70s girls' comics, Jinty, I think, or it may have been Tammy or Sandie (I read them all before they amalgamated!). The setting was different, a girls' reformatory rather than the Foundling Hospital, but all the elements were the same. Spirited girl heroine who won't accept Matron's tyrannical rule, gang of friends around her, smaller gang of spiteful enemies. Not to mention that the whole Victorian-orphans-being-forced-to-skivvy theme was pretty standard for the genre. Are there any other fans of 70s girls' comics who have made this connection?

terencemagee Thu 21-Apr-16 23:52:26

I´m the writer of Merry At Misery House which appeared in JINTY comic in 1974,
At the time, I wasn´t aware that it was a popular story, but am now happy to know that it was enjoyed by many readers.
First I´ve heard of Hetty Feather and her book Merry of Misery House. On which TV channel is the serial shown? I´ll be interested to make comparisons.

morningtoncrescent62 Fri 22-Apr-16 18:37:32

Ohmigod I feel like I'm in the presence of royalty. terencemagee, I absolutely loved Merry at Misery House - I used to look forward to it all week! How did you come to write it? As in, did you have a contract with Fleetway and they asked you to write it, or did you have the idea and pitch it to them, or what? I'm really interested to know how it all worked.

Hetty Feather is a book (or series of books, I think) by Jacqueline Wilson, which was serialised on CBBC. It's set in the Foundling Hospital which of course is a real place, when it was operating as an orphanage in Victorian times which as any reader of 1970s girls' comics knows is when orphans lived. I've just looked it up, and it looks like only a few episodes are on iplayer, but there's another series coming soon. Hetty Feather iplayer page here. So it's not set in a reform school, but lots of the components seemed to me to be derived from Merry.

morningtoncrescent62 Fri 22-Apr-16 18:38:59

Oh, and most of the girls in my class also loved Merry. We used to talk about it in fourth year juniors all the time. I'm not sure how many of them would admit it now, though!

terencemagee Fri 22-Apr-16 23:00:28

Wow, I´m flattered! We never got much praise in comics(British ones, anyway). I´m so glad you enjoyed the story and I really did enjoy writing it(although énjoy´is a funny word to use for the suffering that went on at Misery House). Credit for the
title and idea goes to Mavis Miller, Editor of Jinty, I bashed out the episodes. You can read more about it(with interview with myself)at Jinty Comic Wordpress.
Interestingly, Jacqueline Wilson worked in comics - on Jackie published by our rivals D C Thomson in Dundee. Anything else you want to know, get back to me. Thank you.

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