Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Gentleman's Gentleman

One of my favorite book series is by P.G. Wodehouse and concerns the shenanigans of Bertram, or Bertie to his nearest and dearest, Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. The premise of the stories is that Bertie gets into trouble, and Jeeves calmly and masterfully gets him out of it.

Jeeves and Wooster

Bertie belongs to England's upper crust and is very well-to-do. He has a few Aunts who are forceful in nature, he doesn't have a job, and he treasures his bachelorhood. One of the many quirky charms of this series is the names of all of Bertie's friends and acquaintances. Take for example Stilton Cheesewright, Gussie Fink-Nottle and Boko Fittleworth. Wonderment.

Set during the 1930s, the books take place in Bertie's luxurious London flat, his relatives' country manors, and other stately homes across the English countryside. There are also times when Bertie has to flee to the United States to escape his imperious Aunt Agatha Gregson. While in America, he continues to live a life of leisure, although he manages to get into sticky situations there as well.

I also enjoy watching the television adaptation "Jeeves and Wooster", starring Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. The acting, costumes, and scenery are top-notch and bring Wodehouse's stories to life.

Hugh Laurie

Stephen Fry

Familiar faces from British television pop up as supporting players. They include Martin Clunes as Barmy Fotheringay Phipps, Pip Torrens as Bingo Little, and Amanda Elwes as Angela Travers. I remember Clunes from the Doctor Who episode "Snakedance" and of course his starring role in Doc Martin.

Martin Clunes

Torrens was in the 1984 movie Oxford Blues along with Cary Elwes, whose cousin happens to be Amanda Elwes. Both Torrens and Elwes (Amanda) also appeared in earlier episodes of Poirot.

Pip Torrens

Amanda Elwes

Wodehouse's stories, whether read or watched, will most assuredly entertain for a lifetime.

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