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Publisher's Summary

An eight-part comedy serial set in a provincial university with a most unusual English department.

Against his better judgement, Andrew Patterson accepts a job as a lecturer in English literature at a remote Northern redbrick university. His departmental colleagues are an eccentric bunch: doddery Head of English Professor Misty, who looks like he went to school with Little Dorrit; Amy Spade, who's suffering from an identity crisis and given to sending anonymous letters, and man-eating Melissa Murgatroyd, the honeypot of the Senior Common Room. Fortunately, Patterson has old friend and fellow lecturer Victor to show him the ropes - but even so, his first day does not go well.

University life continues to throw up bewildering challenges, from tracking down Misty's lawnmower to surviving his inaugural lecture, writing a soft porn novel and dealing with the demands (both erotic and otherwise) of his students. Meanwhile, his wife Jane is becoming worryingly keen on their nerdy neighbour Cuthbertson, and the English department is in crisis.... Can Patterson salvage his marriage and make it through term without getting fired?

Written by acclaimed authors Malcolm Bradbury and Christopher Bigsby, both former university lecturers, this lively campus comedy was the first sitcom to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Australian Lewis Fiander stars as the hapless Patterson, with John Barron as the Vice-Chancellor, Richard Vernon as Professor Misty and Maureen Lipman as Melissa.

Production credits

Written by Malcolm Bradbury and Christopher Bigsby

Produced by Geoffrey Perkins

Theme music: 'Jester's Jig' by Gordon Giltrap

Cast

Patterson - Lewis Fiander

Vice-Chancellor - John Barron

Professor Misty - Richard Vernon

Jane - Judy Parfitt

Melissa - Maureen Lipman

Cuthbertson - Richard O'Callaghan

Victor - Hugh Thomas

Amy Spade/Cleaner - Maggie Steed

Probity - Jack May

Mary/Lady Professor/Mrs Jackson/Mrs Misty/Verity - Frances Jeater

Mrs Vice-Chancellor - Irene Prador

Sandra - Liza Hayden

Bannerji - Tariq Yunus

Jake - Philip Davis

Valerie Candle - Leueen Willoughby

Inspector Firestone - David Tate

Ancient boy - Patrick Barr

Hotel manager - Rowland Davies

Landlady - Patricia Hayes

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 19 February-9 April 1981

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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Horrendously Sexist

This title had so much promise! The absent-minded English professor! Literary jokes! But it devolved in the second episode into depressingly sexist jokes about stifling wives and sexy coworkers, and I couldn’t take it. At one point the main character tells his DAUGHTER that all little girls grow up to trap boys into marriage and make them get jobs and then sit around the house inventing more work for men. Returned almost immediately. What an immense disappointment.