A Very Peculiar Practice, 1986
Comedy-drama from the BBC . A Very Peculiar Practice ran for two series of seven episodes each in 1986 and 1988.
Reputedly, writer Andrew Davies discovered that he owed the BBC approximately £17,000. This was as a result of him being commissioned and paid to write a TV project that he did not deliver. Davies decided that the best means of paying the debt was to write a new series. Inspired by his experiences as a lecturer at the University of Warwick the project became “A Very Peculiar Practice”.
Hugh Grant makes one of his first television appearances, as an evangelical preacher in the series and Kathy Burke also had a bit part.
In 1992, a one off TV film sequel “A Very Polish Practice” again written by Davies was also screened on BBC2.
The story revolves around a young doctor, Stephen Daker (Peter Davison), who takes up a post as a member of a university medical centre.
The centre is staffed by a group of misfits including the bisexual Rose Marie (Barbara Flynn), self-absorbed Bob Buzzard (David Troughton), and decrepit Scot, Jock McCannon (Graham Crowden) who heads the team.
In line with many TV shows of the time, the series touches on the increasing commercialisation of higher education in Britain following the government cuts of the early 1980’s.
Vice-Chancellor Ernest Hemmingway (John Bird) is portrayed trying to woo Japanese investors in the face of resistance from the academic old guard.
In series 2, an American Vice-Chancellor Jack Daniels (Michael J Shannon) took over from Hemingway, continuing the running joke of naming the VC after a famous American (although the whiskey brewer’s name was Jack Daniel).
Created and Written By: Andrew Davies
Original Transmission Dates:
21st May 1986 – 2nd July 1986 (series1), 2nd March 1988 – 13th April 1988 (series 2)