Based on Tom Sharpes satirical novel and set in a fictional, all-male Cambridge College, 1987s Porterhouse Blue
is a crusty delight. Ian Richardson stars as the austere moderniser who takes over as master of Porterhouse with a view to bringing in radical changes; David Jason is Skullion, head porter for 45 years and a bulldog-style traditionalist.
Porterhouse Blue is a wonderfully grotesque and not inaccurate depiction of an Oxbridge college that has set itself resolutely and decadently against the modern world. Crammed with hoggish, port-swilling dons who are more concerned that the college stay "head of the river" than with academic achievement, the highlight of Porterhouses year is the Founders Feast, in which students and tutors gorge debauchedly on roast swan stuffed with widgeon, to the horror of the new vegetarian master.
Jasons Skullion looks on approvingly: hes a stickler for Porterhouses inverted values, disapproving, for instance, of student Zipser (John Sessions), the only fellow at the college actually there to work. When the master eventually fires Skullion, the forces of traditionalism gather in sympathy and attempt their revenge.
Unfolding over 190 leisurely minutes, Porterhouse Blue is an elegantly turned comedy in which practically every morsel of dialogue is to be savoured for its delicious tang. Jason and Richardson are reliably excellent in what is an overall exhibition of British TV thespianism at its finest. --David Stubbs
When the master of Cambridge college Porterhouse succumbs to a fatal stroke, he is replaced by the progressive Sir Godber Evans (Ian Richardson), who announces such earth-shattering initiatives as female students, a canteen and contraceptive machines. Head porter Skullion (David Jason) is outraged, along with the Fellows, and enlists the help of old Porterhousian Sir Cathcart D'Eath (Charles Gray) in foiling Sir Godber's schemes.