Adrian Mole, The Secret Diary/Growing Pains of

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1985 to 1987 on ITV (Thames)

DECADE-ENHANCING COFFEE table staple by SUE TOWNSEND adapted reasonably, if rather needlessly, for the screen and starring GIAN SAMMARCO as the spotty, ‘thing’-obsessed adolescent nerd misunderstood by his parents, adored by his grandma and, of course, profoundly in love with Pandora, as Ian Dury’s rousing theme recited. 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. Beetroot-loving octogenarian bigot Bert Baxter provided a final role for BILL “ARMY GAME” FRASER, while the rest of the cast were spot on: JULIE WALTERS and STEPHEN MOORE as the hard-drinking, forever-rowing parents and BERYL REID as the thin-lipped, potty grandma. LINDSEY STAGG played Pandora, who wasn’t anywhere near as ravishable as we’d expected. Sequel THE GROWING PAINS… was also done, to lesser effect, mainly as Walters had been replaced by LULU, who just wasn’t as convincing as a woefully bad matriarch. Childbirth, running away from home, “touch her bust”, Falklands campaign maps, “we shall, we shall wear red socks”. Not at all bad. Sammarco played the character again, in all but name, in a bad run of high street bank adverts, winking at the cashier and everything. Has since vacated “public eye” radar screen.


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7 responses to “Adrian Mole, The Secret Diary/Growing Pains of”

  1. David Pascoe says:

    Whenever I read the new volumes of Adrian’s life, I always picture the cast from this adaptation in them.

  2. 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. And it doesn’t half, what with Queenie dying and Adrian running away from home.

  3. Delila L Fewstin says:

    I love Adrian Mole. Words cannot describe how much I do. He was the inspiration that I needed. I’m glad I refused to work that Wednesday afternoon in November 2008.
    About the series’ – Lulu was no match for Julie Walters. What on earth was going on there? You couldn’t have got anybody better to play old Adrian though. The lovely Gian, will always be one of my heroes. And lets not forget his creator, dear Sue Townsend.

  4. David Smith says:

    Sammarco is now a psychiatric nurse in the East Midlands and no longer acts (he said, reading Wikipedia).

  5. Pete says:

    I can believe that David. A colleague once told me he applied to be a youth worker once upon a time.

  6. Richard Davies says:

    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.

    Stephen Moore seemed to become “rentadad” by the mid 1990s, being the dad in The Queen’s Nose & one of Kevin’s dad’s (he had at least 3) in Harry Enfield.

  7. Glenn A says:

    Why on earth has this never been repeated?

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