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How_posh_are_the_cast_of_Blandings_With a headline cast of top class comedy stars including Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders, Harry Enfield and Celia Imrie my initial hopes for this BBC series were high. After all, it’s not so long ago that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were giving a wonderful update to the Jeeves stories. So a new series from the masterful pen of PG Wodehouse what could possibly go wrong?

Original picture is from the Radio Times

But I fear that reviewing this series is going to prove a severe test for the Perfect Gentleman. It is our policy to speak well of something or not to speak at all. But, as with all rules it is the exception that proves the rule and in the case of the BBC Blandings series we are going to take exception!

Watching this second series it very quickly became clear that the true essence of Wodehouse has been removed and replaced with slap stick. The beautifully crafted ‘wordsmithing’, the rapier like humour so much beloved of Wodehouse devotees over the years have largely gone. It’s like drinking Supermarket value coffee rather than a fine Italian Espresso made by the finest Roman barista, like eating a large American multiples burger rather than the beef from the trolley at Simpsons in the Strand.

Tim Vine as the “inestimable Beach”, a character written as a long standing family retainer, is typical of the lightweight casting. He mugs and generally lacks any semblance of the stability and authority that Wodehouse gave him.

Timothy Spall is the only member of the cast to come out of the production with anything like a quality performance with a beautifully bumbling and vague portrayal of Lord Emsworth, mind you the pig’s not bad either!

The worst sacrilege is the script. I don’t believe the people responsible for the adaption had been anywhere near the original books. How is it possible to take some of the most convoluted story lines and the most studied, and honeyed lines of dialogue written in the British language and reduce them to this level of a low budget pulp?

Plum will, I confidently expect, be spinning in his grave. I pray that the BBC don’t think of burdening us with anymore of this light weight drivel.

For myself I am off to the local Oxfam bookshop where there is always a large pile of Wodehouse. Reading the original in all it’s glory with a large glass of red wine is what an evening is made for.

Original picture is from the Radio Times

 

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