Tag: Blandings Castle

Sunset at Blandings

Sunset at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse (Chatto & Windus, 1977; revised Everyman’s Library, 2015) The final, unfinished Wodehouse novel. Much like Pratchett’s ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’, the un-fleshed-out text stirs memories of what was, while throwing light on the authorial process. In this instance, Plum-worship has led to the adding of copious and mostly inconsequential third-party annotations.

A Damsel in Distress

A Damsel in Distress by P G Wodehouse (Herbert Jenkins, 1919); audiobook read by Frederick Davidson (Blackstone Audio, 1993) For readers without a Blandings Castle novel to hand, this early Wodehouse comedy will oblige most admirably as a surrogate. While the plot involves misunderstandings of romantic entanglement, these serve merely to backdrop the page-by-page brush swirl of Wodehouse’s exquisitely trenchant…

Service with a Smile

Service with a Smile by P G Wodehouse (Simon & Schuster, 1961) More pig-stealing machinations at Blandings Castle. Wodehouse as ever constructs and demolishes, re-weaves and unravels a plot thick with thwarted marriages and jovial underhandedness. Ickenham performs admirably as Galahad’s understudy, yet the prose and resolutions fall short of Wodehouse at his best.    

Blandings, Series Two

Blandings, Series Two adapted by Guy Andrews (BBC, 2014) As adaptations, these episodes can only disappoint. (Wodehouse’s narrative voice is, of course, absent, and the plot contrivances see Andrews playing overtly rather than slyly for laughs.) As a standalone production, however, there is much here to like, especially Timothy Spall’s Emsworth.    

Heavy Weather

Heavy Weather by P. G. Wodehouse (Little, Brown and Company, 1933); audiobook read by Martin Jarvis (Canongate, 2008) Less a sequel, more a direct continuation of ‘Summer Lightning’. Wodehouse takes up the strands again and concocts a book-length encore of comedic misfortunes, double-crossings and plans hatched at cross purposes. Martin Jarvis narrates with dignity but over-eggs some of the voices.…

Mulliner Nights

Mulliner Nights by P. G. Wodehouse (Herbert Jenkins, 1933); audiobook read by Jonathan Cecil (Chivers, 2011) The stories in this collection read somewhat like unused subplots from Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle and Jeeves & Wooster novels, but in their upgraded state fairly dazzle with insouciance. Wodehouse riffs masterfully on his favourite topic (thwarted engagements), his prose wild and expressive.    

Blandings, Series 1

Blandings, Series 1 adapted by Guy Andrews (BBC, 2013) Series One of Blandings, although adapted rather loosely from the P. G. Wodehouse books (and lacking their most memorable character, Gally Threepwood), nevertheless manages to conjure up a merriment not out of keeping with its source material. Well cast, fast-moving and frivolous.    

Galahad at Blandings

Galahad at Blandings by P. G. Wodehouse (Simon & Schuster, 1964); audiobook read by Jeremy Sinden (Chivers, 1993; 2011) In Galahad Threepwood surely we have the nascent (if more genteel) template for Dirk Gently, and in the comings and goings at Blandings Castle that of Douglas Adams’ much-vaunted fundamental interconnectedness of everything. This is Wodehouse at his fabulous, gab-gifted, exquisite…

Pigs Have Wings

Pigs Have Wings by P. G. Wodehouse (Doubleday, 1952); audiobook read by Jeremy Sinden (AudioGO, 1994) The era of Blandings Castle may be well and truly bygone, the language with which Wodehouse describes it may not endear modern writers to their prospective publishers, yet Wodehouse’s charm is undeniable and his weaving together of plot strands constitutes a masterclass.    

Leave it to Psmith

Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse (Herbert Jenkins, 1923) Wodehouse set his stories in the dreamy, self-satirising world of betwixt-wars upper-crust England; yet it is perhaps the hint of modernity — in this instance the irreverent Psmith, unrepentantly shrugging off mores — that brings mirth beyond even the situational comedy so drolly related.