Did we like it?
We were excited about welcoming the TV equivalent of an elderly aunt back into our home, but she turned out to be a pale shadow of her former self, cracking jokes that would shame a cracker maker and losing her thread like a badly made scarf.
What was good about it?
• The theme tune was good. The manor still looked nice. And some vague vapour trails of the sitcom’s legendary power struggles remained.
• The put-upon butler, played well by Alan David.
What was bad about it?
• Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles struggled to get much out of the weak script which was dominated by banal banter (eg the Meldrewish rant about on-hold music from Vivaldi), fuzzy attempts at being contemporary (although Ecstacy is so last decad and Arctic Monkeys are very last year) and silly misunderstandings.
• The nightclub scene could have been a classic but was just awkward and obvious.
• Alexander Armstrong also sunk beneath the waves, spending most the of the time reacting with undeserved chortles to Audrey and Richard’s ‘wit’ or just hovering with his bald patch in shot.
• Angela Thorne struggled, too, as hapless Marjorie, although her coyness around Alexander’s dashing character was one of the better aspects.
• The script could have got some sharp mileage out of the arrival of Eastern European labour into rural England, but it sank to Mind Your Language levels (eg “The crudit?s are on the sideboard”).