Much of the play is based around Alan Bennett’s own experiences in the sixth form, which were in the 1950s. So although the play is set in the 1980s, the pop culture references, for example the films, are all from the 1940s and 50s. The play has been criticised for its anachronisms. It is also unlikely that a grammar school in the 1980s would never have sent students to Oxbridge before. These detract from the realism of the play, but not from its themes.