Quotations from P G Wodehouse are copyright of, and reprinted by permission of, the Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate © 2015 The P G Wodehouse Society (UK)
What Goes Around Comes Around
The September issue of Wooster Sauce reported on page 13 that a new book of Wodehouse’s
verse was in preparation and would be published in the New Year. Arrangements for
the publication of the collection, entitled What Goes Around Comes Around – A Celebration
of Wodehouse Verse, have now been completed and it will become available in March
2014, at a price of £12 plus postage (£3 in the UK; £5 to Europe; and £8 further
afield). It is being published privately by Harebrain Publishing and will not be
available through Amazon or any similar distributor. Its hundred Wodehouse verses
have been selected by Tony Ring as a fair representation of the breadth of subject-
Blandings 2 – The Empress Strikes Back?
Despite some criticism, the BBC obviously felt that the first series of Blandings was well enough received to warrant a second series, to be screened early next year. Click here for the full story.
Jeeves and Wooster Play is Perfect Nonsense
Bertie on the boards? It's bound to go wrong – so it's a good job Jeeves is waiting in the wings. Click here for more details on our heroes' West End debut.
Can He Fill PGW's Shoes?
Sebastian Faulks' J & W novel Jeeves and the Wedding Bells comes out at the start of November and publishers Random House are running a campaign through the summer to build up anticipation. Click here for more details and a link to their website if you want to get involved.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
Hot on the heels of the Blandings TV series, now we have another attempt to bring PGW to the attention of the masses, with Sebastian Faulks writing a new J&W novel. The press release issued by Random House on 8 March 2013 can be found here.
Member No 3,000
At our Society evening on 19th February 2013 (click here to view a report), we were delighted to welcome Christopher Keeling as the 3,000th person to join the Society since its rebirth in 1997. Receiving a copy of A Man Of Means from Hilary Bruce as a memento, Christopher gave an amusing account of his recruitment by one of our patrons, Murray Hedgcock, but graciously remarked that he "could not be more proud".
Although there will naturally be a number of losses each year for perfectly understandable reasons, our current membership figure of over 1,000 puts us comfortably in the top ten of literary societies in the UK.
Is This What 'Care Of The Pig' Really Looked Like?
Click here to read all about a very unusual Wodehouse print.
A Special Pub For Wodehouseans (but do they have pork on the menu?)
If you are going to find yourself in the Southampton/New Forest area at some point in the future, then ensure you make time for a detour to the town of Copythorne, where a treat awaits all of the PGW faithful (click here).
The French Connection
Before the Blandings broadcast, a very funny piece appeared on the BBC News website, from their Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield, all about Wodehouse and the French. Click here to view.
One of the Society’s stalwart committee members, Alan Wood, stood down from committee duties at our recent AGM. In her report, Chairman Hilary Bruce paid tribute to Alan’s invaluable input over nearly a decade:
“In my first week as Chairman, I had to find a new Treasurer. I didn’t know much,
but I knew that finding treasurers was really, really difficult. But then I remembered
a nice member I’d chatted to, so I just rang him and asked him to be Treasurer –
and he kindly pretended to be flattered, and accepted, and that was that. Easy! And
Alan Wood has been with us ever since, our Treasurer from 2003 to 2010, then a sort
of special advisor and committee member. He did things like checking that standing
orders were actually paid – and discovering that, thanks to our fine efficient banking
system, quite a lot of long-
“Alan has always asked questions and made us think. We didn’t always do as he suggested, but looking back, I have to say ‘Alan, you were right and we were wrong’ about quite a few [things].”
And in her minutes of Alan’s last committee meeting, Membership Secretary Christine Hewitt described him as:
“Never a nodder, always brimming with ideas, and never holding back from flinging in a challenge. Above all, always bringing good humour to the proceedings.”
Now, after nine years, he’s retiring so he can spend more time with his grandchildren.
Thank you, Alan.
