Christopher Bigsby



A BBC Radio 4 Comedy drama


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

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

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