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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series Two


Starring: Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders, Jack Farthing and Tim Vine
Distributor: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 31 March 2014

Set in 1929, this series follows Clarence Threepwood (Timothy Spall), the Ninth Earl of Emsworth and head of Blandings Castle, who would like nothing more than to be left alone, along with his cherished pet pig The Empress. Unfortunately, in such a chaotic household his wish rarely comes true and he is forced to face up to familial responsibilities by his formidable sister Connie (Jennifer Saunders) and is constantly having to lend his idiot son, Frederick (Jack Farthing), money. In fact if it weren't for Clarence's butler, Beach (Tim Vine), then Blandings would probably fall apart...

I'm not the biggest fan of P. G. Wodehouse. While I'm sure that in his day his observations where rip-roaringly hilarious, I have always found them stuffy and a little predictable. When I watched the first episode on this release my worst fears seemed to had been realised. This was comedy without the redeeming feature of having anything worthy of laughing at. I felt the same way about Jeeves & Wooster, this is comedy for people without a sense of humour.

While the production looked and felt spot on, I couldn't help thinking that the actors where all preparing for panto season. Saunders is especially ludicrous when any physical comedy is required.

But then a strange thing started to happen. As I watched more and more episodes the characters started to grow on me. It's weird really, because when you break them down they are each so predictable. Connie just wanders around the house stressing about everything; Clarence lives in his own world; Beach... well, to be perfectly honest they could have written the character out of the show and you wouldn't have noticed (in fact he is absent for an entire episode and the only reason you do notice is because Clarence keeps forgetting he's not there); and Frederick meets a new girl each week and continues to lose every penny he ever has by gambling it in silly wagers he couldn't possibly win.

Guest stars in this series include Harry Enfield, Celia Imrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jemima Rooper and John Sessions.

At the end of these seven episodes I had warmed to the series... but not enough to warrant watching it again anytime soon.


Darren Rea

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