John Alais Fletcher, 1929–2012
A pensive John Fletcher during the Millennium Tour, 2000 (photo by Jean Tillson)
Wodehouseans everywhere were sad to learn of the death of John Fletcher on 11 June
2012. A founding member of The P G Wodehouse Society (UK), John was also our first
website editor, bringing the Society into the public eye. He created the self-
Before the UK Society was formed, John contributed regularly to The Wodehouse Society’s journal, Plum Lines, including, in 1990, a scholarly article on Bertie Wooster’s family tree, ‘Disentangling the Wooster Relations’. He was also a regular attendee at The Wodehouse Society’s biennial conventions in the United States, which is how I came to know him. I first met him at the 1993 convention in San Francisco, and we became friends, emailing each other often. Knowing of his expertise in style and composition, I frequently turned to him for advice after I became an editor, and he explained obscure literary terms and concepts with brilliant clarity.
In October 2000, I attended my first UK Society formal dinner, and I requested to be seated next to John. The evening was pure enchantment, and though I enjoyed talking to everybody I met that night, it is my conversations with John that still stand out in my mind. Funny, charming, and perhaps a little bit wicked at times, he kept me laughing even as he shared his wisdom on language, writing, and, particularly, Wodehouse. I learned so much from him.
John Alais Fletcher was born on 27 September 1929 in Holt, Norfolk, to Basil Alais Fletcher and Gerrardine Mary Fletcher (née Daly), and educated at Welbury, Wellington College, and Queens College, Oxford. In May 1962 he married Tana Goschen, with whom he had four children: Mark, Didi, Katy, and Ally. He had two disparate careers, spending half his working life in industry and the other half teaching English. He also ran courses on communication skills. His books include The Interview at Work (later published as Effective Interviewing), and The Business Guide to Effective Writing.
John was a book collector, his particular interests being the works of P G Wodehouse,
Enid Blyton, Walter de la Mare, and G K Chesterton. In addition to both the UK and
US Wodehouse societies, he was a member of the Chesterton and Thomas Lovell Beddoes
societies. In 1991, now retired from teaching, he set up Porpoise Books; its first
publication was A Man of Means, which PGW had co-
In an interview with Jan Wilson Kaufman in 2000, John commented on how many readers believe that Wodehouse’s works are set in the year they were published. To counteract this notion, he used clues and links between the Blandings stories and the Jeeves & Wooster novels and stories in an attempt to establish the year in which each one was set. It was this sort of scholarly approach to Wodehouse’s works that led him to become involved with Tony Ring’s project of picking up where Geoffrey Jaggard had left off with Blandings the Blest and Wooster’s World. Tony had bought the text, but it was John who arranged to purchase the copyright from Jaggard’s heirs. Subsequently, Wodehouse in the Clubhouse – the first volume of the Wodehouse Millennium Concordance – was published in 1994, with seven more volumes following.
John’s experiences as a publisher resulted in a humorous, highly enjoyable talk he gave at TWS’s 2001 convention in Philadelphia: ‘Writing Cheques at Intervals: The Life of a Wodehouse Publisher’. Sadly and inexplicably, this paper was never published in either Plum Lines or Wooster Sauce. But in his interview with Jan Kaufman, when asked whether being a publisher was profitable, he replied: “No. I earn nothing. On the contrary, I spend what others spend on sailing or golf. What I can afford goes into the next book” – an attitude that greatly benefitted Wodehouse readers.
In 1997, John was part of the team that won the Great Scripture Knowledge Contest
at TWS’s convention in Chicago. His formidable writing skills and knowledge of Wodehouse
served him well when he took on the editorship of our website after the UK Society’s
formation that same year. His devotion to the societies on both side of the Atlantic
was evident in his faithful participation (until recent years) in their events. Uppermost
in my own mind is the UK Society’s 2000 Millennium Tour. As part of the entertainment
on the coach, John read the prize-
John knew, understood, and loved words, and his love of writing and of Wodehouse resulted in several books that still inform and entertain us. He was kind, charming, erudite, and funny – a man I shall always remember with a smile.
