This series based on the PG Wodehouse stories rolls to a close with house guest 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 straight forward 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.Rachel Aroesti, Time Out, 17th February 2013
The casting may be more eccentric than the storylines but there's a jolliness to these adaptations by Guy Andrews, from the stories of PG Wodehouse. Tonight's concluding tale sees the household at Blandings Castle take drastic action when befuddled Lord Emsworth (Timothy Spall) falls under the spell of a gold-digging marchioness (Jessica Hynes). Meanwhile, dipsomaniac heir Freddie (Jack Farthing) has sworn off women altogether - until he meets the Amazonian beauty drafted in to de-gas the Empress.The Telegraph, 15th February 2013
Singer Paloma Faith guest-stars as Georgia, a grating cockney showgirl brought to Blandings by cockscomb-haired idiot Freddie. Georgia takes an instant shine to clenched butler Beach, who's terrified.
Guy Andrews's adaptations of PG Wodehouse's stories have come in for flak from some viewers for being empty piffle, shorn of Wodehouse's wit. They have a point, and it's hard to see who the stories are aimed at. Still, Blandings fills a need for a bit of nonsense on a Sunday afternoon, where it's won audiences of more than five million. So there are many people who will doubtless enjoy David Walliams's return as fussy secretary Baxter.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 3rd February 2013
Mistaken identity. Funny foreigners. Sham marriages. Poorly domesticated animals. Class consciousness. Lashings of slapstick. To watch Blandings is to realise that PG Wodehouse's knockabout tales, for better or worse, enshrined many of the rules for the British TV sitcom. And Guy Andrews's light comedy proves a perfectly charming diversion, bowled along by fine performances (Timothy Spall is superb as the perpetually bamboozled Clarence) and the potential for farce offered by the amorous entanglements of callow young Freddie and Gertrude, this week romancing a Portuguese dancer and oafish Reverend 'Beefy' Bingham respectively. Sometimes one does yearn for a character with an IQ over ten (Mark Williams's wry butler is a little too enigmatic to count), and it's undeniably slight, but it's carried off with real charm and craft.Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 27th January 2013
Beefy Popjoy, Herr Schnellhund, Paquita Manganara: the characters in Guy Andrews's adaptations of PG Wodehouse's stories have such gloriously ludicrous names you can't help but smile. This week a German dance teacher (David Bamber) is drafted in to help Lord Emsworth with his footwork while the sublimely foolish Freddie has managed to marry a girl who speaks no English. He met her in a club "dancing around in a girdle of soft fruit" so he's trying to keep this from his formidable Aunt Connie in case "she soars over my cranium and feasts on my brains". "A meagre luncheon that will be" is Emsworth's cutting response.Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 27th January 2013
How, you wonder, as you watch yet another masterclass in Great British Overacting, was this ever allowed to happen? It's not Guy Andrews' fault that books whose genius lies in their tone lose 90 per cent of that genius when you reduce them only to dialogue.Rachel Cooke, The New Statesman, 24th January 2013
He starts by re-classifying his boss's marbles collection. "I promise you, I will regularise your brother," he announces before attacking the hapless Emsworth's paperwork with terrifying zeal. It's another sweetly funny episode in Guy Andrews's adaptations of the PG Wodehouse stories. Just think of it as The Idiot Downton Abbey, where absurd toffs get into muddles, usually with pigs and women.
Emsworth's impecunious rooster-haired buffoon of a son, Freddie (smashing Jack Farthing), has once again lost his allowance, this time in a doomed wager with fellow Drones Club member Catsmeat Potter Pirbright. After eating dog biscuits to impress a girl, Freddie decides to make his fortune selling canine nibbles. Biffing!Alison Graham, Radio Times, 20th January 2013
The last time PG Wodehouse was a hit on the small screen was a good couple of decades back when Fry and Laurie slipped into the apparel of Jeeves and Wooster. Bally good fun it was too. Since then, the frightful cads and dishy heiresses of Wodehouse's world have had to carry on flapping in print. Here, however, comes Blandings, adapted from Wodehouse's series of rural capers set in prelapsarian Shropshire.
Rather than lavish oodles of budget on a spiffing primetime rival to Downton, the BBC have sensibly positioned Blandings as a Sunday early evening entertainment for all the family. From the moment the Empress, Lord Emsworth's prizewinningly sizeable pig, unleashes her first flatulent fanfare, the scheduling looks (and sounds) vindicated. Cast as his Lordship is Timothy Spall, suggesting just a whiff of the maxim that all pigs look like their owners. As Connie, his termagant of a sister, Jennifer Saunders often threatens to harrumph off to her room if she doesn't get her way. Deprived of the jaunty, silken music of Wodehouse's prose, we are yet to find out why this dire warning is quite such a bad thing.
With Lost in Austen, Guy Andrews has already proved a dab hand at paying tribute to much loved literature while luring it towards the present day. Sometimes here he meddles a little too assertively. When Freddy Emsworth (Jack Farthing) was busy getting the Old Bill drunk in order to break ex-cowboy Jimmy (James Norton) out of jug, pleasing strains of rag and Charleston made way for anachronistic boogie-woogie. Meanwhile some jokes are going to sail over the heads of a younger audience. Freddy alluded - a touch too louchely for teatime - to the Pink Pussy Club. And nowadays not everyone is going to laugh at this one: "Harrow? Yes I guessed he'd known corruption in his youth." But it's fun and doesn't think the world of itself.Jasper Rees, The Arts Desk, 14th January 2013