Sir Godber Evans - As Master of Porterhouse

As Master of Porterhouse

When the Master of Porterhouse dies without naming his successor, the College Visitor, the Queen, takes the Prime Minister's advice and appoints Sir Godber Evans as his successor. The Prime Minister sees it as an opportunity to get rid of him as his career has been marked by idealistic aspirations that generally failed to translate into effective policies. As Minister of Technological Development, he cut funding for research into superconductivity to the detriment of British industry. Sir Godber, having been pressured by his wealthy left-wing wife, Lady Mary, daughter of a Liberal Party peer, announces sweeping changes to the centuries of College tradition, much to the concern of Skullion, the Head Porter, and the Fellows, who plan a counter attack to the proposed contraceptive machines, women students, and a self-service canteen. Evans also intends to sell the row of houses where the College servants live.

Skullion contemptuously remembers Sir Godber from his student days as a grammar school boy and therefore not a proper gentleman. As the son of a butcher, young Godber was the recipient of the college's legendary snobbery, known to all as 'grammar school tyke.' Skullion is sacked for insolence by Sir Godber, and is forced to leave his home. He appears live on a television programme in which he reveals all of the College's murky secrets, to the horror of Sir Godber and the College's Senior Fellows, but to the amusement of everybody else.

Skullion returns to Cambridge, determined to ask for his job back in return for donating a large inheritance he has received to the College. He confronts Sir Godber who treats him with pity and contempt. This angers Skullion's sense of pride, and he advances menacingly on Sir Godber, who, backing away in fear, trips and bangs his head. He is found dying by the Dean and Senior Tutor and tries to tell them who is responsible. They misunderstand his meaning and believe that he has named Skullion as his successor as Master. They inform Skullion of this and he suffers a 'Porterhouse Blue', a stroke, but survives and is installed as the new Master of the College.

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