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13 January ‘13

TV Critics: Blandings; World Without End; Great Night Out; Britain’s Brightest

“It is hard to critique Blandings, so faithfully does it capture the mood and much of the dialogue of the Master.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Blandings (BBC1)

“How refreshing that last night BBC One deferred to cleverness in the time-honoured way by adapting P.G. Wodehouse’s stories about aristocratic stupidity. It is hard to critique Blandings, so faithfully does it capture the mood and much of the dialogue of the Master. Adaptor Guy Andrews has read the stories intelligently…Top-hole.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“A jolly new series based on the Blandings Castle stories of PG Wodehouse. Pick of the performances is Jack Fathing’s, as Freddie, Lord Emsworth’s – Clarence’s- ass of a son. A charming ass, mind. I don’t quite believe Timothy Spall as Clarence, but this is probably more to do with association that performance. Bumbling, befuddled, sure. But I’m not convinced Spall should be a toff, should he?”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

World Without End (Channel 4)

“It’s both preposterous and fabulous: a giant medieval (or faux medieval) cauldron into which everything and anything has been thrown…A whole range of accents, some dodgy lines (“You used to adore my fig pie,” Petronella tells Sir Roland, with whom she used to have a thing). There are heaving breasts and perving monks, it’s pornographic heavy metal, or prog rock, gothic of course, with a touch of Blade Runner, but in the past…I laughed, and cheered, sometimes at the same time. Hang them all!”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“I couldn’t entirely work out what was going on in the first half and just couldn’t bring myself to watch the second for clarification. But Miranda from Sex and the City is poisoning people with mushrooms for some reason and Charlotte Riley is making cow eyes at a dispossessed local squire called Methin. …If you like swords and beards and chain mail, try Game of Thrones instead.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“It’s likeable enough, I guess, but its comic situations are dependent on an effortful gormlessness on the part of those involved and quite a lot of indulgence from the viewer. The misadventure concerning a drunken bridegroom at the hotel where they were having the anniversary was a little too predictable to be hilarious, and the sexual politics of the thing feels either tired or psychologically unconvincing…A passable night in, anyway.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

Britain’s Brightest (BBC1)

“The mood-misjudged pre-films were not the only design error to suggest the creators of Britain’s Brightest were not as clever as their participants. If you are hailing the intelligence of ordinary folk, why confuse the issue by including celebrities in one of the tests?…Much as one would like to see a show that celebrates the life of the mind to triumph over its witless rival, for all but Puzzle Magazine subscribers the celebrity diving magazine is the better watch.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

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