In my last post I expressed my love and devotion for the brilliant Hugh Laurie. (More love to be expressed in upcoming posts.) This time, I’m focusing on his long-time comedy partner, Stephen Fry, whom I also adore completely, even more so after watching his series, Kingdom. (Yes, I know he’s gay. So what!) The other day I watched 7 episodes in a row, watched the entire 18 in less than a week! Yep, I was hooked.
Peter Kingdom is a small-town solicitor in county Norfolk. He lives and works in the quiet seaside village of Market Shipborough. Along with his young apprentice, Lyle Anderson, and his secretary, Gloria, Peter tends to his eccentric clientele. They range from the cabbage-scented Mr. Snell to dueling food truck vendors to a group of nudists.
I love these British TV shows that have a colorful collection of quirky characters. You just never know who is going to come through the door. But whoever does, they almost always have an interesting, if not crazy, story to tell.
In addition to dealing with cases like land disputes, divorces, insurance claims and custody battles, Peter is also dealing with the disappearance and presumed death of his half-brother, Simon Kingdom. Simon supposedly walked into the sea some six months earlier, but his body was never found. Throughout the first season, there are more questions about his disappearance than answers.
In Episode 1, Peter’s half-sister Beatrice shows up after having been in rehab. She is a bit of a nutter. She takes up residence in Peter’s house, paints her room black and starts seeking out suitors. But with the help of Gloria, Beatrice soon calms down and takes on some responsibilities around the office.
Peter’s Aunt Auriel, played by the lovely Phyllida Law, is his eldest relative and confidante. Beatrice, Auriel and Gloria are the only women in Peter’s life. He has no wife or girlfriend. He is more in love with his work, and his car, a gorgeous powder-blue Alvis TE21.
The town of Market Shipborough plays a big role in the series. It’s a beautiful seaside town where you often find Peter on the beach walking his little white dog, Millie. Word has it that the town where the series was shot, Swaffham, actually in Norfolk, became somewhat of a tourist attraction. Businesses in the town capitalized on the popularity of Kingdom and offered guided tours of the locations featured in the show. I wouldn’t mind checking out the place myself next time I get to England.
Several noted guest stars appear throughout the series: Richard Wilson (Merlin) as Peter’s Cambridge University professor, Richard Briers (The Good Life) as an older man dating a much younger woman, Peter Sallis (Wallace & Gromit) as Gloria’s elderly father, and Pippa Haywood (Green Wing) as Lyle’s mum.
Unfortunately, due to budgetary reasons, the show was only produced for 3 seasons. I won’t spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it, but I was very surprised how it did end.
On a side note, I discovered that Stephen Fry is an avid teddy bear collector, as am I. Another reason why I like him so much!
Stephen Fry – Peter Kingdom
Hermione Norris – Beatrice Kingdom
Karl Davies – Lyle Anderson
Celia Imrie – Gloria Millington
Tony Slattery – Sidney Snell
Phyllida Law – Aunt Auriel
Thomas Fisher – Ted
Gerard Horan – DC Yelland
Total Seasons: 3 (18 episodes)
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: Seasons 2 & 3 only, all available on Netflix streaming
In Production: 2007-2009
Viewer Discretion: Some adult situations, language, some nudity