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Oxford on Camera: The Sheldonian

Sheldonian_Theatre
Image: Public Domain

What would you do, if you had the telepathic power to read and control minds across the globe? Complete a P.H.D in Anthropology and take up a two-year residence at Pembroke College Oxford? No, that wasn’t going to be my answer either.

But that’s what Charles Xavier aka Professor X did. Before he became a no-good hippy and opened up his New York Mansion to the disaffected mutant youth, the son of nuclear physicist Brian Xavier racked up a pretty impressive academic CV, completing doctorates at Oxford in Genetics, Biophysics, Psychology, and Anthropology, before moving to Columbia where he held an Adjunct Professorship. Indeed Charles is not the only renaissance man (or woman) amongst the X-Men’s numbers. His fellow telepath Jean Grey was also the daughter of academics and before her resurrection by solar radiation found time to complete a masters in Pyschology, whilst the furry-handed feline known as Beast made use of the Epicurean serenity of Professor X’s New England abode to pursue interests ranging from Proust to particle physics.

In X-Men: First Class James McAvoy is seen leaving a quintessentially English pub called The Eagle, exiting onto Broad Street and a shot of the Sheldonian Theatre. Charles has just revealed his mind-reading powers to Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), who enlists him to help the CIA against the threat of Nuclear Apocalypse posed by Sebastian Shaw. Savouring one last look at his cosy collegiate lifestyle with its stable teaching position and subsidised hall food, he takes his side in the Cold War. Sadly, though, tourists won’t be able to raise a glass to this famous fictional patron, since the cosy pub was nothing more than a façade constructed and disassembled next to the Bridge of Sighs.

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