How posh are the cast of Blandings?

Meet Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders, Tim Vine and Celia Imrie, the cast of BBC1's PG Wodehouse comedy Blandings

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How posh are the cast of Blandings?
Written By
James Rampton

Timothy Spall, BlandingsTimothy Spall plays Lord Clarence Emsworth

What class do you consider yourself?

Upper working-class. My parents had jobs and we never starved. Our house had holes in the roof, but at least we had nice furniture around the saucepans catching the rainwater.

Do you live in a castle?

No, but as our kids have now grown up and gone away, we have moved from south London into the centre of town. I love it because I can walk everywhere.

Who serves you tea?

If I behave myself, Mrs Spall might make me a cup, but in general we share the tea-making.

Do you like champagne?

Yes, but it gives me heartburn. So now I imbibe liquids that are not so bubbly.

What’s the poshest thing you’ve ever done?

I met the Queen once. She put a dangly gong [an OBE] around my neck. I felt very pleased because my mum was very pleased. I was touched by the occasion, because of the thousand other people there, ranging from lollypop ladies to people who ran the district post office. They were ordinary people who’d done selfless things for the community.

Who do you base Clarence on?

The various Etonians and Harrovians who you can see disseminating their aristocratic wisdom via the medium of television. I jumble them all up. You can probably guess who they are!

How do you travel?

I often travel by leg!

Loo or toilet?

Bog – or something more unprintable.

Mauritius or Magaluf?

Mauritius – I’m not very keen on Magaluf.

Denim or tweed?

I haven’t worn jeans since I was 11 – and they didn’t suit me even then.

Fortnum & Mason or Sainsbury’s?

I recently discovered Aldi, which is rather nice. I always go in disguise – only joking!

The Daily Telegraph or The Sun?

I sometimes read the Telegraph. There’s no point reading a paper you agree with – there’s nothing to shout about, and that’s no fun.


Blandings, Jennifer SaundersJennifer Saunders plays Lady Connie

How posh are you?

The weird thing is, as a forces kid, you’re classless and accentless. You never pick up an accent because you move around so much. But when I listen to my voice, I think, “Oh, you do sound quite posh.” The strange thing is that Dawn French went to a private school, and I went to a state school, but I sound posher!

How do you travel?

I take taxicabs or the omnibus. I can’t do trains that go underground, as Connie would put it.

How often do you drink champagne?

I do love champagne. At 11 o’clock on Christmas morning, as the smell of turkey is in the air and you’re opening presents around the tree and drinking a glass of really cold champagne – well, it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

What’s the poshest thing you’ve ever done?

I bought a horse. That’s quite posh.

Is there someone posh you’ve taken inspiration from for the role of Connie?

Do I know people like Connie? Oh God, yes. The lack of overt emotion about anything is one of Connie’s characteristics, and that is extremely posh. You don’t want to be soppy about anything. Just get on with it. Don’t make a fuss. Pull yourself together – because life is never going to be happy.

Do you maintain the accent when you’re not filming?

No, I’m not Method. There is no Method in my work – only madness!

Mauritius or Magaluf?

I’ve never been to either, but I’d prefer Mauritius. Magaluf even sounds horrible.

Fortnum & Mason or Sainsbury’s?

My recent discovery is Lidl. They do very good fish and meat. It’s worth checking out.

Made in Chelsea or The Only Way Is Essex?

I would rather shoot myself than watch either. I find them both horrid. The way those programmes make people behave is despicable. The whole conceit that it’s real life is, by any stretch of the imagination, ridiculous.

The Daily Telegraph or The Sun?

The Daily Telegraph, because it has the only crossword I can do. Also, it loves a murder story, and I love a murder story, too.


Tim Vine, BlandingsTim Vine plays Beach the Butler

How posh are you?

I sound a lot posher than I am. I’ve worked in shops and been a game-show host, which are pretty working-class jobs. When I started out at the Comedy Café in London, I was standing at the back with the owner when this very posh guy came on stage wearing a bow tie. The audience hated him and started booing. The owner said, “The reason they don’t like him is because he’s posh.” I said, “I’m posh, too.” “Yes, but you’re also an idiot!”

What class do you consider yourself?

Middle-class. But I have to admit that it’s a bit harder to be proud of being middle-class than it is to be proud of being working-class. John Lennon never wrote a song called Middle-class Hero. I’d be a middle-class hero if I had the time, but I’ve got to go to Waitrose first.

How do you prepare to play a butler?

I play darts. I’m not very good at accents. It’s just me, with a side order of Roger Moore.

What’s the poshest thing you’ve done?

Last year, I was invited to present the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in the throne room in St James’s Palace. I met Prince Philip, and he was great – very funny.

Loo or toilet?

I say, “I’m going to the loo,” but I also say, “My toilet is broken.” I straddle the world of lavatories.

Mauritius or Magaluf?

I’ve got a set of stamps from Mauritius and it looks lovely, so I’d like to go there.

Fortnum & Mason or Sainsbury’s?

Neither. There’s a BP garage very close to where I live that serves all my needs.

Made in Chelsea or The Only Way Is Essex?

I do occasionally get drawn into Made in Chelsea. It sounds shallow, but it’s easy on the eye. One doesn’t tune in for the dialogue!


Celia Imrie, BlandingsCelia Imrie guest stars as Charlotte, Clarence and Connie’s sister

How posh are you?

Very posh. I know that because I’ve done Who Do You Think You Are?, which revealed I am posher than I thought [one aristocratic forbear, William, Lord Russell, was beheaded during the reign of Charles II, unjustly accused of plotting to kill the king]. Terrible, isn’t it?

How do you travel?

By train or boat – I don’t like flying.

How often do you drink champagne?

If possible, every day.

What’s the poshest thing you’ve done?

I once shook hands with Prince Charles at a charity ball. But I forgot to curtsey till he’d gone down the line. I’m still a bit ashamed!

Did somebody posh inspire your role?

I didn’t base Charlotte on anyone. Being in an amazing house and wearing these wonderful clothes – all that helps you get into character. Then you start talking to Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders, something magical happens.

How did you perfect your accent?

By listening to my mother – she was quite posh. You have to be careful not to overdo it, so it doesn’t become a caricature.

Loo or toilet?

Loo, of course!

Fortnum & Mason or Sainsbury’s?

Fortnum & Mason, naturally!

Supper or tea?

I’m so posh, I’d have afternoon tea at 3pm and then supper at 11pm!

Blandings returns on Sunday at 6:30pm on BBC1. 


 


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