Bad Education (TV series)

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Bad Education
Bad education.jpg
Format Sitcom
Created by Jack Whitehall
Written by Jack Whitehall
Freddy Syborn
Dan Swimer
Directed by Christine Gernon
Starring Jack Whitehall
Mathew Horne
Michelle Gomez
Sarah Solemani
Samantha Spiro
Leila Hoffman
Nikki Runeckles
Jack Bence
Kae Alexander
Ethan Lawrence
Charlie Wernham
Jack Binstead
Layton Williams
Composer(s) Vince Pope
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Ben Cavey
Producer(s) Pippa Brown
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Tiger Aspect Productions
Distributor Endemol UK
Original channel BBC Three
Picture format 1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
Original run 14 August 2012 (2012-08-14) – present
External links

Bad Education is a British sitcom produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Three. It stars Jack Whitehall as young teacher Alfie Wickers – "the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system" – at the fictional Abbey Grove School, in Watford, Hertfordshire.[1] Mathew Horne plays Fraser, the headmaster of the fictional school alongside him.

At the time of the series launch it broke BBC Three's record for the highest-rated first episode of a comedy, which was previously held by Horne & Corden, but is now held by Cuckoo.[2][3] The second series premiered on BBC iPlayer on 27 August 2013, a week before the television air date of 3 September,[4] as part of BBC Three's plans to premiere all its scripted comedy programmes online.[5] This experiment proved successful, as the first episode of the second series received 1.5 million requests prior to its television airing.[6] A Christmas special aired on 17 December 2013.[7]

On 11 June 2014, Jack Whitehall announced via his Twitter account that the third series had gone into production for broadcast at the end of 2014.[8]


The series focuses on Alfie Wickers (Whitehall), a posh, newly graduated secondary school history teacher at the fictional Abbey Grove School, in or near Watford, Hertfordshire.

Ever determined to impress his crush, Rosie Gulliver (Solemani), Wickers makes repeated efforts to appear "cool", such as coaching the school football team, organising a weapons amnesty and fielding a candidate for the school elections. Usually, in these efforts, he will turn to his class (particularly Joe, the "teacher's pet"), despite their open disrespect for him, for help.

At the same time, Wickers finds himself having to deal with the shenanigans of his eccentric headmaster, Shaquille "Simon" Fraser (Horne) and meet the expectations of his deputy headmistress, Professor Celia Green (Spiro), and her predecessor, Isobel Pickwell (Gomez).


On 23 August 2012, it was announced that Bad Education would have a second series.[9] The second series began airing on BBC Three on 3 September 2013.[4] Part of the second series has been filmed at St. Michael's Catholic High School, Finchley, London. Bad Education was also partly filmed at the former site of Ashmount Primary School on Hornsey Lane on 12 and 13 May 2013.[citation needed]. Scenes were also filmed at the former Salesian College in Battersea, South West London.



