The writers of popular comedy The Inbetweeners were slammed yesterday after they branded an historic city and its university ”second-rate” and a ”sh*thole”.
During Monday’s episode head of sixth-form Mr Gilbert threatened to ”f*ck up” sixth-form student Will’s UCAS university application.
Mr Gilbert, played by stand-up comedian Greg Davies, 40, added: ”Or its goodbye first-rate education, hello the University of Lincoln.”
Bespectacled posh boy Will McKenzie, played by Simon Bird, 26, replied: ”I’d (sic) been to Lincoln and it’s a sh*thole.”
Angry students and tourism chiefs have leapt to defend Lincoln and claim the historic city is ”fantastic” with one of the ”fastest-rising” universities in Britain.
Comedy T-shirts featuring the insult are already available to buy and thousands have joined Facebook groups to rally behind the city and its university.
Iain Morris, who co-writes the E4 show, apologised for the joke on his Twitter account after the episode was screened.
He said: ”I’m sorry. A friend went there and it was an in-joke. Sometimes the innocent suffer. What a cathedral, eh?”
The joke was screened Monday’s episode which was called ‘Will is Home Alone” and is the fifth episode in the third series of the hit comedy.
John-Paul Taylor, a second-year media production student, said: ”Lincoln may not be first rate, compared to Cambridge or Loughborough, but it’s definitely not a sh*thole.”
Lincoln University was opened by The Queen in 1996 and is ranked 62nd in the The Times Good University Guide, up from 86th place last year.
Thousands of tourists flock to Lincoln from around the globe every year to visit it’s stunning 13th century cathedral, regarded as the one of the world’s greatest gothic buildings.
Emma Tatlow, deputy chief executive of Visit Lincolnshire, said the she would be ”delighted” to show the cast and crew around the city.
She said: ”People who know and love Lincoln will have been surprised to hear the comment on The Inbetweeners on Monday night – as was I.
”We have historic attractions, fantastic boutique shopping and an event calendar to rival other cities.
”Where else can you see one of the best cathedrals in Europe within walking distance of a Norman castle?
”If the cast and crew of The Inbetweeners want to visit the city for themselves, we’d be delighted to show them around.”
The jibe has sparked a number of Facebook groups in defence of the city and its university, some with up to 3,000 members.
Ian Richards, a spokesman for the University of Lincoln, praised the display of Lincoln ‘pride’.
He said: ”The Inbetweeners is a very funny comedy series, but perhaps not the most reliable source of information on university standards.
”We’d prefer students to look at national university league tables and the National Student Survey, which show we have one of the fastest-rising universities in the country.
”We’ve been delighted by the number of people who have jumped to the defence of the university and the city on Facebook, Twitter and online message boards.”
The Inbetweeners is one of TV’s most popular shows having gained a massive following. The show, which teen pop star Justin Bieber described as “the funniest thing I have ever seen” also looks to be a hit in the states with MTV signing up to make an American version.
Next week is the last ever episode of the comedy as the foursome go camping but it’s not the last viewers will see of them – a movie where the lads go on holiday to Malia has been filmed and will be screened at a later date.