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Wodehouse Playhouse, Series 1

23 customer reviews

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Product Description

Sir Pelham Grenville (best known as P. G.) Wodehouse created two timeless literary characters- an engaging upper-class twit named Bertie Wooster and his unflappable valet, Jeeves. He also wrote numerous short stories in an inimitable droll style that is nicely captured in this collection of seven from the top drawer. Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine and Upstairs, Downstairs) and John Alderton (No, Honestly) demonstrate their versatility as comic actors in adaptations so true to the originals that Wodehouse himself was delighted when he saw them. 10-1/2 hours on 2 DVDs. Simon Says: P. Wodehouse on marriage (and quite possibly our dear, thick Bertie): "All unhappy marriages come from the husbands having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him."

P.G. Wodehouse himself introduces each episode of Wodehouse Playhouse; a ringing endorsement, eh, what? This much-loved 1975 series, a sparkling jewel in the BBC crown, brings to the screen several of Wodehouse's most delightful stories and eccentric characters, as embodied by John Alderton and Pauline Collins, the real-life couple perhaps best known stateside for their endearing series No, Honestly, as well as their stints on Upstairs, Downstairs. Sadly, Jeeves and Wooster are absent in these tales, but the daft Mulliner family is here, in "The Truth About George," "Romance at Droitgate Spa," "Portrait of a Disciplinarian," "Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court," and "A Voice from the Past." "Rodney Fails to Qualify," one of Wodehouse's famed golf stories, is anything but par for the course, as a clueless young man almost loses his beloved golfing partner to a poet. Only the Hollywood tale "The Rise of Minna Nordstrom" is a bit of a letdown, but is redeemed by Collins's considerable charms. This series is faithful to Wodehouse's gentle humor and his nimble use of language ("Dogface, my demon lover, you did not endear yourself," rebukes one woman to her companion in one story). For his devoted readers, or better, for those yet to have the pleasure of his literary company, Wodehouse Playhouse is jolly good! --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Stories: The Truth About George, Romance at Droitgate Spa, Portrait of a Disciplinarian, Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court, The Rise of Minna Nordstrom, Rodney Fails to Qualify, A Voice from the Past
  • P.G. Wodehouse biography

Product Details

  • Actors: John Alderton, Graham Armitage, Pauline Collins, Mark Dignam, Leslie Dwyer
  • Directors: David Askey
  • Writers: David Climie, P.G. Wodehouse
  • Producers: David Askey
  • Format: Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1569385939
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,495 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wodehouse Playhouse, Series 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Book Reviewer on March 2, 2003
Format: DVD
I have been waiting 25 years for this classic BBC series! From the moment I saw the first episode, "Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court", I was hooked on the series. (Witnessing two verse-spouting, chiffon-swirling poets forced to share an estate with blood-thirsty Sir Francis was hilarious. When he snarls 'Ever shot a Gnu?' at the poetess, she squeaks 'I have never even spoken harshly to one.') In every skit, Pauline Collins and John Alderton possess a comic timing so brilliant a Swiss watch would be envious! And I'm not the only one who appreciates them. Friends of mine (who firmly believe the Lord created Sunday for golfing) were in stitches over "Rodney Fails to Qualify". Another friend watching 'The Truth About George' (as Alderton, 'stammering like a soda-water syphon' tries to propose to Pauline, the parson's crossword addicted daughter) said afterwards her sides hurt from laughing. Rent, buy or borrow this series at once! Not only will it give you the most hilarious 210 minutes of laughter you've had in a long while, it will also induce the distributor of this awesome series to deliver the rest of the Wodehouse Playhouse skits. Enjoy!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By GEORGE RANNIE on February 12, 2003
Format: DVD
At last these wonderful televised Wodehouse stories are comercially available!!--I also watched them in the 80s falling on the floor and completely out of breath from laughter. They are the funniest story adaptions that have ever been done!
I truly believe there is nothing that has ever been shown that is as funny as the "Portrait of a Disciplinarian" I was able to tape that episode in the 80s and I have subsequently viewed it about every month since that time. Upon each viewing I'm in a heap on the floor from laughter. (I've viewed "Portrait" so many times that I almost know every line verbatim, and it is still very funny to see) Another hysterical episode is "Bludeigh Court" (John Alderton is a scream in that one).
Pauline Collins has to be, next to Maggie Smith and Prunella Scales, the funniest actress that has ever been. She is just wonderful in all of these Wodehouse series. Why she isn't a "household name" I will never know!
Trust me, you will love this DVD presentation; however, please let me warn you to be prepared to call the Paramedics if you are prone to "lose your breath" from gails of laughter--you will need them!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Williamson VINE VOICE on March 9, 2003
Format: DVD
Blessings upon the heads of those at Acorn Media! At last I can retire some of the VHS tapes on which I taped these off the air back in the mid-80s. These episodes constitute some of the funniest half hours ever televised, and "The Truth About George" never fails to leave me breathless with laughter, even after multiple viewings. To have these at last on pristine DVDs is a rare treat indeed, and I can't wait for Acorn to release the remainder of the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on February 13, 2003
Format: DVD
You all know how hysterically funny the Bertie Wooster/Jeeves stores are, both on the page and on the screen. Well, P.G. Wodehouse wrote about many other characters, notably the Mulliner Family, from which series several of the episodes on "Wodehouse Playhouse" have been drawn. If you remember the feisty Sarah the maid and the amorous ambitious chauffeur Thomas in the "Upstairs, Downstairs" series, you will recall with what chemistry Pauline Collins and John Alderton played those roles. In this series, they play a different role in each half-hour episode, sometimes with Alderton as the Mulliner, sometimes Collins, now and then neither.

Series One is now available, holding on its two DVDs (AMP 5939) seven very funny tales, six of which are about goofy Englishmen and women living up to what Americans expect of them. For example, in "Portrait of a Disciplinarian," Reggie Mulliner and his ex-fiancee meet at their former Nanny's and are treated as before, as children to be punished. But what else would we expect of a British Nanny? The Hollywood spoof "The Rise of Minna Nordstrom" does not quite fulfill its potential, but the "The Truth About George" certainly does. But even in its weakest moments (and there are not many of those), this series is still funnier than anything else visible on American prime time. So grab up this one and look for the other series as soon as they are available.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Irreverent on June 27, 2003
Format: DVD
These episodes are superbly produced, directed, costumed, and especially acted. The stars are a married pair of fine British comic thespians, who were also outstanding in their seriocomic roles in "Upstairs, Downstairs." Supporting casts are uniformly superb.
I found Wodehouse's intros priceless. Even as a nonagenarian, he was worth almost the price of the whole set -- so droll, so amused with appreciation of human folly, so skilled at a twinkly-eyed but not unduly harsh presentation of foibles. Every word he said was both easy (for me) to understand and well worth hearing. How marvelous to have this personal record of a great humorist! I only wish we had seen more of him. What I wouldn't give to see Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen or several others similarly introduce performances of their works!
This set is also a great bargain. Perhaps the sound and picture are not up to today's standards, but they did not distract from my enjoyment in the least. The "Jeeves and Wooster" set is indeed better Wodehouse than this set, only because J&W is perfect while this one is merely close to perfect, but both are worth at least five stars to this picky reviewer. Anyone who does not like Wodehouse and his marvelously framed understated absurdities deserves to spend eternity watching Hollywood potboilers and US sitcoms.
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