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.