Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars A great series that, satirically, told the truth about universities., 2 Sept. 2013
This review is from: A Very Peculiar Practice - The Complete BBC Series - [Network] - [DVD] [1986] (DVD)
'A Very Peculiar Practice' is from the end of the long period when the BBC used to make, seemingly routinely, great series - from a time when managers and accountants facilitated programme makers and put viewers first, rather than focusing on their own concerns.

It's drama, it's comedy, it's satire, but, most of all, 'A Very Peculiar Practice' portrays the (often uncomfortable) truth about university life. The first series is more straightforward and realistic than the second, but it's the second - largely dismissed, at the time, for being too OTT - that bites most hard at the nature of what university life was only just becoming, with private enterprise beginning to take hold, warping the sector and the experience of students and staff alike.

The spin-off, 'A Very Polish Practice' (1992), a 'prestige' BBC film, was made four years after the second series, when the new BBC regime (e.g. Michael Checkland and, most influentially, John Birt) had really taken hold and it's a pointless exercise; a film of modest length of course not allowing the in-depth presentation/study of issues that a series does.

All in all, five stars for the two series.

(After 'A Very Peculiar Practice', I can only think of an adaptation of David Lodge's 'Nice Work' (1989) having, anything like, a similar focus and I wonder if there will ever be a BBC series that takes a critical look at the university experience again? Given that about half of 18-21 year olds, never mind anyone else, are now in higher education, this seems remarkably neglectful.)
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