Semi-autobiographical TV play by Dennis Potter, from the BBC's 'Wednesday Play' series. It deals with the experiences of Nigel Barton, a young man from a poor mining community who wins a scholarship to Oxford University. The villagers accuse him of snobbery, while the rich University students treat him like a peasant. Uncertain of which sphere he should be moving in, Nigel tries to reconcile himself with his proud but stubborn father, and also succeed at University, despite its pretentions which apall him.- Written by D.Giddings <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dennis Potter mined his own Oxford-educated, working-class origins for this drama of miner's son Nigel Barton, intercutting between Nigel's relationship with his family, his grade-school isolation in a rural mining community and his encounter at Oxford with class prejudice. Nigel's Oxford Union debating skills lead to an interview on a BBC program, "Class in Britain," where he states, "Yes. Class does matter to me. It matters intensely ... I travel between two utterly different worlds ... yet I find my own father looking oddly at me sometimes ... Watching me like a hawk. I don't feel at home in either place. I don't belong. It's like a tightrope between two worlds, and I'm walking it." But the frankness of the interview causes father and son to be "separated by a mutual anxiety." Potter stated, "I wanted, needed! to be able to dramatize a young man who by accident and examination, has been dragged so far up the education ladder that he fetched up that medieval enclave called Oxford." To link past and present, the adult Nigel and the child Nigel were portrayed by the same actor (Keith Barron), and Potter avoided familiar flashback conventions by structuring scenes so that the "present was not the norm out of which one lurched cumbrously back into previous times."- Written by Bhob Stewart <email@example.com>
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