Decline And Fall. Paul Pennyfeather (Jack Whitehall). Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

Decline And Fall

BBC One comedy drama adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's 1928 novel. 3 episodes (1 series) in 2017. Stars Jack Whitehall, Eva Longoria, David Suchet, Douglas Hodge and others.

Decline And Fall. Image shows from L to R: Margot Beste-Chetwynde (Eva Longoria), Paul Pennyfeather (Jack Whitehall), Dr Fagan (David Suchet).

Series 1, Episode 1

Expelled from Oxford, Paul Pennyfeather takes a position as a teacher at a substandard boarding school in rural Wales.

Further details

Paul Pennyfeather was set upon a quiet life of contemplation as a priest, so it comes as a shock when he is unceremoniously expelled from Oxford University through no fault of his own.

Without a private fortune to fall back on, Paul is forced to take a position as a teacher at a substandard boarding school in rural Wales. All too quickly it becomes apparent that Paul is not a natural disciplinarian. He finds scant comfort in drinking - too excess - with the other teachers.

Things start to look up, however, when Paul meets Margot Beste-Chetwynde, a wealthy widow and a mother to one of the boys at the school. Could it be that the attraction Paul feels for Margot is returned? Could his fortunes be changing?

Broadcast details

Friday 31st March 2017
60 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Jack Whitehall Paul Pennyfeather
Eva Longoria Margot Beste-Chetwynde
David Suchet Dr Fagan
Douglas Hodge Captain Grimes
Stephen Graham Philbrick
Vincent Franklin Predergast
Oscar Kennedy Peter Beste-Chetwynde
Gemma Whelan Diane 'Dingy' Fagan
Katy Wix Florence 'Flossie' Fagan
Matthew Beard Arthur Potts
Guest cast
Tim Pigott-Smith Sniggs
Chiké Okonkwo Chokey
Nickolas Grace Prostlethwaite
Tom Stourton Alistair Digby-Vaine-Trumpington
John Woodvine Master of the College
Michael Gould Porter Blacknall
Kevin Eldon Mr Levy
Felix Griffin Pain Tangent
Hugo Beazley Clutterbuck
Steve Speirs Davis (Station Master)
Ashley McGuire Lady Circumference
Tony Guilfoyle Vicar
Writing team
Evelyn Waugh Writer
James Wood Writer (Adapted By)
Rhian Petty Script Editor
Production team
Guillem Morales Director
Matthew Bird Producer
Ben Cavey Executive Producer
Will Gould Executive Producer
James Wood Executive Producer
Shane Allen Executive Producer
Chris Sussman Executive Producer
Frith Tiplady Executive Producer


Pennyfeather gets pranked

Pennyfeather takes his first class of students.

Featuring: Jack Whitehall (Paul Pennyfeather), Vincent Franklin (Predergast), Oscar Kennedy (Peter Beste-Chetwynde), Felix Griffin Pain (Tangent), Hugo Beazley (Clutterbuck).


Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • See 8 press clippings related to this episode
  • This episode's inital overnight ratings
  • BCG Pro business users can see additional crew credits  
    If you join BCG Pro business, you can see 1st assistant director, make-up designer, costume designer, casting director, composer, editor, production designer & director of photography credits for this episode.

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?