1 9 8 1 (UK)
2 x 60 minute episodes
1 x 50 minute episode
1 x 56 minute episode
The History Man was based on Professor Malcolm Bradbury’s cynical, satirical novel about a trendy 1970s Marxist lecturer, and featured some of the longest and most daring nude scenes to date.
Antony Sher played philandering and scheming Zapata-moustached sociology lecturer Howard Kirk, marking his students’ papers according to how left-wing they professed to be and bedding almost every female at the (fictitious) University of Watermouth.
Geraldine James was tremendously affecting as Barbara, his sad, disenchanted wife. They had an ‘open’ marriage, but it was clear that she felt it was wearing thin; Howard made himself less and less available as the number of his dalliances increased (usually accompanied, appropriately enough, to an aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni).
Isla Blair also stood out as the cool and calculating social psychologist Flora.
The main plot focused on Howard’s potential dismissal for ‘moral turpitude’ (for sleeping with a student), but the story’s thematic underpinnings anatomised the student revolutionary movements in the 1970s, which displayed less of the previous decade’s sense of optimism as money became scarcer and industrial action increasingly common.
Episodes also featured the tragic comic episodes of Howard’s accident-prone colleague, Henry Beamish (Paul Brooke).
The series was actually filmed at the University of Lancaster.