Blandings – Throwing Eggs Review

So it’s around that time of year when scores of last year’s comedy successes begin to return to our screens. Not only does that mean the return of Pramface and the elusive Jonathan Creek but means we see Blandings return, a series based on the works of the great PG Woodehouse.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Blandings is a delightfully light-hearted comedy drama, set at Blandings Castle, the home to Lord Clarence Emsworth (Peter Pettigrew himself Timothy Spall) and his irritable sister Connie (what’s her name, oh yeah Jennifer Saunders). They are constantly visited by Clarence’s son Freddie (the great yet so far unrecognised Jack Farthing) and waited on by their butler Beach (Tim Vine taking over from Mr Weasley, sorry Mark Williams).

Picture1Series two jumps straight back into the action with Harry Enfield guest starring as the Duke of Dunstable, an old, grumpy, grouchy, shouty man visiting Clarence and bringing his niece with him as (*cliché alert*) he doesn’t approve of who she wants to marry. Harry Enfield completely steals the show for this episode. His character is hilarious and oddly likeable. If only Downton Abby were like this!

Tim Vine however doesn’t add much to the show. Admittedly he is inheriting a bland, boring character but you would think a comedy legend such as he could spin a few laughs out of the character.

Picture2The story line for the first episode is average with none other than Matthew Baynton popping up in the middle. I think it makes for a great start for the second series and is certainly better than some of the mediocre episodes in series one.

So that’s my verdict for the first episode. Let us home a great new series is to follow!

Blandings

Last night was the last episode of a Six-Part BBC Series, Blandings. It stars Timothy Spall as clueless earl and owner of a massive castle and indeed massive pig; Clarence Threepwood.

He lives in Blandings castle with his controlling sister Lady Constance (Jenifer Saunders) and Butler Sebastian Beach (Mark Williams). He also has a, shall I say, rather odd son Frederick (Jack Farthing) who is constantly visiting, mainly looking for money to repay his gambling debts. The series revolves around this set-up.

Blandings

Although this was quite a light-hearted historical drama I’m afraid it did get a bit repetitive at times. There are only so-many nieces a man can have and all of Clarence’s seemed to spend their time just sitting about sorry for themselves about not being able to marry whom they choose (bloody hell just marry him). Two of the six episodes revolved around Clarence trying to rid the castle of Baxter, a personal assistant hired for him by his sister (although marvellously played by David Walliams).

Jack Farthing, someone I’d never seen, heard sbout or cared about before this show gave a great performance. I really don’t know whether his painfully annoying posh accent was real or put-on!

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Alice in Wonderland (the film)

Dalice-in-wonderlanduring the festive season (Merry Christmas by the way) I have been taking advantage of the epicness of Christmas television. A whole variety of films have been on including Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Quite an intriguing movie, sort of a combination between Middle Earth, Narnia and Horton hears a who. It stars many familiar figures such as Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter), Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter), Alan Rickman (Snape in Harry Potter) Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter) and Stephen Fry (who narrates the Harry Potter audio books). The film is set 19 years after Alice visits Wonderland where she has convinced herself that the whole experience was a dream. So much so that when she again falls down a rabbit hole into a mystical land she believes she is dreaming.

She finds Wonderland a changed place in the grips of the Red Queen. The surviving inhabitants have had to flock together, trying to find the one person who can rid them of this evil (and so creature called a Jabiwoki). Director Tim Burton has a history of taking nice little children’s stories and darkening them to the point that they are nearly ruined (Charlie and the chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach). This film was no exception. Burton has managed to create a world of disarray and avid rulers out of a simple children’s story. But there’s nothing wrong with that is there?

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So Alice wanders around Wonderland talking to rabid rabbits, talking Caterpillars and a dog. She also meets the famed ‘Mad Hatter’, someone who I believe was given far too much screen time (however I suppose when you pay for Johnny Depp you have to over-use him). To pad the film out a bit, Burton has Alice sneak into the deadly Red Queen’s castle to get some silly sword that she needs (although I would have thought any sword would do). Then she runs off The Red Queen’s sister – The White Queen (is it possible to wear any more white makeup than that women does?)

At the end of the film there is a minor battle on a chessboard where Alice kills the Jaberwok-thing and The Mad Hatter gets someone on the floor and foolishly doesn’t kill them.

Tim-Burton-s-Alice-In-Wonderland-alice-in-wonderland-2010-13677684-1360-768Not a very good, convincing or well-thought-through storyline, made worse by my own terrible summery of it. However this film has a little something that really makes you want to keep watching it. Maybe it is the dystopian feel of Wonderland, maybe the characters or maybe the creepy atmosphere surrounding the story.

The best performance in the film was that of the Red Queen – played by Bellatrix Lestrange Helena Bonham Carter. If anyone said that she got the part because she’s Tim Burton’s wife then they are lying. She was amazing (you know she plays mad people so convincingly that maybe this is suggesting something).

All in all; intriguing but, nope just intriguing.