Fi­nally, Jeeves! PG lands in the hall of fame

Last laugh for com­edy ge­nius af­ter po­lit­i­cal row

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS - By Krissy Stor­rar KSTORRAR@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Writer PG Wode­house is to join an ex­clu­sive lit­er­ary hall of fame by hav­ing a memo­rial stone placed in West­min­ster Abbey. The Jeeves and Wooster au­thor, who was known as Plum, is likely to have his stone placed close to the abbey’s fa­mous Poets’ Corner. Per­mis­sion was granted by the Very Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of West­min­ster, and the de­ci­sion was an­nounced by the PG Wode­house So­ci­ety.

So­ci­ety chair­man Hi­lary Bruce said: “This is a recog­ni­tion of Plum’s place in the lit­er­ary pan­theon.

“His stone will de­servedly lie among those of some of the great­est writ­ers in this coun­try’s his­tory and his own lit­er­ary he­roes.”

Other writ­ers with memo­ri­als in the abbey in­clude Wil­liam Shake­speare, Charles Dick­ens, Ge­of­frey Chaucer and the Bronte sis­ters. Pel­ham Grenville Wode­house was born in Guild­ford, Sur­rey, in 1881 and started writ­ing as a hobby dur­ing a brief stint work­ing at a bank.

He wrote a string of books, hit Broad­way mu­si­cals and worked in Hol­ly­wood be­fore mov­ing to France in the 1930s.

But he spent the last three decades of his life in Amer­ica af­ter be­ing caught up in a con­tro­versy over his ex­pe­ri­ences as a pris­oner of the Ger­mans dur­ing World War Two.

He had been widely crit­i­cised and faced a For­eign Of­fice in­quiry af­ter mak­ing sev­eral ra­dio broad­casts in 1941 which were used as pro­pa­ganda by the Nazis. Wode­house was twice blocked from re­ceiv­ing a knight­hood but it was even­tu­ally awarded shortly be­fore he died in 1975 at the age of 93. Last week, broad­caster Gyles Bran­dreth wrote in The Oldie that the knight­hood should have been with­held be­cause of Wode­house’s con­tro­ver­sial ra­dio talks.

He said: “He gave suc­cour to the en­emy.

“The K (knight­hood) didn’t feel right but Poets’ Corner is dif­fer­ent. “He is un­doubt­edly one of our great­est comic writ­ers and the abbey is a place for for­give­ness.”

Sir Ed­ward Caza­let, Wode­house’s step-grand­son, said that he would have been de­lighted to be re­mem­bered along­side his hero, Wil­liam Shake­speare.

He said Wode­house would reread the Com­plete Works of Shake­speare ev­ery five years.

Sev­eral of his works con­tain ref­er­ences to Shake­speare, in­clud­ing his Jeeves sto­ries. Well-to-do Lon­doner Ber­tie Wooster and his per­sonal at­ten­dant Jeeves fea­tured in dozens of short sto­ries and nov­els, and a TV spin-off was aired in the early 1990s star­ring Stephen Fry and Hugh Lau­rie.

The Wode­house es­tate has con­firmed that it has backed a new novel by Ben Schott called Jeeves and the King of Clubs, which is due to be pub­lished later this year.

Matthew Mac­fadyen as Jeeves and Stephen Man­gan as Wooster in the play Per­fect Non­sensePic­ture UliWe­ber

PG Wood­house

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