Starter for 10 (film)

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Starter for 10
Starter for ten.jpg
US release poster
Directed by Tom Vaughan
Produced by
Written by David Nicholls
Music by Blake Neely
Cinematography Ashley Rowe
Edited by Heather Persons
Distributed by Icon Film Distribution (UK)
Picturehouse (US)
Release dates
  • 10 November 2006 (2006-11-10) (UK)
  • 23 February 2007 (2007-02-23) (US)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $8,287,000[1]
Box office $1,736,394[2]

Starter for 10 is a 2006 British comedy-drama film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The film stars James McAvoy as a university student who wins a place on a University Challenge quiz team. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2006, and was released in the UK and Ireland on 10 November 2006, and in Canada and the US on 23 February 2007.


In 1985, Brian Jackson is a first-year university student and information sponge. Since his working-class childhood in Southend-on-Sea, Brian has loved the TV quiz show University Challenge, whose famous catchphrase—"Your starter for 10"—gives the film its title. Soon after arriving at Bristol University, Brian joins their University Challenge team and promptly falls for his glamorous teammate Alice, though he may be more compatible with the politically conscious Rebecca. Brian finds himself caught between his highbrow new milieu at Bristol and the culture of his straight-talking friends and family from home.



Despite being set at Bristol University, the main quad and Gustave Tuck lecture theatre of University College London were used as sets. The University of Bristol Students Union building is in fact the university's School of Chemistry. The Granada TV studios are actually at the back of BBC Television Centre: the corridor (actually leading to the BBC multi-storey car park) was transformed for a day for the filming in 2005 with the addition of a Granada logo and pictures of past stars. The buildings at the end where a demonstration was held in which Brian tells Rebecca how much he likes her is the Queen Mary Court and King William Court at the University of Greenwich. Brian's home is shown as a quaint seaside cottage, supposedly located in Westcliff-on-Sea. These scenes were actually filmed in the small village of Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, with the real Westcliff bearing little resemblance to its onscreen depiction. Clacton Pier was used for the scenes set on the pier at Southend-on-Sea.


The film received positive reviews, with an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 75 reviews; the site's consensus states: "Starter For 10 is a spirited coming-of-age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker territory. The unique setting of a quiz show makes the film wittier than your average romantic comedy."[3]


The soundtrack features music from Kate Bush, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Buzzcocks, Yazoo, Motörhead, The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Undertones, Tears for Fears, The Style Council, among others. The song "Ace of Spades", which appears at the beginning of the film, was performed by Motörhead in the "Bambi" episode of The Young Ones, filmed in Bristol, that included the University Challenge spoof.


  1. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | STARTER FOR 10 (2006)". 16 April 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Starter for 10 (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Starter For 10 at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]