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The weakest of the four series
on 30 June 2003
It's the last of the J&W series, and this is where they nearly jumped the shark. The magic formula of this outstanding series so far had been to provide the excellent cast with a well timed and almost scrupulously close adaption of Wodehouse' stories for the screen. Well, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are as good as ever, just as Elizabeth Kettle as Honoria and Elizabeth Morton as Madeline, to name but a few of the supporting roles. It's the script that somewhat spoils the fun. Maybe some TV producer had the misbegotten idea to spice up the old-fashioned Wodehouse originals with a certain slapstick element, or perhaps Clive Exton felt the need to challenge himself to improve Wodehouse' ideas. The result is not very convincing. The episodes start as usual with either one of Bertie's previous fiancées starting to renew the matrimonial prospects or a friend being in need of Jeeves' help in matters of heart or business, and there is still much witty dialogue to enjoy. But instead of the elegant solutions we were used to from Jeeves, we now get Wooster grilled by lightning on top of the Empire State Building, Jeeves and Wooster jumping overboard from an ocean liner on high sea with a subsequent return of the two some months later in rags with shaggy beards (the most un-Jeeves imaginable, he would have seen to Wooster shaving and dressing up under any circumstances), and a ghastly singalong of the whole Totleigh Towers society including the notorious Roderick Spode. So while this is of course better than 99% percent of what you see when you turn on the TV any day or night, it's a bit of a let down after the first three series. On a technical note, it's also the worst DVD of the series in terms of sound and picture quality, which is a bit strange since it's the newest material.
So before you buy this, take one of the earlier series if you can. And if you already have them all, you will want to have this anyway, even if it's not quite as good.