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Respected country solicitor Peter Kingdom, with the assistance of his apprentice Lyle and secretary Gloria, runs a small legal practice in Market Shipborough for the eccentric people of Norfolk. Peter lives with his slightly crazy sister Beatrice, and recently lost his half-brother Simon under mysterious circumstances. Written by
Originally by Mark Smith <email@example.com>, edited and emended.
I never thought Stephen Fry was quite right for the role of Jeeves (Jeeves really is kind of a d*ck, after all), but here he's perfect. He plays Peter Kingdom, the white sheep in a family of "serial shaggers," sickos and sociopaths. A Cambridge-trained lawyer, he's been carrying on the family practice in a small Norfolk town after his father's death and his brother's suspicious disappearance, and as the series opens, his damaged half-sister, Beatrice, has checked out of a clinic and come to join him. Fry's large, affable figure doesn't always blend in with this murky background, but most of the episodes deal with the cozier, goofier side of English country life--Druids, crop circles, cricket, quiz night at the pub, the vicar's "rude vegetable" contest, lockkeeper's cottages and garden allotments; there's even a brief glimpse of morris dancing. More serious subjects like the exploitation of migrant farmworkers, the Data Protection Act 1998 (which may or may not prohibit a father from filming his daughter's cello recital) and CCTV snoopery are treated in soft focus, and plot lines tend to be resolved conveniently but not always plausibly (how does young Scott manage to steal that racehorse again?). Nevertheless, Fry and the writers do a wonderful job of portraying him as a soulful local hero and an incorruptible champion of "hooman roights" (as the Norfolkers say, at least some of them); the jokes are pretty good (when Kingdom's lovelorn associate, Lyle, refers to himself as a "great catch," Kingdom replies, "So's a giant squid, but you wouldn't want to be leading one down the aisle"), the supporting cast is excellent (even Beatrice starts to grow on you) and the swelling, hymnlike theme music and the aerial shots of the gorgeous Norfolk coastline certainly help to get the job done. We burned through the complete series (only 18 eps) on streaming Netflix in a couple of days and were inconsolable when it was over.
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