Campus Review: Vice-Chancellor Brent

November 5, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

3CAMPUS: Friday 6th November, Channel 4, 10pm ALERT ME

As they sat in the union bemoaning a seven hour-a-week schedule, pretty much every student must have decided to write a sitcom about their hilarious life at university.

Great nights out and lazy days watching Countdown – such an existence seemed ripe for comedy.

For some reason, they never considered writing about the lecturers themselves, which is odd because you really couldn’t hope to meet a stranger group of people than the collection of post-grads who fumbled between seminars wearing inexplicable jackets.

Luckily, the writers of Green Wing made the connection and their new creation is a brand new comedy about the unlucky people left to run the fictional Kirke University. As you might expect, Campus (the first in a series of one-off comedy showcases) is brash, ridiculous and in a warped kind of fashion, quite funny.

Derren Brown’s mate Andy Nyman steals the show as the fatuously egotistical Vice-Chancellor Jonty De Wolfe and like many comic creations he owes a great deal to David Brent (even a dodgy beard).

But thankfully the creators have succeeded in giving this sexually-obsessed hamster a slightly different and far more extravagant line in deluded trash-chat.

So when he explains how he rears like a porpoise during sex and shows us his Goldfingeresque scale-model of the university, we begin to understand where the tubby madman is coming from.

Even more unrealistically, English professor Matt Beer does less work and sleeps with more undergraduates than the biggest party-animal at this crummy ex-poly – in reality, freshers would be hammering on the door of the fees office before they had time to spunk their student loans.

All this extreme characterisation is pretty good fun though and the writers have just about managed to add another layer to the Office model by painting De Wolfe as an utterly self-indulgent power-muppet (he even tries to persuade a student to commit suicide).

If you enjoyed the Green Wing, you will probably enjoy this and even though we have seen it before, Andy Nyman’s lead is pretty memorable.

Sean Marland