The Inbetweeners, Big School, Bad Education -all recent comedies set in UK schools.
I guess it must be the British fascination with the class system. The classroom provides the perfect microcosm to explore the various distinctions.
In Bad Education -not to be confused with the Almodovar film of the same name- is set at Abbey Grove public school and is created by its star, Jack Whitehall.
Whitehall plays teacher, Alfie Wickers, who’s only a few years older than his mostly-apathetic students. Alfie is arguably more indifferent than all of them. He arrives at school with a hangover, can’t be bothered teaching, is rude to his students. Alfie is full of wry comebacks and cheeky gags, be it to students or his fellow teachers. Anything to avoid real work.
Not unlike David Walliams’ affections for Catherine Tate in Big School, Alfie is hopelessly in love with the demure Head of Biology Miss Gulliver (Sarah Solemani). He has plenty of front and charm, but not a lot of cool.
Headmaster Teacher Fraser (Mathew Horne, in a particularly bad wig) also has eyes for Miss Gulliver. Yet if Alfie has plenty of attitude, then Fraser is little more than a bachelor with bad jokes.
The upcoming Parent – Teacher night becomes the battleground for both men to claim her as his prize.
But stoic Deputy Headmistress Miss Pickwell (Michelle Gomez), who is as regimented as they come, is insisting Alfie mark his students papers or his entire class will fail.
The students are a ragtag bunch of teens who are either troublemakers, brainiacs, gay or no-hopers, but all give good performances in supporting roles.
The premise for the series is unashamedly light and so is the plot. The characters are fairly two-dimensional and the gags are amusing rather than laugh out loud.
Yet Whitehall is effective in the role and that’s what will make this a summer diversion.
Bad Education airs 9pm Thursday, 2 January on ABC2.