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03.08.2015
Stephen Mangan, who played the television role of Adrian Mole in 2001, said on hearing of her passing, “Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died.
The Adrian Mole books described the growing pains and internal worries of a teenage boy, his loves and woes, such as glue sniffing and ending up with model aeroplane stuck to his nose!
Whilst Adrian Mole’s father read Playboy he read Charles Dickens by torchlight and wanted to escape his housing estate existence and find true love with Pandora. Her novels featured wry humour, social commentary on class and economic inequalities, and an independent feminism and socialism. Although she is most famous for creating a teenage boy and all his adolescent angst, it was her female characters that most reflected her own ideals. She had planned to write one or two more Adrian Mole novels, the 10th and 11th, to cover the Coalition years of the current Government. Read more reader suggested memorable quotes from Adrian Mole in the comments section of this Guardian piece. Sue Townsend, will undoubtedly be missed, despite her few critics and doubters – as evidenced in some comment threads, but most especially for her warmth, generosity and a style of satire, so eminently British, that is paradoxically both sharp and soft on its targets.
The diary also includes his thoughts on social events that took place in the years 1981 and 1982, such as the royal wedding of  Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
A second series, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, was also commissioned, and was transmitted in January 1987, also on ITV. The title character was played by Gian Sammarco, while Adrian’s mum was played by Julie Walters in the first series. Because of the success of the books, this show was quite a sensation in the 80s, even though both series only spanned a  couple of months each. Gian Sammarco, the actor who played the teenaged Adrian in the first two TV series has now retired from acting and is now a psychiatric nurse. There are actually nine books in the Adrian Mole Series in total, the most recent, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years was published in November 2009.
Whenever I read the new volumes of Adrian’s life, I always picture the cast from this adaptation in them. The first series is excellent, the second is merely very good – spoiled slightly by the thick-eared synth-heavy musical cues every time things get a bit sad or even downbeat.
Sammarco is now a psychiatric nurse in the East Midlands and no longer acts (he said, reading Wikipedia).


I remember my Dad laughing the house down when Adrian accidently glued a model Spitfire to he nose. I was a bit young to see it first time round but Granada repeated it later in the 1980s & I watched it then. The world really is going mad, as not only have Leicester won the league and we’re bringing back Creamvote, but apparently Ben Elton’s funny again! As a teenager during the eighties I grew up with the Adrian Mole books and I was skeptical as to whether a concept so tied to that era would resonate today. Costumes were flamboyant and accurate and the settings, on Kevan Hooke’s clever multiple set, were as I remember the time. In the title role was Sam Tye, an earnest and believable young actor, he owned this production and lit up every scene – a notable achievement in a show with a theme of unrelenting doom. Some promising performers were produced by the younger cast members, including Mahalia Bowles as Pandora, Ian Griffin as Nigel and canine performer Pixie. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was something a bit different for Stirling and with a script that overlooks some of the more overt contemporary references of the original, despite the setting, it feels relevant to today. To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. Despite failing her 11-plus exam, leaving school at 15, and being a three-child single mother by 23, she went on to write 17 books, 11 plays and receive half-a-dozen awards including two honorary doctorates. Her first book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13? became one of the bestselling books of the 1980s in which it was also set. To date some 20 million+ copies of the books have sold, as it has spawned numerous sequels and translations, making both Sue Townsend and Adrian Mole famous.
Townsend saw a life littered with literature and books as an opportunity for economic, mental, and social escape.
Having started on Richmal Crompton’s Just William, she quickly graduated to Jane Eyre, and from there to Dostoevsky. His were the trials of a teenage boy, intellectually and sexually thwarted, at one and same time. The Falklands, Old and New Labour, Tony Benn, old-school Communist OAP Bert, even the break up of the SDP all featured.
She was never vicious and left enough humanity in each character she penned or real people she had her creations criticise for each reader to be left to make up their own minds.


Like the title suggests the book chronicled the diary entries of a 13 year old boy called Adrian Mole, who is a bit of a geek.
The last in the TV franchise, Adrian Mole: The Capuccino Years was broadcast in 2001, nearly 15 years later, this time on BBC1. My favourite bit was the song in the opening credits, which was performed by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, below. Barely a script change, with much of it in monologue with Adrian in his bedroom, staring into the mirror while reading extracts from the diary. As anyone who saw The Wright Way will appreciate, that seems the most unbelievable of all, but we have heard from a number of reputable sources that his new sitcom is actually rather good.
All written with the humor and poignancy, that would make Sue Townsend the most read British author of the 1980s. Seemingly he works best in a period setting because to all intents and purposes, this is Blackadder II again, with David Mitchell as Shakespeare, alongside an impressive supporting cast including Harry Enfield, Liza Tarbuck and Mark Heap.
More mature characters, Grandma (Heather Stewart) and Bert (Paul Anderson) were especially charming and Celeste Underhill’s appearances as Celeste Slater all too brief.
I got dressed reading, walked to school reading and finished it in the cloakroom at lunchtime. It is ordinary people like Mr Lucas who should be ashamed of themselves."It shows the difficulties a young boy goes through with a somewhat difficult family life, but how educating it can be at the same time.
Gian Sammarco is the angst-ridden scribbler with literary aspirations, with Julie Walters and Lulu successively portraying his mother, Beryl Reid his opinionated grandma, Stephen Moore his errant father, and Bill Fraser his elderly chum, Bert Baxter.Adrian certainly has much to contend with. The reader finds out about all the books (more or less suitable for his age) young Adrian reads in 1981. A quite impressive list, though sometimes someone wonders if it is possible to be that quick a reader, e.g. Sammarco played the character again, in all but name, in a bad run of high street bank adverts, winking at the cashier and everything.
But the fact that Adrian puts it down like that in his diary is just charming.A wonderful book about growing up and taking responsibility.




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