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