Customer Review

6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No wonder Davies stopped after the second series, 20 Jun 2012
This review is from: A Very Peculiar Practice - The Complete BBC Series - [Network] - [DVD] [1986] (DVD)
'Very Peculiar Practice' is one of those programmes which achieved almost mythical status for those of us who enjoyed series one immensely but then missed all or part of series two. The problem was that, although the BBC repeated series one, it never showed series two again. Why was this? Had series two somehow been erased in the Beeb's ill-judged videotape reclaim campaign of the 1970s? Clearly not, as 'Peculiar' originated in the late 80s.

But seen now, at last, the reason is obvious. Series two is rubbish. Every character has become a hackneyed caricature of their series one persona. There is nothing new to discover about each of the established characters, unless Bob's latent homosexuality comes as a surprise to you. The over-acting is tedious: the Polish art lecturer is especially over the top, Barbara Flynn's scheming becomes wearing, and even Bob's naked capitalism was well past its sell-by date. The American vice-chancellor is also utterly unbelievable, as are the plot extremes, in which Lowlands University discards all students and departments that do not aid its military research endeavours.

However the general ethos of series two -- of students under financial pressure and universities trying to extract more money from them -- is still relevant. It's interesting that one example that was designed to shock in 1988 -- that of a student having to work eight hours a week stacking shelves to make ends meet -- is now a commonplace.

Series one remains amusing and enjoyable. The 'Polish Practice' DVD might pass the time if you are bored, but it is quickly forgettable.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Aug 2012 19:44:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2012 19:46:59 BDT
I don't think the characters were meant to be 'believable' in the second series. Davies let his imagination run riot, riffing on the satirical possiblities of Thatcherite neoliberalism, leading to the dysfunctional university based solely on market forces and profit. Today we seem to be half way there, with the humanities like English literature and philosophy falling victim to commercial needs and 9000 annual tuition fees. The second series is powerful and very funny social satire which is possibly more relevant today than in 1992.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2012 05:32:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Sep 2012 05:35:43 BDT
ice-mouse says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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