Blandings, TV review
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Monday 17 February 2014
Blandings Castle, the fictional seat of Lord Emsworth (Timothy Spall), is much more the sort of building of which Prince Charles would approve, and Blandings, which started a second series on BBC1 last night, is much more the sort of Sunday programming we’re used to.
But if you must wind down with nostalgic mush populated by aristocratic nitwits, at least let these nitwits be the creations of PG Wodehouse.
This episode began with a red-faced Duke of Dunstable (Harry Enfield) roaring through the house, while brandishing a poker. My reaction was similar when I discovered that The Fast Show’s Mark Williams, who played the butler, Beach, in series one, had been replaced with stand-up Tim Vine.
Still, even minus Williams, Blandings is a lot of fun. Enfield doing his Cholmondley-Warner on steroids was just one of the several guest stars we’re promised. Mathew Baynton also turned up as an unsuitable suitor to Dunstable’s niece, and this forbidden match led, in a roundabout Wodehousian way, to an attempt to have Emsworth committed. Even among English eccentrics, entering one’s prize pig in the Epsom Derby is considered outré.
As ever, it was the butler’s discreet intervention that saved the day. Blandings is set in 1929, but Beach/Vine’s scheme hinged on a reference to the 1944 film To Have and Have Not: “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” he asked Freddie. “Yes, yes. You blow and then you put your lips together.” Rest assured such glaring anachronisms would never have been permitted at Blandings in Mark Williams’s day.
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Police shoot and kill second young black man near Ferguson
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 4 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Calvin Harris named highest-paid DJ in the world ahead of David Guetta and Avicii
JK Rowling releases new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing Celestina Warbuck, the 'Singing Sorceress'
Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermeister and vodka
Kate Bush: Previously unseen photographs reveal new side to comeback star
The funniest joke at Edinburgh Fringe 2014: Tim Vine wins for second time
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head