London, Sept 2 : In a bid to attract students from a diverse range of backgrounds, Cambridge University is trying to revamp its elitist image to a more student-friendly one - by using TV soaps.
The world-famous university's communications office has written to story editors at several major television soaps at EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale to suggest storylines that could present the university in a more student-friendly light.
The move comes in line with a plan to make the university less offputting to potential applicants.
The press officers contacted Top Gear to suggest it recreate an infamous stunt carried out by engineering students at the university who, in 1958, winched an Austin Seven on to the top of the university's 70ft-high Senate House.
The writers of 'Doctor Who' were also suggested the possibility of setting some historical scenes in the Cambridge colleges.
According to a spokesman for the university, the university had to challenge "myths" about the university before its 800th anniversary next year.
"It's about challenging myths about studying at Cambridge. People think it's an expensive place to study when in fact, because of short terms and the availability of college accommodation, the bills can be lower. We have some of the most generous student support packages around and it's an unlimited pot: we don't run out of cash," The Guardian quoted him, as saying.
While the advances have so far proved fruitless, they turned out to be too late with one soap: EastEnders.
The spokesman said: "It's really important to get a popular message across about raising young people's aspirations and showing them the range of options on offer."
He agreed that the university had a rolling programme of writing to script editors at the major soaps, and had also approached EastEnders about its storyline to make sure that it "had all the facts" about bursaries and studying at Cambridge.
The moves are part of wider efforts to shed the university's elitist image after attempts to recruit more state school students proved all but fruitless. Both Oxford and Cambridge, under heavy government scrutiny, want to increase their intake of state school students.
"Cambridge was once a privileged place and there's a timelag in changing that idea. We're regarded as an elite university and somehow we're not available to everyone. We want to encourage bright students to apply," the spokesman said.