Picks and Pans Review: Jeeves and Wooster

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Sun., Nov. 11, 9 P.M. ET)

A-

Jolly good show! Masterpiece Theatre has adapted the comic stories of P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), featuring that featherbrained gentleman of leisure, Bertie Wooster, and his godsend of a valet, Jeeves, into a five-part series.

As soon as he arrives, Jeeves (Stephen Fry) takes his ineffectual master in hand, getting Wooster (Hugh Laurie) out of all kinds of fixes, usually involving the fairer sex, the members of which are complete mysteries to Bertie and his clubby chums.

The shows, airing on consecutive Sundays, abound in delights. They're full of dotty, preposterously smug English society characters from the '30s with fruity names like Barmy Fatherington-Phipps and the Rev. Beefy Bingham. Then there are the well-preserved pleasures of Wodehouse's idiom-rich language. When Wooster asks a friend why he's tutoring way out in the country, he replies, "Money, Bertie—ooph, moolah, spondoolik."

In its sharper installments, this is the most deucedly clever Masterpiece Theatre undertaking since The Irish R.M. Carry on, Jeeves.

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