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Cambridge Wants Soaps to Go Old School

The King's College quad at Cambridge, where officials are courting soap operas to help change the school's elite image.
The King's College quad at Cambridge, where officials are courting soap operas to help change the school's elite image. (By Graham Barclay -- Bloomberg News)

Cambridge is hoping for something a little more contemporary from its latest initiative.

Hayman said so far there have been no firm commitments from TV producers, although one crew was planning an exploratory visit to Cambridge.

But he is pleased by a current story line in "EastEnders" that has working-class teenagers Tamwar Masood and Libby Fox considering applying to Cambridge and Oxford, to the delight of their ambitious mothers.

"It's a very happy coincidence," Hayman said.

Oxford University said it had no plans to write to TV producers -- but it, too, has been watching the soaps.

"I did speak to somebody at 'EastEnders' about our bursary [scholarship] scheme in case the story line was going to continue," said a spokeswoman on the condition of anonymity in line with university policy. "We wanted to make sure they knew what kind of assistance might be available to someone like Libby."

"EastEnders" said the characters of Tamwar and Libby had another year of high school to complete and it was too early to say whether the Oxford-Cambridge plot would continue.

Cambridge, which celebrates its 800th birthday next year, has also approached the sci-fi series "Doctor Who" about filming in the university's ancient colleges, and suggested the automotive show "Top Gear" re-create a 1958 stunt in which undergraduates hoisted a vintage Austin Seven van atop the university's Senate House.


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