Skip to main content

I wish I had a daughter. I wonder what the procedure is?

Jeeves and Wooster
2.6: Jeeves the Matchmaker 
(aka Wooster with a Wife)

A veritable smorgasbord of short stories went into the season finale, and it just about emerges as a congealed piece of work, thanks in large part to the ever-reliable Robert Daws’ performance as the ever-enraged Tuppy Glossop. It’s more successful and full of incident than 2.3, which also utilised stories from Carry On, Jeeves and Very Good, Jeeves, although this one has additionally rummaged through The Inimitable Jeeves.


Bertie Wooster: I wish I had a daughter. I wonder what the procedure is?
Jeeves: Marriage is, I believe sir, the preliminary step for those willing to undergo its rigours.

The episode construes to revolve around Bertie’s blithe desire for parentage, much to Jeeves’ consternation, after realising his life is tired and empty. As such, the most eventful passage finds him speaking at a girls’ school and incurring the disapproval of headmistress Miss Mapleton (the distinctively featured Janet Henfrey, who played Miss Hardaker in Doctor Who’s The Curse of Fenric a couple of years earlier and more recently Mrs Pitt in nu-Who’s Mummy on the Orient Express; she was also a teacher in The Singing Detective) at his inappropriate choice of message and anecdote.


This part of the episode is adapted from the final story in Carry On, Jeeves, Bertie Changes His Mind, singular for being the only occasion where Jeeves himself narrates events, and in a decidedly more jocular and informal manner than we’re used to (one might almost think it was the natural Wodehouse-ian first person style…)


So, we have the desire for Bertie to adopt a kid from that story, and the necessity of a lesson in how inadvisable that is, but the kid herself, Clementia, Bobbie Wickham’s niece, is lifted from another short story, as is the means of getting her back into her school establishment, namely Jeeves and the Kid Clementia from Very Good, Jeeves. The stitching of the two tales is actually relatively seamless, with Bertie becoming embroiled with the ever-dozy plod (Alex Leppard) and Jeeves volunteering his master to give the aforementioned school talk on account of his being “a renowned orator on a tour of the home counties”.


Bertie Wooster: Am I wrong in think that all little girls are hard-bitten thugs of the worst description?

The talk, in which the girls all make faces at a baffled Bertie when Miss Mapleton isn’t looking and burst into uproarious laughter when he begins a tale “It seems, that there was this chorus girl…” having already recounted how he made a lot of money betting on being able to see the time on an obscure clock tower, is particularly amusing, even if it can’t reach the heights of Gussie’s sozzled prize giving at the end of the previous season. If there’s a weakness here it’s that Niamh Cusack never really makes a mark as Bobbie Wickham (“chock full to the brim with fizz and ginger”), at least not as much as Nina Botting in the first season.


There isn’t much in the way of adhesive applied to the other two subplots, in which Tuppy is wooing his latest prize, Daisy Dalgleish (Katherine McQueen), a largish, corn-fed girl, “typical Tuppy fodder”, aside from Bertie and Jeeves comporting a large Irish wolf hound with them for much of the proceedings, unable to procure the Irish water spaniel Tuppy wants to give her. It’s a shaggy prop that leads to several amusing lines (“Do you think Patrick would be sick if we give him some ice-cream?” asks Clementia. “Yes” replies Bertie decisively. “Can’t you spend an evening with an improving dog?” asks Bertie when Jeeves says it his night off, and he wishes to read an improving book rather than dog sit).


Tuppy: Daisy was rather keen that I help Upper Bleaching out.
Bertie Wooster: So you’ll be playing for Hockley.
Tuppy: Very funny.

The Ordeal of Young Tuppy, also from Very Good, Jeeves, recounts his involvement in a village rugger match, albeit the wolfhound doesn’t make an appearance there, and the attempts to sever his yen for Daisy come at the behest of Aunt Agatha (in the interests of Angela, whose hat Tuppy has insulted: “All I said was that it made her look like a raccoon peering out from underneath a flowerpot. Which it did”). Nevertheless, the manner in which events pan out is much the same (Tuppy’s broken leg excepted). This is a rare instance of Tuppy, despite things turning pear-shaped, having a triumph of sorts, as he gets into the spirit of the very violent game and actually scores (the first time since 1883).


Jeeves: Mr Little’s tie. It has little horseshoes on it. It is sometimes difficult to shrug these things off, sir.

