New BBC One Comedy: Blandings

The following is a guest post.

Clarence, the Earl of Emsworth (Timothy Spall) is the reluctant head of a dysfunctional brood. While a parade of assorted sons, nieces and grandchildren appear at the doorstep of Blandings Castle, all poor Clarence wants is some solitude in his wonderfully messy study and quality time with Empress, his prize pig.

 

As if his domineering sister, Connie (Jennifer Saunders) and his frivolous son, Freddie (Jack Farthing) aren’t worry enough, Clarence must deal with invaders and thwarters from outside the family as well. The Earl’s greatest nemesis is an anal retentive personal secretary with a cruel streak named Baxter (David Walliams). While he has been hand-picked by Connie, Baxter is loathed by everyone else in the house, especially Beach (Mark Williams), Clarence’s loyal butler and only true friend.

The first thought that came to mind when I started watching Blandings was that a show like this would never get made here in the States. At no time would any Hollywood producer say these words: “Hey, let’s make a sitcom adapted from some 1920’s P.G. Wodehouse novels about a chaotic family of toffs.”

And I suspect that’s part of the reason I like it. While Blandings has not been a huge critical success, it’s got a strong cast and the type of humor that makes you feel nostalgic for a time most of us have probably never experienced.

The second thought I had was that perhaps I would enjoy perusing some of Mr. Wodehouse’s humorous stories. If I did, I could feel witty and well-read. But let’s be honest here, reading the books is likely to cut into my telly viewing time so…

If you choose to get your Wodehouse fix visually like me, my dear old crumpets, TvSoapSpecials has been uploading a new episode of Blandings to YouTube each Sunday evening.
Carmen is an American wife and mother of two college students who live away from home. With her yellow lab Malcolm by her side, she watches and writes about British television for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK I Learned from the BBC. Read more of Carmen’s posts here.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m so glad you’ve mentioned Blandings. I have been absolutely, totally, 100% surprised at how much I have been enjoying this series!!

    I feel that this Wodehouse is quite a bit sharper than [Fry and Laurie's] Jeeves and Wooster – of which I was a big fan. And like you, Carmen, it has inspired me to want to actually read some Wodehouse for myself.

  2. says

    Thanks for your comment, Tea in England. No matter how much I adore Fry and Laurie(and I do), I have to say I got a little bored watching Jeeves and Wooster.

    Let’s see if our resolve holds long enough to check out some Wodehouse from the library! I have no excuse, I work in one:)