FANDOM


Farm-Fresh balanceYMMVTransmit blueRadarWikEd fancyquotesQuotes • (Emoticon happyFunnyHeartHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3Awesome) • RefridgeratorFridgeGroupCharactersScript editFanfic RecsSkull0Nightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out iconShout OutMagnifierPlotGota iconoTear JerkerBug-silkHeadscratchersHelpTriviaWMGFilmRoll-smallRecapRainbowHo YayPhoto linkImage LinksNyan-Cat-OriginalMemesHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

A 25-volume series of comic Boarding School novels by Anthony Buckeridge, which was also adapted for radio. The first volume, Jennings Goes to School, was published in 1950. Sequels were published regularly until 1977, then after a 14-year gap, two more were released in the 1990s. All bar one are set in Linbury Court, a single-sex prep school (private school, ages 8-13 or so) catering to the middle classes.


Jennings is a well-meaning but impulsive boy, who frequently gets himself into comic scrapes -- an attempt to help a cow over a fence ends with him trapped in a unlit basement cupboard. His best friend, Darbishire, attempts to act as the voice of common sense, but usually just gets dragged into the mire. The other boys in the dorm eventually catch on to this and, in one plot, set Jennings up with a broken radio, confident that the ensuing hilarity would be much more entertaining than any radio programme.

The principal teachers were the brusque Mr Wilkins, who had great difficulty understanding Jennings, and Mr Carter, an admitted Author Avatar, who was more tolerant but always knew exactly what was going on.

All the characters were usually addressed by surname only, though their first names were known.


The books and radio dramas were and still are hugely popular in Norway. "Stompa" (as Jennings' Norwegian nickname is) is a well-known and beloved character in Norwegian culture, in part thanks to translator Nils-Reinhardt Christensen's somewhat liberal translations, which moves the location from England to Norway and swaps English names, customs and traditions with Norwegian ones -- though some of the credit has to go to Gisle Straume, who played "Lektor Tørrdal" (Mr. Wilkins) in the Norwegian radio dramas and whose stellar performance turned the character into one of the most memorable and quotable characters in Norwegian radio.

The Stompa series even spawned four movies, which were produced in The Sixties and are still regarded as classics in Norway -- or at least the first two are, since Gisle Straume reprised his role as Lektor Tørrdal in those, and the tone sticks closely to the books. The last two movies are less fondly remembered, both due to a lack of Gisle Straume and because, since the main actors were growing older, the scripts tried to follow suit by including some more mature themes and Freudian images that... really didn't fit the characters or the settings.


These books include examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Often discussed and taken as an undeniable fact by Jennings and the other boys, but almost as often completely subverted by the actual adults in the stories, particularly Mr. Carter.
  • Angrish: Mr Wilkins, who mastered saying "D'oh!" long before Homer Simpson.

  Temple's impersonation of him: "I - I - I - you - you - you...corwumph! Temple, you miserable specimen! Don't you know that the angles at the base of an isoceles triangle are jolly nearly equal?! Write it out a hundred and fifty million times before tea!"

 Mr Carter: What position would you like to play?

Darbishire: ...I think I'd like to be wicket-keeper, sir.

  • It Makes Sense in Context: Teachers are often baffled by the boys' logic for this reason. For example, why Jennings decided to name a guinea pig "F. J. Saunders".
    • Also, Temple's nickname being "Bod" seems to come out of nowhere... until you get the story behind it. His full name is "Charles A. Temple," which means his initials are "C.A.T." Naturally, because of this, the kids started calling him "Dog," which was eventually lengthened to "Dogsbody," which was then shortened again to "Bod."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr Wilkins, although it takes considerable effort to find it.
  • Large Ham: Gisle Straume, who played Lektor Tørrdal (Mr. Wilkins) in the Norwegian radio series and films, turned the character into one of the most beloved hams in Norwegian broadcasting history, and is often credited as one of the main reasons why the series got so popular.
    • Straume got so well-known for the role that he declined to appear in the last two films for fear of being permanently typecast, the character being written out as having gone off to get married and replaced by his equally-temperamental brother (played by popular Norwegian comedian and impressionist Rolf Just Nilsen). Unfortunately for Straume, by that point it was already far too late.
  • Last-Name Basis: Everyone. It's rare to hear any first names, be they of students or teachers.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Meaningful Name / Prophetic Name: Jennings claims that all characters from fiction must have them, with Dickensian examples. Darbishire disagrees:

  Darbishire: But that means that if you've got a name like Fuzziwig you can never be as bald as a coot no matter how hard you try, and if your name's Marlinspike Mainbrace, f'r instance, you've just got to be a sailor, even if you don't want to be!

