The William Brown series, better known as the Just William series, is a series of nine books written by English author Richmal Crompton. The books are based on the mischievous schoolboy William Brown.
The series has spawned various television, film, theatre and radio adaptations. It also has a large fan following, with such groups as the Just William Society.
William Brown is an 11 year old mischievous middle class school boy who lives in a village between the fictional towns of Marleigh and Hadley in southern England. A number of guesses have been made about where the stories are set. In Pensions for Boys in Sweet William (1936), it is suggested that the village is about 50 miles from London. It has also been suggested (in Margarey Disher’s book Growing Up with Just William) that it is situated somewhere around Bromley. A road sign shown in a Thomas Henry illustration from “William Gets A Move On” in “William Does His Bit” reads “London A1″, which would place the village north of London.
William often gets into trouble and is the leader of his band of friends, who call themselves The Outlaws, with his best friend Ginger and his other friends Henry and Douglas. His scruffy mongrel is called Jumble.
A William story often starts when William or the Outlaws set out to do something—put on a play, collect scrap metal for the war effort, look after Violet Elizabeth Bott for example. William always manages to get into trouble with his parents, although he can never see why. Often his well-meaning efforts result in broken windows and hysterics among Mrs. Brown’s friends.
Sometimes William can be very moral—he is inspired to tell the truth for the duration of Christmas Day in William’s Truthful Christmas (Still William, 1925) with terrible results:
[William has just received a geometry set and a book on church history for Christmas.]
“Did you like the book and instruments that Uncle and I gave you?” said Aunt Emma brightly.
“No,” said William gloomily and truthfully. “I’m not int’rested in Church History an’ I’ve got something like those at school. Not that I’d want ‘em,” he added hastily, “if I hadn’t em.”
“William!” screamed Mrs. Brown in horror. “How can you be so ungrateful!”
“I’m not ungrateful,” explained William wearily.
“I’m only being truthful…