By Carolyn Kellogg
10:37 AM PST, January 2, 2013
It's not Jeeves and Wooster, but BBC1 is hoping another classic comedy by P.G. Wodehouse will make for a just as successful television hit. In January, British television watchers will get to see "Blandings," starring Timothy Spall and "Absolutely Fabulous'" Jennifer Saunders.
The series is based on Wodehouse's stories about Lord Emsworth, owner of Blandings castle, and his beloved pig, the Empress of Blandings. Lord Emsworth wants peace and quiet; the people around him often get in the way.
Wodehouse published his first story set at Blandings castle in 1915, titled "Something Fresh" (alternately, "Something New"). The author, who lived to be 93, continued to write about the fictional Blandings crew for another 60 years: "A Pelican at Blandings," also known as "No Nudes Is Good Nudes," came out in 1969. The last Blandings book was left unfinished by Wodehouse and published posthumously: "Sunset at Blandings" appeared in 1977.
The television series will focus on Blandings circa 1929 -- picking up very close to where Downton Abbey has left off. The Guardian writes, "As the impeccably mannered stars of Downton begin to lose their allure, those in search of an aristocratic fix may find themselves turning to the comic and oversized figure of Lord Emsworth, one of the greatest humorous creations of novelist P.G. Wodehouse."
Wodehouse's Jeeves stories were tremendously popular on British television, due in no small part to the charismatic leads, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Americans who know Laurie as the dour Dr. House may find it hard to recognize him as Wodehouse's daffy aristocrat, Bernie Wooster.
"Blandings" Begins its run in England later this month as a six-part series. When American viewers will get a chance to see the latest Wodehouse screen adaptation has not yet been announced.
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