– Elin Woodger Murphy
New York Loves Plum Show (June 2012)
The Broadway show Nice Work If You Can Get It, the plot of which is loosely based
on the Wodehouse-
Blandings on the Beeb
Many of you may already be in the know, but for those that aren't, the BBC are currently
filming a series of Blandings stories, with an all-
Make a pig of yourself for less than 50p
In response to the furore over the rise in stamp prices, the Royal Mail has responded
by announcing a special issue of first-
So if you want your pig stamps, buy now!
Apurva says: “I was introduced to PGW by my maths tutor at home who would give me algebra sums for solving and while I was doing them he would engross himself with a PGW book. I could hear his uncontrollable laughter, which he tried to suppress, with much difficulty, by pressing hard a handkerchief on his mouth!”
We think the book Plum was working on (referred to in one of the letters) was Do Butlers Burgle Banks?.
If you have any comments or additional info about the letters for Apurva, click on the Website Editor link at the bottom of the home page and we’ll be happy to pass them on to him.
In Our Little Paradise: Songs of PG Wodehouse
Last year, the talented American soprano Maria Jette and her musical partner Dan Chouinard produced a delightful CD of 18 Wodehouse songs, some well known (‘Cleopatterer’) and others not so well known (‘Two to Tooting’).
Should you wish to order a copy of this gem of a CD, you can do so here, where you will find a complete list of the songs Maria and Dan perform.
PG Wodehouse: A Life in Letters
Somewhat belatedly, but with great pleasure, we announce the publication of PG Wodehouse:
A Life in Letters, edited by Sophie Ratcliffe, whose enthusiasm and respect for Wodehouse
is clear. Published in November 2011, the 602-
Hutchinson’s publicity goes on to say: “Drawing on hitherto unpublished sources,
these letters give an unrivalled insight into Wodehouse, covering his schooldays
at Dulwich College, the family's financial reverses which saw his hopes of university
dashed, life in New York working in musical comedy with Jerome Kern and George and
Ira Gershwin, the years of fame as a novelist, and the unhappy episode in 1940 where
he was interned by the Germans and later erroneously accused of broadcasting pro-
A Wodehouse Handbook
The Society's Remembrancer Norman Murphy's amusing, intellectually stimulating and
astonishing work on PG Wodehouse's real-
Three Wodehouse Walks
Whether or not you have been on one of Norman Murphy’s Wodehouse Walks, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get a copy of his book detailing two walks in London and one in Dulwich. Click here for an order form.
Paul Kent's book What Do I Know – a synopsis
Society Member Paul Kent has published a book entitled What Do I Know. His synopsis of this book begins:
“Michel de Montaigne, the sixteenth-
“Unlike all the shouted opinions on today's TV, radio and newspapers, Montaigne's
voice was always calm, questioning and self-
To continue reading this synopsis and to gain further details about the book, please click here.
Video Tribute to Patrick Wodehouse
Patrick's family have put together a video which is a touching tribute to Patrick. This includes Patrick reminiscing about his uncle Plum. If you would like to view this please click here.
June Arnold publishes “The Words Of Wodehouse”
Members of the Society will be familiar with the Acrostics puzzles, based on the works of Wodehouse, which appear in Wooster Sauce. June Arnold, who writes and produces these wonderful puzzles, a mixture of crosswords and codewords revealing literary quotations, has thankfully been persuaded to publish a book of these. They are all new puzzles which have not appeared in Wooster Sauce or elsewhere and so this book will make a nice Christmas gift for those who enjoy these puzzles so much. Please click here for further details and how to purchase copies of the book.
A new history of Wodehouse's beloved Dulwich College has just been published (click here for details)
BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter James Naughtie has written a feature for The Times celebrating PG Wodehouse (click here to view)
|A tribute to Richard Briers|
|A message from Richard Briers|
|A message from HRH the Duke of Kent|
|Black Berkshire Pigs|
|About the Society|
|Stage, TV and Radio|
|Books and videos|
|Videos and DVDs|
|Advice on buying online|