Acorn Media has just released a Boxed DVD set of this excellent mini series that originally aired on Channel Four (England) in 1987. It is based on Tom Sharpe’s best selling satirical novel of the same name. Porterhouse Blue takes a long hard and very, very funny look at an institution of higher learning, the fictitious Porterhouse College in Cambridge, England. Porterhouse College is steeped in 500 years of tradition, most of which revolve around gross self indulgence and orgies of food and drink. After the expiration of a ‘Master’ a new one is appointed Sir Godber Evans (Ian Richardson), who has a very clear agenda of cleaning up Porterhouse and bringing it kicking and screaming into the 20th century. These radical changes do not sit well with the faculty, and maybe most importantly  the head porter Skullian (David Jason).

Skullian is the very backbone of this establishment, he is also the eyes and ears of the college, there is very little that goes on that devious Skullian is not aware of, in fact much of it he instigates. Sir Godber has found a true adversary who threatens to thwart his attempts at reform.

There is a superb sub-plot involving Mr. Zipster (John Sessions) a student at the illustrious Porterhouse and his attempt to dispose of 4 large boxes of condoms. While not wanting to give the punch line away I think it would be safe to say this leads to an explosive climax!

The acting and videography is superb, this is a classic Brit comedy/drama and well worth the price of admission. I have always considered the Brits to be the masters of satirical and biting dialog and this one rates as one of the finest examples I can think of. Unfortunately some of the dark dry wit may not translate easily into the North American market, I noticed that dialog I found rib splitting was lost on my wife. An example of that being one point when these incredibly pompous aristocrats are discussing the importance of tradition and reveal that Cambridge University has been “Responsible for Prime Ministers, Cabinet Members, Mathematicians, Physicists, and some of the worlds best spies”!  This was obviously a barb at Kim Philby and his happy band that spied for the Russians in the 50’s.

This is a DVD set that I know I will watch again, and I am sure that I will find it even funnier than the first time. You can order your copy of Porterhouse Blues from Acorn.

Jan (my wife and co reviewer) give this one ‘two gas inflated condoms up’! 

Simon Barrett  

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