Lowlands University is a swamp of fear and loathing. A showpiece Sixties campus looking increasingly anachronistic in the paranoid, profit-driven Eighties, it is staffed by angst-ridden academics desperate to hang onto their privileged status amid swinging cutbacks. It also houses what may well be the worst medical practice in the British Isles. Fresh-faced Stephen Daker (Peter Davison) sees his new job at the Medical Centre as a chance to pursue excellence among a dedicated team. He s somewhat shaken when he meets his colleagues: the once-great Jock McCannon (Graham Crowden), practice head, proponent of alternative psychiatry, and a wildly unpredictable dipsomaniac; public school-educated fascist Bob Buzzard (David Troughton); and Rose Marie (Barbara Flynn), an uber-feminist who sees illness as something men do to women. Dark secrets, sinister experiments, demented academics, STD epidemics, the Yankee Dollar, a desperate Creative with writer's block and a couple of nuns all conspire to make life on campus a hair-raising experience for Stephen. Andrew Davies surreal, searingly funny look at sexual politics, medical malpractice and academic rivalry at the height of the Thatcher era won huge acclaim and a BAFTA nomination for Best Drama Series. This set comprises both series and A Very Polish Practice, the 1992 sequel film which finds Stephen coping with life in post-Communism Warsaw.
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Twenty five (or so) years on, the several series in this set and their underlying themes are just as apposite as they were then. The principal characters in A Very Peculiar Practice may be chosen to represent particular personalities and attitudes, but they are extremely well played.
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