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Wodehouse in Exile

Wodehouse in Exile

Mon Mar 25, 9-10.15pm, BBC4

By Yolanda Zappaterra
Was PG Wodehouse a traitor, as so many people thought for so many years? Apparently not; the release of the Cullen report by MI5 last year finally cleared the ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ creator of the long-held belief by many that he had consciously assisted the Germans in WWII, paving the way for this one-off drama by Nigel Williams.

Its initial theatricality and wooden staging fail to engage, undermining a terrific true story, but as that story begins to unfold things pick up no end, and we begin to understand how one very unworldly Englishman could be so easily manipulated into a position that would lead to his downfall and exile. Tim Pigott-Smith plays Wodehouse with aplomb, frustrating us with his naivety, and it’s left to Zoe Wanamaker’s spiky and sassy Ethel Woodhouse to provide clues as to why he would have so foolishly walked into such an obvious trap.

Let it draw you in and you’ll be rewarded by a nuanced, thoughtful story that has a rare impact.

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