BBC One commissions new comedy series based on P.G.Wodehouse’s Blandings

Productions February 2, 2011

Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One and Cheryl Taylor, Controller, Comedy Commissioning have commissioned Mammoth Screen to produce BLANDINGS, a new comedy series based on the celebrated stories by PG Wodehouse, hailed as one of the greatest comic writers in the English language. BLANDINGS will star Timothy Spall as the amiable and befuddled Lord Emsworth (Clarence to his friends), with Jennifer Saunders as his indomitable sister Connie.

The six self contained half hour episodes are written by Guy Andrews (LOST IN AUSTEN, ABSOLUTE POWER) who is also exec producing. Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One: ‘PG Wodehouse was a comic master, and we are very excited about bringing his stories to life for a new generation of television viewers. I’m sure that the equally brilliant Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders will do justice to Wodehouse’s work, and I hope Lord Emsworth can put up with all the noise of the production.’

Guy Andrews describes the series thus:

‘Blandings Castle is dysfunction junction, the home of a chaotic family struggling to keep itself in order. Clarence Emsworth, ninth earl and master of Blandings Castle, yearns with all his soul to be left in peace; preferably in the company of his beloved pig, The Empress. But he never is. There is always someone who wants him to Do Something. Presiding over the blitzkrieg on his equilibrium is the baleful figure of his sister Connie, with whom he shares the house; at her shoulder is Clarence’s brainless younger son Freddie and a panoply of friends, enemies, servants, spongers, private detectives, bookies and confidence tricksters. Only Beach, his loyal and long-suffering butler, provides consolation. Storm-battered Clarence, somehow never vanquished, occasionally makes everything right through an inspired or accidental intervention. For any writer, it is the rarest privilege imaginable to have Wodehouse legitimately available as source material. Instead of just stealing from him as we usuallydo.’

MWodehouse wrote the first Blandings story in 1915. Fourteen dedicated novels and five collections of short stories later, he died in 1978, leaving SUNSET AT BLANDINGS unfinished. The series is set 1929, and will be filmed on location in Northern Ireland with the support of Northern Ireland Screen. Timothy Spall is one of Britain�s most celebrated and renowned actors, with recent credits including Wormtail in the HARRY POTTER films and Winston Churchill in the multi award winning The KING’S SPEECH.

Jennifer Saunders is one of the UK�s best loved comedic actors. Famous as the creator and star of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, recent credits include JAM AND JERUSALEM and A BUCKET O’ FRENCH AND SAUNDERS. She has won numerous awards for her writing and her acting, including two BAFTAs and an Emmy.

The Producer is Spencer Campbell (COLD FEET, MAD DOGS) and the Director is Paul Seed (Bafta winning JUST WILLIAM). Mammoth Screen�s joint Managing Directors Michele Buck and Damien Timmer are Executive Producers as is writer Guy Andrews. BBC exec is Kristian Smith.

In a joint statement, Buck and Timmer said: “Working with Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders to bring one of PG Wodehouse’s best loved worlds to life is an absolute privilege. We’re thrilled to be making a comedy series for BBC One, and delighted that Guy Andrews scripts have brought such a talented team together’.

For more information please contact: Sallie Ryle, Communications Consultant, Mammoth Screen Ltd. sallie@mammothscreen.com Tel: 020 7268 0050 Mob: 07768 476 930