University of Birmingham - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

David Lodge's novel Changing Places tells the story of exchange of professors between the universities of Rummidge and Euphoric State, Plotinus, thinly disguised fictional versions of Birmingham and UC Berkeley, which in the book both have replicas of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on campus.

The university campus has been used as a filming location for a number of film and television productions, particularly those of the BBC which has a presence at the university's Selly Oak campus, the BBC Drama Village. Scenes from the John Cleese film Clockwise were filmed at the campus' east entrance, while several episodes of the BBC detective series Dalziel and Pascoe, daytime soap Doctors and CBBC series Brum have been filmed in and around campus. Interior and exterior scenes for a BBC adaptation of Birmingham alumnus David Lodge's novel Nice Work and BBC comedy drama A Very Peculiar Practice were also shot in and around the University campus and halls of residence with a number of students appearing as extras. A trailer for the BBC's Red Nose Day 2007, featuring Lou and Andy from Little Britain, was filmed near the School of Biosciences. More recently, an episode of the BBC show Hustle was filmed on campus with interior and exterior shots of the Aston Webb building, in addition to internal shots of the School of Biosciences.

Post punk band Joy Division played their final gig at the University High Hall on 2 May 1980 (now known as Chamberlain Hall), 16 days before the suicide of singer/songwriter, Ian Curtis. A recording of the performance accompanies the Still compilation album. It includes one of only two available recordings of the song "Ceremony" (the other being a demo rehearsal), which later became a single for New Order. Fairport Convention recorded much of the live album "Farewell, Farewell" at Lake Hall during the May Ball on 11 May 1979, using the Island Records mobile studio.

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