1 9 8 2 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This Thames comedy was Arthur Lowe’s last television series, made shortly before his death on 16 April 1982 and screened posthumously.
The role was just right for him, combining a gentle humour with the subtle blend of bumble, pleasant foolishness, earnestness and pomposity that Lowe had so perfected in Dad’s Army and Bless Me, Father.
His role was that of a magnanimous mortar-boarded mathematics master at Burgrove, a boys’ preparatory school in rural Wilminster, in the 1940s.
A J (Arthur James) Wentworth is keen on school pride but poor at disciplining his boys, and both his kindliness and accident-prone nature are taken advantage of by the boys of 3A.
Just as bad, his ways are not entirely understood by his fellow teachers or the snobbish headmaster (nicknamed ”Squid” by the boys), nor by Matron, Wentworth’s sworn enemy.
The episodes were adapted by Basil Boothroyd from the finely crafted pieces written by his contemporary, H F Ellis, which first appeared in the magazine Punch and were subsequently compiled into two books, The Papers Of A J Wentworth, BA (published 1949) and The Papers Of A J Wentworth, BA (Ret’d) (1962).
The pair were combined into a single edition in 1980.
Arthur Lowe had read selections from the books in the daily literary slot in the BBC radio programme Woman’s Hour, and, entirely appropriately, one of the A J Wentworth pieces was read by Harry Andrews – the veteran stage and screen actor who played the headmaster in this sitcom – at Lowe’s memorial service.
A J Wentworth BA
Headmaster (Rev R Gregory Saunders)
A Day In The Life Of AJ Wentworth BA | Mud Larks | Problems, Problems | 3A Goes To War | Founder’s Day | The Outsider