Blandings

Sun Feb 17, 6.30pm, BBC1

Aiden Monaghan
Series one, episode six
This series based on the PG Wodehouse stories rolls to a close with houseguest Lady Littlewood (Jessica Hynes) in suspiciously hot pursuit of Timothy Spall’s borderline-amnesiac Earl of Emsworth. It’s about as close to actual intrigue as this slice of inter-war frippery has got, relying as it does on stock storylines and stubbornly recurring themes (a prominent one being the digestive trials and tribulations of the Empress, the Earl’s pet pig).

Guy Andrews’s adaptations didn’t need to be so straightforward and predictable – there’s an awful lot of original ‘Blandings’ material to mine and the show could have been denser than Lord Emsworth himself. But the advantage of the undemanding plot is the space it allows to wallow in the characters’ gloriously ad hoc idiom: the endless variations on his suitor’s name as misremembered by Emsworth, the way his son Freddie describes himself in his half-cut state as being ‘tight as an owl’, and the impending threat of the Empress morphing into ‘tragic sausages’ on the breakfast table.

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