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I'm Loving... School-Based TV Shows

11 September 2013
I'll be honest, I hardly watch anything on TV (I'm more of a YouTube kind of guy) and even shows I used to love, fail to make me pick up the remote (or even turn my TV on at all.) What I have noticed though, is a very recurrent theme through the majority of shows I do watch - they're all based in schools.

Waterloo Road

Waterloo Road kicked off its 9th series last week, and even years down the line, had all of the ingredients of a key formulaic WR episode. There were new characters with a back story, teachers getting a bit too involved, new teachers with secrets, struggling teachers, the headteacher battling their own personal demons, resolutions, and many-a-character having 'beef' with someone - the norm really.

Last week's series premiere saw recovering alcoholic Christine Mulgrew continuing her role as headteacher, as we were introduced to new family The Browns. I won't spoil anything but they have their own little back story and dramas going on, and history teacher Audrey gets a bit too involved (RIP Tom.) Speaking of Tom, Kacey Barry finds it hard to cope with his death and its up to Nikki to help her find an outlet. There's also a couple of new teachers who are secretly in a relationship - someone grab a can-opener for this can of worms...

Educating Yorkshire

After not really clicking with its Essex-based predecessor, I saw the advert for Educating Yorkshire and immediately wanted to watch, if not for the fact I'm in love with the Yorkshire accent at the moment. We're only one episode in at the moment, spending a few days at Thornhill Community Academy, where headteacher Johnny Mitchell is trying to turn the school around, but faces numerous challenges on a daily basis.

With apparently 65 cameras rigged around the school, we get very close to the action as Johnny has to resolve issues between both pupils and the community, and enforce the rules, to only some prevail. We see him talking to the students in his office, as well as hilarious classroom and corridor interactions between the teachers and students. Fan-favourite Bailey, known as the girl who shaved off her eyebrows and draws them back on, is a personal highlight of mine, as we see her wish to become a prefect shattered by her behaviour... also look out for Ryan, who won't fail to make you go 'aww.'

Bad Education

It's shows like this that make me wish British comedies lasted longer than 6 episodes. Penned by and starring Jack Whitehall, the comedy follows terribly amazing teacher Alfie Wickers, as he gets up to mischief with his stereotype-filled class, feuds with deputy headteacher Miss Pickwell, and desperately tries to bag himself fellow teacher Miss Gulliver.

Halfway through the series we've seen dramas at a swimming competition, a fake American teacher who Alfie gets very jealous of, and an amazing prank which pushes Miss Pickwell to suicide. Cue haunting for poor Alfie. It's very rare for a comedy nowadays to have moment after moment of funny jokes, and there have even been moments when I've found myself near cry-laughing. Plus Alfie seems like the kind of teacher any of us would want for a subject like History. Just amazing...

Big School

Another amazing school-based comedy from the BBC is Big School, a show which I was a bit sceptical of initially. I imagined a watered down version of Bad Education, and wasn't expecting anything brilliant, even though it starred comedy greats such as David Walliams and Catherine Tate. I was surprised to find it was freaking hilarious.

It's a very easy watch, and the jokes don't feel as forced as you imagine they would, which is a big thumbs up for me. The characters are loveable and interesting, and you can't help but ship Mr Church (Walliams) and Miss Postern (Tate.) Add in a headteacher who just doesn't care, a randy PE teacher, a lesbian drama teacher and a hipster music teacher and you've got yourself a great comedy...
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