Since the disappointing third series of Outnumbered, I’ve been searching for a new British comedy to sink my teeth into. Not searching very hard perhaps, distracted by trying to catch up on seven seasons of How I Met Your Mother, but searching all the same. So when Bad Education, Jack Whitehall’s latest comedic endeavour, appeared in my iPlayer recommendations, I decided to give it a shot.
Despite Whitehall being the star of the show, as posh and clueless history teacher Alfie Wickers, it is the supporting cast who really shine. His class, including flirtatious Chantelle (Nikki Runeckles) who spends her time dropping not-so-subtle hints about age gaps in relationships, outrageously camp Steven who attempts to come out during sex education class and wonders why no-one is surprised, and Joe (Ethan Lawrence) who constantly finds himself being talked into Alfie’s hare-brained schemes. Whilst they steal the show, Alfie moons after the boring Miss Gulliver (Sarah Solemani) and indulges in horesplay with Fraser (Matthew Horne), the school’s headmaster, who is so uncool that it’s actually painful to watch. The star of the teachers is terrifying deputy Miss Pickwell (Michelle Gomez), one of whose star moments involves taking her class to an abattoir on a school trip.
Some of Bad Education‘s jokes do fall flat, but those are the ones which are pushed too forcefully upon the audience. Those which were introduced a little more subtly, such as the wall display featuring Anne Boleyn and Princess Diana under the heading ‘Hot Babes Through The Ages’, did succeed in raising a laugh. In fact, the three episodes of Bad Education which I watched raised enough laughs that I will be watching until the end of the series. It’s not a patch on Outnumbered, but it’s enjoyable all the same.
All six episodes of Bad Education are available on iPlayer. Episode 1 expires on September 26.