Win Porterhouse Blue on DVD

It's competition time again!

As promised, it’s competition time again. This time, it’s your chance to win a copy of classic Channel 4 comedy drama Porterhouse Blue on DVD.


Porterhouse Blue

In late-’80s Britain, Porterhouse College, Cambridge, is an anachronism, its students uniformly male and (in the vast number of cases) privately educated. When the incumbent Master dies (from a stroke brought on by overeating – a Porterhouse Blue) the government gets its revenge on Porterhouse by appointing as his successor an old graduate, the politician Sir Godber Evans. One of the tiny minority of state-school students the college has had forced on it over the years, Evans returns to his alma mater determined to drag this bastion of privilege into the twentieth century. The elderly academic staff cease their bickering and close ranks against him, but the new Master finds his most implacable and unscrupulous opponent in Skullion, the college porter.

First broadcast in 1987, Porterhouse Blue was based on the book by Tom Sharpe, and starred David Jason, Ian Richardson, John Sessions, Griff Rhys Jones, and a host of top notch character actors. It’s still very funny, although even at the time of broadcast, it was satirising a Cambridge University of decades past, rather than the University as it was then: there were no men-only colleges or curfews; you couldn’t move for condoms and sex advice being handed out to freshers and research students; and porters mostly rolled their eyes at any ‘young gentlemen’ who weren’t so good at actual work. It’s fairer to say it satirised the university’s latent tendencies and attitudes with a college of extremes.

Having said that, the real-life Peterhouse College was still a bit weird.

All the same, it’s still very well written, funny and some of its points still hit home, whether you’ve ever been there or not. The students who think they can solve all the world’s problems so easily – by banning sex – the academic vs sporty divide: it’s all recognisable.

Jason opened everyone’s eyes to his acting potential with his portrayal of Skullion, the most fervent of Porterhouse supporters, and Richardson’s lefty Master makes an interesting contrast to his later, more famous Machiavellian roles. Sessions is a little bit lacking as the swot who hates all the ‘young gentlemen’ and has a crush on his bedder, but he still manages to carry the b-plot well. And there’s a cracking theme song by the Flying Pickets.

At three hours run-time, it’s a little bit of a marathon but one that’s probably worth running. No extras to speak of on the DVD, but we’re used to that by now from 4dvd.

To win a copy of Porterhouse Blue, as per usual, all you have to do is leave a witty and amusing comment below or plead your case, explaining why you’re the most deserving recipient. The deadline for entries is the 18th June 2008. Good luck!

Porterhouse Blue is available for £19.99, but you can buy it from Amazon.co.uk for £9.48.

Disclaimer: I went to Cambridge University. In mitigation, I’ll just say that I did go to one of the more rubbish colleges, rather than one of the posher central ones. It’s interesting to see, incidentally – despite the fact all the Porterhouse scenes were filmed elsewhere – how much the town has changed, and how much it hasn’t. No bike ban on Trinity Street in 1987 for starters…




  • Why is it that whenever I don’t want the prize I can think of something incredibly witty to say, but daren’t, for fear of the consequences, but when I desperately want the prize, as now: niet?
    I watched this with my Dad when it first went out. I was 11 and didn’t understand a thing, but I can still sing the Porterhouse Blue song. Porterhouse, Porterhouse, to live and die in Porterhouse…

  • Sounds like pretty good pleading to me, though.
    Can you do the Latin bits?

  • No. But I don’t think anybody else really wants it, do they?

  • No. But I don’t think anybody else really wants it, do they?

  • No. But I don’t think anybody else really wants it, do they?

  • I mean, I’m going to keep saying that until you give it to me.

  • We’ll just have to wait and see – they’ve got a fortnight to make their case. Unless you meant the singing.

  • Is this the “next available news entry”? (I’m not in the Porterhouse contest because, as has been established, I have a Region One DVD player; although I adore the late lamented Ian Richardson — he was my choice for Dumbledore…)
    I’m all for a review of Wicked; we have tickets to the Broadway Across Canada version next August. I’m hoping this will take the sting out of having to return to Ottawa (where I’ve been forced to live these past eight years) from our annual retreat to our hometown of Victoria, British Columbia.
    I take it you hated it? Never mind, I know how you felt about Saving Grace

  • It’ll do… 😉
    Actually, I quite liked it. I kind of went to my happy place during most of the songs, since musicals aren’t my cup of tea really, but it was quite an interesting story, well done and with a reasonably good cast. I just wasn’t sure if anyone was interested in it, because it’s not exactly the focus of the blog and Wicked has a rep as a bit of a tourist trap.

  • You went to your happy place? Please tell me you didn’t take your Spanish guitar…

  • It would have clashed with the orchestra. Instead, it was the aria from Madame Butterfly.
    Are there any Steven Moffat fans in the house?

  • Mah name is GISelle, and ah’m a Fraanch beetch! K’shew! K’shew!

  • Ah. There you are, Moff fan!

  • Marie, you’re not the only one. I want it too, mainly because it was rather fun watching my dad who was rather correct grappling with the fact that he’d enjoyed something which featured a chimney and exploding condoms, but also David Jason whom he liked…
    Also I associate PB with my early married days and as my husband introduced me to Tom Sharpe via The Throwback first, I think I deserve it.
    I have just realised though. We actually own this. On video, but nonetheless. Marie’s case is perhaps more needy.
    PS I liked the Porterhouse song too. And the swans. And the exploding condoms. Oh bugger it. I liked it all…

  • Ooh. Multiple entries for a Tea Mine competition. The world must be coming to an end.
    Saying you have a copy already does somewhat diminish your case though.

  • Oh, can’t I be greedy then???
    Btw, not sure I’d agree that Ian Richardson didn’t have his machiavellian side in this. To begin with you’re sort of on his side against the old guard, but then seeing how he outmanoeuvres them you realise what a slimy shit he is too. And thinking about it, his wife also reminds me now of Cherie Blair…

  • Jane and I know each other so we could share. As she’s already got one I might beg for custody, but I’d definitely lend it to her. C’mon, this is convincing stuff.

  • See? Marie knows how to plead.
    Anyway, there’s a fortnight to go and of the two entries so far, yours are the two best.

  • Oh dear. When does this start becoming undignified? I am grateful to Marie’s generosity, but I would like to point out that though I do indeed already possess PB, it is in a near defunct technology, so I might just possibly need an upgrade.
    PS Marie, I’d share back. Honest.

  • Don’t make me get out my Sword of Solomon.

  • Electric Dragon

    I should get it because that’s the only way to stop Marie and Jane arguing about who gets custody on which days, in a scene reminiscent of Bart, Milhouse and Martin’s dispute over Radioactive Man #1.

  • Bagsy I’m Bart.

  • Does that mean I’ve lost? I haven’t seen that episode, dare I say I’ll be Milhouse?

  • You’ve a fortnight. Plead harder.
    That goes for anyone else who wants the DVD!

  • Pingback: The Medium is Not Enough TV blog()

  • Mary Preston

    Good evening, I’m not an alien just Australian. Despite this unfortunate fact I’m rather civilised & therefore I deserve to be rewarded.
    That’s right just hand it over & back away slowly.
    It is cold & wet here & I am in a grey fug.
    Deliver me.

  • Nice try, but the deadline was the 18th of June and the winners have already been decided (as noted in the “Updates and related entries” section above). Thanks for trying though and better luck next time!