ITV1: Sunday 8 November, 4.25pm
Harried young mum Maggie Gyllenhaal is not coping well with three unruly children in Deep Valley farm while her husband is away at war – and there’s more arriving tomorrow. Spoiled-brat cousins Rosie Taylor-Ritson and Eros Vlahos are being evacuated from London, in a chauffeur-driven limo. Help’s on the way, in the wart-faced shape of Emma Thompson’s snaggle-toothed, stick-wielding Nanny McPhee.
Useless brother-in-law Rhys Ifans is certainly no help, trying to sell Maggie’s farm from under her. With colourful set design and clearly defined characters (well acted all round, and scripted by Thompson herself), this sequel’s much more fun than the too-obviously Mary Poppinsy original, so clearly indebted to P.L.
Travers it seemed positively super-plagiasristic. This one’s more of a big burp than a big bang, a picture book cow-pat-and-collywobbles comedy that will likely keep youngsters as tickled pink as the farmyard’s talented piglets. And Maggie’s English accent is pretty impressive, too. Just as Albert Finney impersonated his American director John Huston in the 1981 musical Annie, so Maggie mimics British director Susanna White here.