Blandings (BBC1, 2013-2014)
A while ago I reviewed Jeeves And Wooster, a sitcom which was based on the works of PG Wodehouse. It’s not the kind of thing that I would usually take much interest in, but it starred Fry and Laurie and was very much acclaimed. This is another sitcom which has been adapted from a Wodehouse work, and once again I was attracted to it because it had a great cast, along with plenty of quality guest appearances. This wasn’t the first time that Blandings came to TV, as there was previously a series on BBC1 in 1967.
Blandings was set in 1929 and starred Timothy Spall as Clarence Threepwood (no relation to Guybrush), the 9th Earl of Emsworth. He lives in a rather large castle, along with his sister Constance (Jennifer Saunders), his son Freddie, and his loyal butler Beach. Clarence wants to quietly spend his time at the castle looking after his prized possession, The Empress, who is a pig. Lots of people come to visit the castle though, and this leads to lots of amusing situations, accompanied by plenty of bumbling, but Beach usually came to the rescue.
One thing I enjoyed the most about Blandings is that one episode guest stars Paloma Faith as dancer Georgia who was rather fond of Freddie. Now as well as being an actress, including appearing in one of the St Trinian’s films, Paloma has also had big success as a pop star, the first of her many hit singles coming in 2009. She is one of the last pop stars that I really got into before I started to feel too old for all that kind of thing. I might do a piece about her pop career one day.
There were also guest appearances from David Walliams, Jessica Hynes, Harry Enfield, Jemima Rooper, and many others. The first series was fairly well received, and it then returned for a second. However, Mark Williams had left the role of Beach, who could possibly be his replacement? Well they only went and got Tim Vine! Now he is one of my favourites, and it was good seeing him again in another sitcom following Not Going Out, that was a rather good move that guaranteed I would continue to be a viewer.
The combination of the cast who portrayed some amusing quirky characters meant that it was one of those shows where I went into it not really sure what to expect and ended up enjoying it. I think that it was usually shown on Sunday evenings though, it deserved a higher profile slot. There were 13 episodes of Blandings in two series, and they have all been released on DVD, although they contain no extras.