Which leads to the first two chapters of The Inimitable Jeeves being utilised, fairly accurately but somewhat disappointingly, as there’ll be a two-year gap before the Rosie M Banks saga begun here reaches its conclusion. Bingo (the reliably returning Michael Siberry) has fallen for waitress Mabel (Charlotte Avery) but needs his uncle’s blessing to propose. To which end, Jeeves suggests he read him Rosie M Banks novels, which “make light, attractive reading” (Only a Factory Girl was voted one of the 100 best Random House novels by Wodehouse fan wags until the compilers got wise). En route, Bingo persuades Bertie to pose as the author (“I said Rosie M Banks was your pen name”) and is required to speculate on the number of words on a page over dinner. Lord Bittlesham’s (Geoffrey Toone) heart melts at Bingo’s readings and he proposes to his cook, class divide be damned.


The most shocking reveal of this story is what a sly dog Jeeves is, as he’s been conducting an affair with Lord Bittlesham’s cook, whom he is quite happy to sever ties with in favour of the very waitress Bingo had his eye on. One might suggest he’s not only devious but a little underhand, since he moves straight in on the girl.


Of course, Bertie ends up unencumbered, except for “another small whisky and soda”. Season Two might be the most satisfying season of the series overall. At any rate, the next suffers from spending half its time “in New York”, complete with broad versions of accents and limited sets (the elevator one gets a frequent outing). Jeeves and Wooster is on firmer ground when it gets back to home shores.



Sources:

Bertie Changes His Mind (Carry On, Jeeves Chapter 10)
Jeeves and the Kid Clementia (Very Good, Jeeves, Chapter 7)
The Ordeal of Young Tuppy (Very Good, Jeeves, Chapter 11)
Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum (The Inimitable Jeeves, Chapter 1)
No Wedding Bells for Bingo (The Inimitable Jeeves, Chapter 2)


Returning characters:

Tuppy Glossop (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 2.6)
Bingo Little (1.1, 1.3, 2.6)
Bobbie Wickham (1.2, 2.6)
Lord Bittlesham (2.6)







Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

I added sixty on, and now you’re a genius.

The Avengers 4.3: The Master Minds
The Master Minds hitches its wagon to the not uncommon Avengers trope of dark deeds done under the veil of night. We previously encountered it in The Town of No Return, but Robert Banks Stewart (best known for Bergerac, but best known genre-wise for his two Tom Baker Doctor Who stories; likewise, he also penned only two teleplays for The Avengers) makes this episode more distinctive, with its mind control and spycraft, while Peter Graham Scott, in his third contribution to the show on the trot, pulls out all the stops, particularly with a highly creative climactic fight sequence that avoids the usual issue of overly-evident stunt doubles.

Exit bear, pursued by an actor.

Paddington 2 (2017)
(SPOILERS) Paddington 2 is every bit as upbeat and well-meaning as its predecessor. It also has more money thrown at it, a much better villain (an infinitely better villain) and, in terms of plotting, is more developed, offering greater variety and a more satisfying structure. Additionally, crucially, it succeeds in offering continued emotional heft and heart to the Peruvian bear’s further adventures. It isn’t, however, quite as funny.

Even suggesting such a thing sounds curmudgeonly, given the universal applause greeting the movie, but I say that having revisited the original a couple of days prior and found myself enjoying it even more than on first viewing. Writer-director Paul King and co-writer Simon Farnaby introduce a highly impressive array of set-ups with huge potential to milk their absurdity to comic ends, but don’t so much squander as frequently leave them undertapped.

Paddington’s succession of odd jobs don’t quite escalate as uproariously as they migh…

Where is the voice that said altered carbon would free us from the cells of our flesh?

Altered Carbon Season One
(SPOILERS) Well, it looks good, even if the visuals are absurdly indebted to Blade Runner. Ultimately, though, Altered Carbon is a disappointment. The adaption of Richard Morgan’s novel comes armed with a string of well-packaged concepts and futuristic vernacular (sleeves, stacks, cross-sleeves, slagged stacks, Neo-Cs), but there’s a void at its core. It singularly fails use the dependable detective story framework to explore the philosophical ramifications of its universe – except in lip service – a future where death is impermanent, and even botches the essential goal of creating interesting lead characters (the peripheral ones, however, are at least more fortunate).

He's going to emasculate our nuclear deterrent and bring the whole damn country to its knees… because of his dreams.

