Guess that’s why they call it the blue

2 12 2017

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

Porterhouse College is world renowned for its gastronomic excellence, the arrogance of its Fellows, its academic mediocrity and the social cache it confers on the athletic sons of country families. Sir Godber Evans, ex-Cabinet Minister and the new Master, is determined to change all this. Spurred on by his politically angular wife, Lady Mary, he challenges the established order and provokes the wrath of the Dean, the Senior Tutor, the Bursar and, most intransigent of all, Skullion the Head Porter – with hilarious and catastrophic results.

It is all a bit over the top but one of the most entertaining campus novels of the last half century. Every satiric angle you could imagine in relation to a fictional Cambridge college is covered here in great style. Whilst some of the humour is a bit dated (and, perhaps inevitably, sexist) it is nevertheless a galloping read well worth it, as is the TV adaptation (which was, I think, scripted by Malcolm Bradbury and includes an unforgettable David Jason performance).

four stars


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