Blandings

An all-star cast heads up BBC One’s brand new period comedy series, based on PG Wodehouse’s celebrated stories

Interview with Jennifer Saunders

What appealed to you about Blandings?

Guy Andrews' scripts were laugh-out-loud funny. That's very rare these days. I'd sit in bed and just chortle. It was such a treat to be sent them.

Have you always liked PG Wodehouse?

Yes, I'm a huge Wodehouse fan. He writes proper jokes. They are crafted in an extremely funny way, which I know is so hard to do. From his descriptions you can see immediately that it's funny.

Please outline your character Connie to us.

Connie is the sister of Clarence, Lord Emsworth. She is a frustrated battle-axe. She is frustrated because she's not quite a battle-axe, but would like to be more of one. She is also a frustrated romantic.

Tell us more.

When she is alone, she can be fun. She sits there, eating Turkish Delight, wrapped in an exotic shawl and is transported to her own special world. She imagines she is travelling around the Middle East. She has all these romantic ideas. But then, sadly reality hits, and she remembers she had to sort out the staff or her niece’s marriage. She has to do everything herself – Clarence doesn't even know the nieces’ names!

How has she ended up at Blandings?

Her husband has died, so she's having to live with her brother and his ridiculous son Freddie. Because of primogeniture, Clarence has all the money and power, but she is so much more capable. She is constantly explaining stuff to him, but it never goes in. If he would only listen to what she says, she would be happy. But unfortunately he's a total shambles. That makes for great comedy.

Have you enjoyed working with Timothy Spall?

Absolutely. I've adored doing scenes with him. He is fantastic. You learn a lot from performing opposite him. He's a great actor and is always very professional. He has so many lines, and yet I've never seen him not know one!

Why you think Blandings will strike a chord with a modern audience?

Its pure escapism and people love pure escapism, especially in the current economic climate. It's a lovely comic world for viewers to lose themselves in.

Are we also drawn to these very off-the-wall characters?

Definitely. The family at the heart of Blandings represent an old view of England. Even in their era, they were out of date. They’re pure eccentrics and wonderful comic figures.

Do think there is enough mileage in Blandings for another series?

Oh, yes. I read a lot of Blandings as a teenager, and there is a phenomenal amount of material. What Guy Andrews has done very cleverly is make a sitcom out of lots of diverse books. He's brought characters together from different novels and managed to collate them all in this show. There is definitely enough material for more series. This one could run and run!