Dreamscape (1984)
(SPOILERS) I wasn’t really au fait with movies’ box office performance until the end of the ‘80s, so I think I had an idea that Dennis Quaid (along with Jeff Bridges) was a much bigger star than he was, just on the basis of the procession of cool movies he showed up in (The Right Stuff, Enemy Mine, Innerspace, D.O.A.) The truth was, the public resisted all attempts to make him The Next Big Thing, not that his sly-grinned, cocky persona throughout the decade would lead you to believe his dogged lack of success had any adverse effect on his mood. Dreamscape was one of his early leading-man roles, and if it’s been largely forgotten, it also inherits a welcome cult status, not only through being pulpy and inventive on a fairly meagre budget, but by being pretty good to boot. It holds up.

He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.

Darkest Hour (2017)
(SPOILERS) Watching Joe Wright’s return to the rarefied plane of prestige – and heritage to boot – filmmaking following the execrable folly of the panned Pan, I was struck by the difference an engaged director, one who cares about his characters, makes to material. Only last week, Ridley Scott’s serviceable All the Money in the World made for a pointed illustration of strong material in the hands of someone with no such investment, unless they’re androids. Wright’s dedication to a relatable Winston Churchill ensures that, for the first hour-plus, Darkest Hour is a first-rate affair, a piece of myth-making that barely puts a foot wrong. It has that much in common with Wright’s earlier Word War II tale, Atonement. But then, like Atonement, it comes unstuck.

The aliens are not coming, just so you know.

The X-Files 11.1: My Struggle III
(SPOILERS) Good grief. Have things become so terminal for Chris Carter that he has to retcon his own crap from the previous season, rather than the (what he perceived as) crap written by others? Carter, of course, infamously pretended the apocalyptic ending of Millennium Season Two never happened, upset by the path Glen Morgan and James Wong, left to their own devices, took with his baby. Their episode was one of the greats of that often-ho-hum series, so the comedown was all the unkinder as a result. In My Struggle III, at least, Carter’s rewriting something that wasn’t very good in the first place. Only, he replaces it with something that is even worse in the second.

I'm going to open an X-file on this bran muffin.

The X-Files 11.2: This
(SPOILERS) Glen Morgan returns with a really good idea, certainly one with much more potential than his homelessness tract Home Again in Season 10, but seems to give up on its eerier implications, and worse has to bash it round the head to fit the season’s “arc”. Nevertheless, he’s on very comfortable ground with the Mulder-Scully dynamic in This, who get to spend almost the entire episode in each other’s company and might be on the best form here since the show came back, give or take a Darin.

He's a wild creature. We can't ask him to be anything else.

The Shape of Water (2017)
(SPOILERS) The faithful would have you believe it never went away, but it’s been a good decade since Guillermo del Toro’s mojo was in full effect, and his output since (or lack thereof: see the torturous wilderness years of At the Mountains of Madness and The Hobbit), reflected through the prism of his peak work Pan’s Labyrinth, bears the hallmarks of a serious qualitative tumble. He put his name to stinker TV show The Strain, returned to movies with the soulless Pacific Rim and fashioned flashy but empty gothic romance Crimson Peak (together his weakest pictures, and I’m not forgetting Mimic). The Shape of Water only seems to underline what everyone has been saying for years, albeit previously confined to his Spanish language pictures: that the smaller and more personal they are, the better. If his latest is at times a little too wilfully idiosyncratic, it’s also a movie where you can nevertheless witness it’s creator’s creativity flowing untrammelled once mo…

You’re never the same man twice.

The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
(SPOILERS) Roger Moore playing dual roles? It sounds like an unintentionally amusing prospect for audiences accustomed to the actor’s “Raise an eyebrow” method of acting. Consequently, this post-Saint pre-Bond role (in which he does offer some notable eyebrow acting) is more of a curiosity for the quality of Sir Rog’s performance than the out-there premise that can’t quite sustain the picture’s running time. It is telling that the same story was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents 15 years earlier, since the uncanny idea at its core feels like a much better fit for a trim 50 minute anthology series.

Basil Dearden directs, and co-adapted the screenplay from Anthony Armstrong’s novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham. Dearden started out with Ealing, helming several Will Hay pictures and a segment of Dead of Night (one might imagine a shortened version of this tale ending up there, or in any of the portmanteau horrors that arrived in the year…