Having tackled the medical world with the cult comedy hit The Green Wing, several of the writers of that show have moved on to Channel 4’s latest sitcom, Campus.
Shot in a documentary style reminiscent of The Office, Campus even offers its own version of David Brent in the form of Kirke University Vice Chancellor, Jonty de Wolfe. From the opening moments of the pilot episode (which can still be seen on 4oD), it’s clear that Campus isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea – de Wolfe refers to Stephen Hawking as “a famously disabled spastic”.
The other characters in the series are gleefully dysfunctional – from Matt Beer, the lecturer with a penchant for sleeping with the students, to the frumpy maths lecturer Imogen Moffat.
The first episode of Campus will show Jonty de Wolfe deciding that to really put Kirke University’s name on the map, he needs to get his academic staff publishing more lucrative books – following the success of Imogen’s The True Story Of Zero. He puts bone idle Matt to work thinking of proposals for the English literature department, but Matt goes to extreme lengths to avoid finishing the task.
In the university’s administration building, a bit of innocent flirting between Nicole Huggins – the accommodation officer – and university accountant Jason Armitage, leads to a huge double salary payment that could cripple the institution. de Wolfe is less than sympathetic when he hears this news, suggesting to Jason that they need to cover up the administrative error with a grant application for the same amount.
Andy Nyman could well be the star turn in this show as the egomaniacal Vice Chancellor. You’ll see him facing off against a wheelchair-bound student, abusing his staff, encouraging a student to kill himself and even – gasp – indirectly insulting the Canadians! Classic moments include when Jonty opens up his office window and begins openly heckling students with a megaphone.
It’s all absurdly unhinged, taking the best bits from its predecessor, The Green Wing and throwing in elements of The Office and even a bit of The IT Crowd’s geeky vibe. First episode of Campus goes out on Channel 4, Tuesday 5th April 2011.
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