Cast announced for new PG Wodehouse comedy Blandings
The cast list for Blandings, the new comedy series based on the celebrated stories created by PG Wodehouse, is now public.
The six-part BBC One series was first announced in February, when it was revealed Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders would take on the lead roles of the amiable and befuddled Lord Emsworth and his indomitable sister Connie.
With the episodes now being filmed on location in at Crom Castle in Northern Ireland, more details on the cast have emerged...
Fast Show and Harry Potter star Mark Williams has been cast as Beach, the long-suffering loyal butler to Lord Emsworth; whilst the role of Lord Emsworth's financially irresponsible son Freddie has been given to Jack Farthing, a relatively new actor whose only previous TV work is a guest spot in BBC Three sitcom Pramface.
Olivier Award winner David Bamber (Chalk, Psychoville) will also appear in the series, playing Clarence's dance teacher Herr Schnellhund.
Tony Maudsley (Kenneth in Benidorm) has been signed up to play Cyril Wellbeloved - the character who looks after Lord Emsworth's beloved pig, The Empress; whilst Sam Hoare (Doctors, Jane Eyre) plays 'Beefy' Bingham, a man who dreams of marrying Connie's daughter Gertrude.
Little Britain star David Walliams will guest star in two episodes of Blandings as Clarence's new secretary, Rupert Baxter. Singer Paloma Faith has also been given a role in the series - she will play dancer Georgia, who causes a stir when she accompanies Freddie to castle.
PG Wodehouse wrote the first Blandings story in 1915. Fourteen dedicated novels and five collections of short stories later, he died in 1975, leaving Sunset At Blandings unfinished. The TV series, adapted by Guy Andrews, is set in 1929 and follows the family as it struggles to keep itself in order.
Andrews describes the series setting as follows: "Blandings Castle is dysfunction junction, the home of a chaotic family struggling to keep itself in order. Clarence Emsworth, ninth earl and master of Blandings Castle, yearns with all his soul to be left in peace; preferably in the company of his beloved pig, The Empress. But he never is. There is always someone who wants him to 'do something'."
"Presiding over the blitzkrieg on his equilibrium is the baleful figure of his sister Connie, with whom he shares the house; at her shoulder is Clarence's brainless younger son Freddie and a panoply of friends, enemies, servants, spongers, private detectives, bookies and confidence tricksters. Only Beach, his loyal and long-suffering butler, provides consolation. Storm-battered Clarence, somehow never vanquished, occasionally makes everything right through an inspired or accidental intervention. For any writer, it is the rarest privilege imaginable to have Wodehouse legitimately available as source material. Instead of just stealing from him as we usually do."
BBC One controller Danny Cohen says: "PG Wodehouse was a comic master, and we are very excited about bringing his stories to life for a new generation of television viewers. I'm sure that the equally brilliant Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders will do justice to Wodehouse's work, and I hope Lord Emsworth can put up with all the noise of the production.'
Blandings is set to be broadcast in the autumn.
BBC One has announced the commission of a third series of Count Arthur Strong. The seven new episodes will be on TV in 2016.
Ben Miller is to star in Horrible Science, a new children's comedy-entertainment series for CITV based on the popular books from Scholastic.
Isy Suttie will host Series 4 of radio showcase Sketchorama, with a line-up including The Penny Dreadfuls, Frisky & Mannish, Hennessy & Friends, and Gein's Family Giftshop.
Catherine Tate is to return as her foul-mouthed OAP character Nan. She is set to record two specials for BBC television next month.
Tim Key, Reece Shearsmith, Rufus Jones and Sharon Rooney are amongst the comic actors joining Jim Howick as BBC Two's Stag begins filming.
Historian Graham McCann has revealed his discovery of an aborted Morecambe & Wise sitcom pilot, written by Still Open All Hours creator Roy Clarke.
Omid Djalili discusses his acclaimed war documentary, plus Oliver Reed, tricky Joe Orton plays, bad TV recordings... Read
BBC Radio Comedy has announced the appointment of two new Contract Writers, Sarah Campbell and Liam Beirne. Read
A 15-strong collective of comedians are hoping to raise more than laughs when they tackle Hadrian's Wall. Read
An interview with double act Rob Gotobed and Tony Knight. They provide lots of punchline filled answers. Read
Laura Marks, the producer and director behind the BBC's Room To Write video sketches, shares some advice: Read
The Frog and Bucket club has celebrated its 21st birthday with a blue plaque for those that 'died' on its stage. Read
John Moloney introduces his new Radio 4 series and talks about how the comedy circuit is different nowadays. Read