    • Later, based on examples such as Sherlock Holmes, Sexton Blake and Ferrers Locke, they decide that if your character is a Great Detective, they must have a two-syllable first name and a one-syllable surname.

 Jennings: We've got a policeman at home--he's not a detective, of course, but he might be one day--and he's called Bill Smithson.

Darbishire: Well he'll never get anywhere as a detective! Unless he turns it around and calls himself "Billson Smith"

  • Mysterious Teachers' Lounge: In "Thanks to Jennings" the boys become convinced that the teachers go up to their room after every meal in order to secretly snack on an extra course.
  • New Meat: Jennings and Darbishire get treated this way in the first book, Jennings Goes To School; ironically, after Temple and Atkinson convince them the school is a horrible place they must escape, their "heroic" failed escape attempt serves to make Jennings' reputation and ensure they are immediately accepted as equals.
    • Especially lampshaded when, after much advice from 'veteran' Atkinson, Jennings asks him how long he's been there:

  Atkinson: Me? Oh, I've been here donkeys' years. Ages and ages. Well...two terms, anyway.

  • The Other Darrin: In the Norwegian movies, Stompa (Jennings) is played by Rolf Kirkvaag Jr. in the first movie and Ole Enger in the following three.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The first book mentions that Darbishire's father speaks "in block capitals".
  • Poor Communication Kills: A staple of the series, both as throwaway gags and important plot points. How many nerve-wrecking or humiliating moments could Mr Wilkins have saved himself if he'd just bothered to explain to his students why their latest scheme was a bad idea instead of just dismissing them outright or exploding in anger at their thoughtlessness? Or, for that matter, bothered to listen when they tried to explain instead of automatically assuming they're trying to make fun of him?
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jennings and Darbishire have this dynamic; Jennings impulsive and over-enthusiasthic, Darbishire timid and cautious.
    • Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Carter have a similar dynamic going on, with Wilkins as the often irrationally temperamental and not very understanding Red Oni, Carter as the calm, reasonable and thoughtful Blue Oni.
  • Serious Business: Much of the humour comes from the boys treating random crazes in this way. One example is the Great Underwater Breath-holding Championships that form the opening scene of "Especially Jennings".
  • She's a Man In Japan: Oddly enough, Darbishire's oft-quoted father became his grandmother in the Norwegian translation.
  • A Simple Plan: Oh, how many times.
  • Spoonerism: Darbishire on photographing a squirrel. "It'd make a snappersonic soupshot...I mean, a supersonic snapshot."
  • Stylistic Suck: Jennings's attempt to write a detective story.

  Bang! Bang! Bang! Three shots rang out. Two policemen fell dead and the third whistled through his hat.

  • Sugar Bowl: Is this the sweetest, loveliest school ever? All the teachers are nice guys really, no one ever gets into any real trouble and bullying doesn't exist.
    • Often, the fun part is how the characters manage to convince themselves otherwise, Jennings in particular. He has a tendency to forget or downplay in his mind just how reasonable and understanding the teachers in reality are, and tends to violently exaggerate and blow out of proportion any problems he might run into or inadvertently cause -- going to ludicrous lengths to keep the teachers from finding out and thrashing him within an inch of his life. Though he deep down knows they'd never actually do this, he generally acts as if he's convinced they will.
      • It's very rare, but occasionally corporal punishment is actually carried out. Not to the extent of Temple's horror stories, though.
  • Tech Marches On: Pay phones and an in-school darkroom the kids have access to figure in stories.
    • Not to mention a crystal radio set, although that is said to be old-fashioned even at the time.
  • Two-Teacher School: We're told there are other teachers, but the only ones we meet are Mr Carter and Mr Wilkins, plus occasional appearances by music teacher Mr Hind.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Darbishire is said to resemble "a small-scale edition" of his father.
  • Unusual Euphemism "Fossilized fish-hooks!" etc.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Jennings at the end of the first book, combined with an implied Literary Agent Hypothesis with Mr Carter.
  • Zany Scheme: Jennings is a master of these. Their success rate is about fifty-fifty.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.