Mark Williams (II)

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RTS Craft & Design Awards 2018 winners

The winners of the the 2018 RTS Craft & Design Awards have been announced.

Royal Television Society, 27th November 2018

Radio Times review

Much like Granville's sandwiches, the jokes are definitely past their sell-by date, but viewers don't seem to mind in the slightest that the laughs come from men wearing dresses or libidinous pensioners. Six million watched this revisit of Roy Clarke's 1970s sitcom on a Sunday night recently, more than saw Foyle's War or Last Tango in Halifax.

Arkwright's latest scheme is inspired by a visit from a travelling salesman (Mark Williams), who's flogging a soothing linctus "that also cleans your brass and silver". It makes the canny grocer realise that he needs a gimmick if he's to shift the batch of Old Mother Hemlock's Ancient Remedies he's bought.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 18th January 2015

BBC Two took the opportunity to celebrate another anniversary, twenty years of The Fast Show, by airing the sketches that the team produced for the Fosters' website a couple of years ago. The Fast Show Special aired an hours' worth of sketches in two thirty minute instalments and as ever there were some hits and misses. It's always a joy to see Ted and Ralph and their conversations about Twitter and Facebook were priceless. Similarly seeing John Actor's Monkfish being the butler on a Downton Abbey-style show was brilliantly accurate. In fact the best sketches involved the characters attempting to deal with modern day situations whether it was Ron Manager's struggles with his new chair or Billy Bleach's thoughts on smart phones. Less successful was Bob Fleming's take on The Trip and the Jazz Club segments which appeared to go on forever. I personally felt the highlights were the return of Caroline Aherne, who hadn't been part of the later series of the show, and even hearing her say 'Scorchio!' brought a smile to my face. Seeing the characters of Janice the schoolgirl and Roy and Renee after a long time away was perfect especially the fact that the former had now started an online relationship with a convict. Conspicuous by his absence this time around was Mark Williams who is obviously too busy filming BBC One's daytime output to participate in a new 'Suit's You' segment. The major problem for regular fans of The Fast Show is that they will already have seen these sketches almost three years ago and the fact that the BBC was presenting them as new programmes was a bit misleading. But, just like with Harry and Paul's Story of the 2s, it was great to see the ensemble do what they're best at and if I did have an iPhone I know I'd be downloading the Cheesy Peas app straight away.

The Custard TV, 1st June 2014

Radio Times review

The first series of these adaptations of PG Wodehouse stories came in for a good kicking from some quarters, which seemed out of proportion considering they were enjoyable bits of candy floss and hardly Broadchurch. But viewers liked them, so here's a second helping, with Timothy Spall once again starring as pin-brained, pig-obsessed toff Lord Emsworth and Jennifer Saunders as his battleaxe of a sister, Connie.

Tim Vine, much missed after his departure from Not Going Out, takes over from Mark Williams as Beach, the clever butler. Harry Enfield guests in the first episode as the claret-nosed Duke of Dunstable, an appalling old buffer with an inexplicable antipathy towards whistling Scotsmen.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 16th February 2014

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

Blandings is a new comedy series adapted from a collection of novels by P.G. Wodehouse, but it's already attracted a wide range of criticism. Much of the vitriol targets the show's family-friendly, 6.30pm slot on a Sunday evening, but there's also criticism from die-hard Wodehouse fans who believe that any adaptation of his work is sacrilege. Hey ho.

The series follows the residents of Blandings Castle; Clarence (Timothy Spall), who just wants a quiet life - and to spend time with his beloved pig, the Empress; his sister Connie (Jennifer Saunders), who constantly interfering with other people's business; and Clarence's loyal butler Beach (Mark Williams) - all of whom are pestered by visits from Clarence's idiotic son Freddie (Jack Farthing). In the opening episode, Clarence tries to enter the Empress into a fattest-pig contest, but his pig man is put in jail by his main rival.

The first thing that came to me when watching Blandings is that Spall can play a toff better than I thought. His performance as Clarence was great, as is his delivery of Wodehouse's lines, like when he demonstrates how persuasive his late wife was: "She once put forth such a forceful case for beetroot I actually put some in my mouth."

I was a bit annoyed by the gimmicky use of comic sound effects, whether it be with Freddie's terrible driving or Connie's stormy demands. You can try to ignore it, but it gets a bit tedious after a while.

On the whole though, Blandings is an entertaining half-hour and a decent way to pass the time - although I still expect a few comments from fans trying to push his books into my hands.

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 21st January 2013

A pig eating cake was the most amusing thing about BBC1's Sunday teatime comedy Blandings, which can't have been the intention of PG Wodehouse, whose tales of upper-class twittery inspired this waste of half an hour. Timothy Spall gave good drawl as eccentric Lord Emsworth and Mark Williams was as solid as you'd expect as the long-suffering butler; but civilisation has come too far to put trouserless yokels cavorting on a table in the hope of laughter.

Phil Hogan, The Observer, 20th January 2013

Blandings is based in part on the rather funny PG Wodehouse novels and stars Jennifer Saunders, Mark Williams and Timothy Spall. Now, the books themselves aren't exactly hard-hitting bits of realism, but there's nothing worse than a comedy in which everyone involved (with the exception of the above-mentioned) is grinning and acting like idiots because they know the whole thing is silly. So I gave up after 10 minutes. Absolutely horrendous and twee.

Rob Buckley, The Medium Is Not Enough, 18th January 2013