Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall

Series 1 - Episode 1



There’s a cheeky, knowing addition to Evelyn Waugh’s peerless comic novel. It’s a pig’s head that most certainly did not appear in the book’s opening passage, when innocent theology student Paul Pennyfeather is stripped naked by the louts of Oxford University’s Bollinger Club.

The “Bolly” yobs are an exclusive club of braying, vandalising toffs (sound familiar?) who lead to the hapless Pennyfeather’s downfall. Jack Whitehall is perfectly cast as the wide-eyed, serious young man who is sent down after the unfortunate incident in the quad, and ends up teaching subjects he knows nothing about at a terrible Welsh public school.

The cast is magnificent – Stephen Graham as Philbrick, the sinister butler, Vincent Franklin as the bewigged “Prendy” and Douglas Hodge as the one-legged and quite shameless Captain Grimes. The adaptation is completely faithful, too, as Paul falls headfirst for the lovely Mrs Beste-Chetwynde (“Beast Cheating”) played by Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria.


Jack Whitehall, David Suchet, Eva Longoria, Tim Pigott-Smith and Douglas Hodge lead an all-star cast in James Wood's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's comic novel. Oxford University divinity student Paul Pennyfeather is wrongly dismissed for indecent exposure, having been made the victim of a prank. He seeks employment at an obscure public school in Wales, where he encounters the glamorous mother of one of the pupils. For Paul it is love at first sight, but little does he know the surprises that lie ahead of him when he agrees to tutor her son over the summer holidays.

Cast & Crew

Sniggs Tim Pigott-Smith
Prostlethwaite Nickolas Grace
Alistair Digby-Vaine-Trumpington Tom Stourton
Arthur Potts Matthew Beard
Paul Pennyfeather Jack Whitehall
Porter Blacknall Michael Gould
Mr Levy Kevin Eldon
Philbrick Stephen Graham
Grimes Douglas Hodge
Peter Beste-Chetwynde Oscar Kennedy
Dr Fagan David Suchet
Florence Fagan Katy Wix
Diane Fagan Gemma Whelan
Tangent Felix Griffin Pain
Clutterbuck Hugo Beazley
Prendergast Vincent Franklin
Margot Beste-Chetwynde Eva Longoria
Davis (Station master) Steve Speirs
Lady Circumference Ashley McGuire
Chokey Chike Okonkwo
Master of the college John Woodvine
Vicar Tony Guilfoyle
Adapted By James Wood
Director Guillem Morales
Producer Matthew Bird
Writer Evelyn Waugh
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