Starter for 10

Synopsis: In 1985, against the backdrop of Thatcherism, Brian Jackson enrolls in the University of Bristol, a scholarship boy from seaside Essex with a love of knowledge for its own sake and a childhood spent watching "University Challenge," a college quiz show. At Bristol he tries out for the Challenge team and falls under the spell of Alice, a lovely blond with an extensive sexual past. He's smitten, and he carelessly manages to hurt the feelings of Rebecca Epstein, a friend whose politics and wit he admires. The Challenge finale is coming up; maybe Brian can redeem himself and still avoid being a prat.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Tom Vaughan
Production: Picturehouse
  1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

Ever since I can remember,

I've wanted to be clever.

Some people are born clever the same way

some people are born beautiful.

I'm not one of those people.

I've had to work at it.

If there's a question,

I have to know the right answer.

Crystalline or glassy in appearance, which

of the three principal classes of rock

is formed by the cooling of

molten earth material?

What do you reckon, Brian?


- Is it igneous?

- Igneous is correct.

That was nearly right.

Derived from the Greek words

for wing and finger,

what name is given to a flying lizard

of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods?


- Cronin, Oxford.

- Is it a Pterodactyl?

- Pterodactyl is correct.

- Yes!

Clever little thing, aren't you?

As Francis Bacon once said,

knowledge is power.

Which is why I want to know everything.

I want to know about Plato

and Newton, Tolstoy and Bob Dylan.

What the words "dialectic"

and "peripatetic" mean.

I want to know why people actually like jazz.

If I'm going to find the answers,

I need to be in a place where people have

a passion for knowledge,

think it's important. Sacred, even.

That's why I hope you'll accept

my application to this university.

So, was that the correct answer?

Well, it's not really a question of correct

or incorrect, but it's certainly been...


I think that's everything, Brian.

Thank you.

We'll see you in October, Mr Jackson.


So this is it. I made it.

Of course, there are going to be

some pretty big changes.

Leaving home, moving to a new city

away from people I've known all my life

and friends who've always supported me.

You're not gonna turn into

a wanker, are you?


I mean, you're not gonna get

all poncey, start saying, "One does"

and wearing a cloak and talking Latin.

Yes, Tone.

That's exactly what's gonna happen.

- Let's get out of here.

- All right.

Oi, slow down.

Why do we always have to listen to this?

- Because...

- Because what?

- 'Cause it's Motrhead.

- And?

And the Head rule.

Because you say so?

'Cause it's my ghetto blaster.

- Which ghetto is that, then, Tone?

- It's Westcliff on Sea.

Yeah, good one, Bri.

Tell you what, why don't you

stick on a bit of Kate Bush, yeah?

We'll have a really good dance,

listening to Kate Bush, yeah?

We'll have a really good time, we'll listen

to Kate Bush, have a great dance, yeah?

Bloody hell, Spencer!

I did this for you.

Trick your new mates

into thinking you got some taste.

Cheers, Spence. That's amazing.

It's only a tape, bro.

There's no need to get all gay about it.

So, you think you will retake your exams or...

- Oh, don't start.

- Start what?

The careers guidance.

- I think it's a waste, that's all.

- F*** off, it's waste.

Sitting on your arse for three years

reading poems, that's a waste.

It's not just about that.

It's about life experience.

Expanding your mind,

grappling with the big questions.

- Making exciting new friends.

- As opposed to boring old ones?

- I didn't say that, did I?

- I'm fine as I am, thanks, Brian.

Besides, there's always Tone

to debate the weighty issues of the day.

Never get that again. Thanks, mate.

- Best tape I ever made...

- Let's get him. the sea. What?

No. Hang on. What...

- Let's get him!

- Right!

That's it!

Spencer! Take it easy.

- Is that what you're wearing?

- You don't mind, do you?

No. No, no, of course not.

No, it's very smart.

- Now, bread, do you need bread?

- I'll get bread there.

- Chip pan?

- I'll miss the train, Mum.

- Don't drink too much.

- I won't if you won't.

And don't be cheeky.

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David Nicholls

David Nicholls was born in 1966 in Hampshire, England. He is a writer and actor, known for One Day (2011), Starter for 10 (2006) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). He is married to Hanna. They have two children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Starter for 10" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 29 Nov. 2021. <>.

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