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A long-running series of comic/adventure stories by Richmal Crompton about an 11-year-old English boy named William Brown.
William is a mischevious and adventurous, if mostly well-intentioned, boy, cheerfully indifferent to school and the baffling (to him) rules of adult life.
The series is a strong user of Comic Book Time; each book is set in the era in which it was written and yet William is 11 throughout. The first compilation of short stories was published in 1921 and the 39th in 1970.
The stories have been adapted numerous times for various media. Three movies (Just William, Just William's Luck and William at the Circus) were produced in The Forties, as was a radio series. Later on, in The Nineties, BBC released several Audiobook adaptations of the stores read by Martin Jarvis, which are probably the most well-known adaptations to date.
No less than four TV series have been made based on the characters and stories. The first one, produced for BBC in 1962-63, was simply called William whereas the three following series (in 1976, 1994 and 2010) all kept the Just William title.
- Adults Are Useless - William certainly thinks so, and he's even right about a vast number of them.
- All Dogs Are Purebred - Averted. Lord only knows what mix of breeds Jumble is. All the scruffy ones, presumably.
- Aloof Big Brother - William's "grown-up brother" Robert.
- Annoying Younger Sibling - He's the protagonist.
- Arch Enemy - Hubert Lane
- Book Dumb
- Catch Phrase - "Crumbs".
- Deadpan Snarker - William tries to be this, but a lot of his sarcasms fail quite badly. His father is notably better at it.
- Fat Idiot - Hubert Lane and his chum Bertie Franks
- Forgotten Trope - Several, given the periods the stories were written in. Good examples include an early 1920's version of the Red Scare and various World War Two related tropes.
- Five-Man Band
- Generation Xerox- One story focuses on the Outlaw's various schemes to get some fireworks for bonfires night, at the end of their story, their fathers, walking home from work, hijack the fireworks and begin reminiscing about their childhood exploits as a gang, which bear a suspicious resemblance to the Outlaw's
- Gender Blender Name - An author with the first name of Richmal writing about a boy's adventures is a man, right? Wrong.
- Gift Giving Gaffe - One wonders what Aunt Emma was thinking, giving William a geometry set and a book on church history. Had she never met her nephew?
- I Am Not Shazam - Just William is merely the title of the first book: each book title uses the form "__ William", "William the __" or "William and __". The term is frequently used casually to refer to the series as a whole, though – and, in a rather odder tendency, to the main character (e.g. "...a classic child hero in the mould of Harry Potter, Charlie Bucket or Just William") as if it were his name... when it is in fact the perfectly serviceable William Brown.
- Kidanova - Despite claiming to not like girls, William does have a tendency to fall for the pretty ones -- or at least the ones who aren't too silly in his opinion. Quite a number of them turn out to like him, too.
- Laser-Guided Karma/Karma Houdini - Both used frequently.
- Long Running Book Series
- Love Makes You Dumb - Happens to several characters, including William on occasion, but Robert is the most prominent and most constant example.
- Misery Builds Character - William's parents are rather big on this. Maybe it was their Victorian childhood? (Even when they lived in The Seventies, and thus presumably grew up in The Fifties.)
- Naughty Is Good - Of course.
- Noble Demon - William and his friends regularly picture themselves as robbers, pirates, kidnappers and so on and even name themselves 'The Outlaws' but they are almost never actively malicious (at least against the undeserving.)
- Not Allowed to Grow Up - William has been eleven since 1920. He will no doubt still be eleven in 2120, and quite right, too.
- Spoiled Brat - Violet Elizabeth Bott, though with some traces of Spoiled Sweet, depending on the story.
- The Roaring Twenties - The original series setting.
- Standard Fifties Father - William's father, although of course he was created in the twenties.
- World War Two - The stories written during the war (all focus was on the Home Front). William is also noticibly less naughty, as he is too busy helping with the war effort to act up. Things still manage to go awry for him, though.