Mature students in popular culture

I’m currently working on an article based on a series of interviews I’ve done with older mature (40+) students. I’m keen to explore the experiences of this group of students, who I think have a very different experience of university than the majority of mature students (21+).

As I was re-writing the introduction I decided that I wanted to mention something about when mature students emerged as a policy issue, and this led on to thinking about when they emerged into popular culture.

Obviously there is the film Educating Rita (1983), which was based on the 1980 play of the same name, but I couldn’t think of anything else.

So I asked the twitter hivemind:

I ended up getting a few responses which I thought I’d note here, in the hope of getting some more over time!

A few people mentioned the Young Ones, and Mike in particular

When I looked at information about the show I didn’t see any explicit mentions of Mike as a mature student, although in an interview Rik Mayall did describe him as the father figure in the dysfunctional nuclear family.

In terms of the cast, the actors would be classified as mature students when the series started, Adrian Edmondson (25), Rik Mayall (24), Nigel Planer (29) and Christopher Ryan who played Mike and was 32 when the season started. So he was a bit older than the rest of the cast, who were already quite a bit older than the traditional student intake anway.

The only other suggestion was a slightly obscure one about Russ Abbot which I’d love to hear more about

So that’s it so far. I’d love to hear about any other representations of mature students, perhaps in literature or music? Or of course more TV and film representations. I haven’t actually seen Educating Rita yet, so I guess I’d better get on to that as well!

About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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