“Bernard’s aunt gave him the watch at a little after two o’clock on a Thursday afternoon in early February. Later, he would sometimes wonder why his aunt chose to give it to him at that particular time or, indeed, why she chose to give it to him at all, instead of to somebody else. But whatever the reason, he was always extremely grateful to her. It was the perfect present at the time because, at the time, time was exactly what he needed.”
So begins Bernard’s Watch by Andrew Norriss. The story began as a 15 minute short film for the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) some years ago. As the brief was to provide a story comprehensible and enjoyable for children throughout Europe, there was little dialogue and a narrator told the story. It was a great success, so much so that a series was commissioned by ITV, and then another and another…
The first run told of a young boy called Bernard who was always late, until a postman gave him a “magic watch” which could stop time. He soon found out that the postman had magical powers, and that these watches were given to people who needed them. The rules of him keeping his watch were that he couldn’t use it to commit crimes and couldn’t be greedy. Every episode focused on Bernard or someone he’d lent the watch to facing a problem or simply doing day-to-day stuff and trying to sort it out, using the watch.
Andrew Norriss wrote 6 series of delightfully stories about Bernard and then used some of the ideas to write a the book Bernard’s Watch published by Puffin Books in 1999. When it went out of print I typed it out (we didn’t have the original document), and published it as an eBook. It was a delight for me to re-read and I recommend it to adults and children alike. Andrew Norriss’s characteristic ‘light humorous touch’ and clever plotting make for a most enjoyable and satisfying read, and so that more can appreciate it I have made it free to download for 3 days this week including World Book Day. Do help your self and let me know what you think!