  • Alfred Frufrock "Alfie" Wickers (portrayed by Jack Whitehall) is a history teacher at Abbey Grove School. He has a hard time managing and disciplining his students and is often mocked and bullied by them, but frequently recruits them to help rescue him from difficult situations. His classes are unusual, using teaching techniques such as Class Wars (re-enacted battles with tables as trenches and wheelchairs as tanks) and seances to summon the spirit of Hitler in his lessons. Though he pretends in front of the staff that he fully respects school rules, he frequently lets his students break them and breaks them himself. Born 17 June 1988 he attended the posh Middleton House school, where he was often bullied by students and staff, something he is still quite embarrassed and insecure about. Before working at Abbey Grove, he worked at a B&Q home improvement store. He is terrible at football and athletics in general, but is an accomplished Irish dancer. Alfie has a big crush on one of his fellow teachers, Rosie Gulliver, and spends a lot of time trying to figure out ways to impress her, though he is frequently unsuccessful. He is horrified when his father Martin Stool (Enfield) starts a relationship with his old flame and Abbey Grove's new Deputy Headmistress Professor Celia Green. Alfie later learns that Martin and Celia are engaged. Though outraged at this at first, he later accepts it, since Celia makes his father happy. He is also shown to be a fan of Michael Bublé and was given his album Christmas from Rosie in the Christmas Special.
  • Shaquille "Simon" Fraser (portrayed by Mathew Horne) is the Headmaster of Abbey Grove. He is eccentric, often ridiculous, and generally unsuited for the position which he holds. He fancies himself quite a clever person and enjoys wordplay and metaphor, though it embarrasses his staff frequently. In the season premiere, he shows some romantic interest in Rosie Gulliver, but does not pursue it. On several occasions he has shown that he is bad at communicating with parents and is insensitive to religious and racial issues, such as when he mistakenly believed England had instituted a religious items ban in the school and went around confiscating crucifixes from students, and when he said the word nigger to a black person whilst attempting to be a rapper. He is generally unfazed by such incidents and has a very casual attitude about them. In the season 1 finale, he undergoes a review by the educational board when a video of him accidentally showing an inappropriate video to students goes viral. In Series 2, he is conned for all the school's remaining finances, meaning that they are forced to make 'swingeing' cuts. He is continually undermined by Professor Green and was undermined by Pickwell before her.
  • Isobel Pickwell (portrayed by Michelle Gomez) was the Deputy Headmistress at Abbey Grove. She is a very severe woman who believes in rigid discipline. Alfie often compares her to an SS Officer and makes fun of her fascist tendencies. She is deeply conservative and religious, with contempt towards what she believes are Rosie's attempts to turn the school into a "hippie commune". During her own sexual education class, she reads passages from the bible that forbid premarital sex to her students. Her classroom and office are dark and bleak, with the only decorations being various pictures of conservative leaders and fascist heads of state. She frequently schemes for more power, and nearly succeeds in unseating Fraser as Headmaster in the finale, until Alfie's students prove that she's been stealing money from the school by lying about her expenses. Alfie and Rosie blackmail her into telling the board that Fraser is an excellent headmaster in exchange for them not exposing her. In the same episode, she reveals that she hasn't cried since 1990 - "when [Thatcher] was hounded out of office by her own party." In Series 2, upon learning of Rosie's relationship with Alex Scott, she secretly confesses to having previous lesbian relationships and attempts unsuccessfully to flirt with Rosie. Later in the series, she leaves the school to live with her penpal, "The Beast of Bergendorff", a German dentist who lives in Argentina. In "Funeral", her ringtone is revealed to be "California Love". She returns in the Series 2 finale and buys Alfie at a man auction for £25,000, enough to save Abbey Grove. She reveals she has become a millionaire as her penpal mysteriously died and she inherited all his fortune.
  • Rosie Gulliver (portrayed by Sarah Solemani) is the biology teacher at Abbey Grove School. She is one of the few teachers who takes pride in inspiring and teaching her students things. She is passionate about charity work, animal rights, human rights, feminism, and the struggles of people with disabilities. When teachers are asked to do a sexual education class, she is the only one who leads a frank discussion of human sexuality and shows acceptance and support of the changes that students are going through. When mistakenly believing Alfie was sexually abused by a teacher at Middleton House when he attended it, she urges him to accept that he was a victim and speak for all those who have had their "voices silenced". At the beginning of the series, she breaks up with her old boyfriend, stating she was too "physical" for him. At first, she finds Alfie immature and does not share his feelings for her, though over time she becomes more attracted to him. At the school dance in the season finale, she compares him to a student who really frustrates her, but has potential and is "perfect" after all, and kisses him in front of most of the student body. In the second series, however, Alfie is upset to learn that they are not together, and that she has formed a lesbian relationship with her former student, Alex Scott. In the fourth episode of the second series, this relationship comes to an end, and Rosie's feelings for Alfie return. She gets a job offer in Soweto in the series finale, but decides to decline it when Alfie declares his feelings for her, and she returns them. They share another kiss.
  • Professor Celia Green (portrayed by Samantha Spiro) is Mrs Pickwell's replacement as Deputy Headmistress after she leaves to live in Argentina. When Alfie and her first meet, she comes across to be very friendly, but really she is just as strict about the school rules as Mrs Pickwell was, with Alfie even at one point saying that he preferred Pickwell. Later in the episode, she ends up sleeping with Alfie's Dad, Martin, when he invited her over to Alfie's apartment for a Valentine's Day dinner. She continues to dictate the school, and continues her relationship with Martin. In the Series 2 finale they get engaged. She is absent from the Christmas special due to her and Martin being on their honeymoon.
  • Olive Mollinson (portrayed by Leila Hoffman) is the Art teacher and Head of Maths at Abbey Grove. She is the oldest staff member, having worked at the school since at least the 1970s. She does not appear in Series 2.


  • Chantelle Parsons (portrayed by Nikki Runeckles) is the sultry female pupil in Alfie's form. She appears to be sexually promiscuous and this is often remarked on by both her and her fellow pupils. She also has an obvious crush on Alfie and attempts repeatedly to seduce him, as does her mother at parents' evening. In "Valentine's Day" she has self-confidence issues and just wants Alfie to notice her, so pretends to have fallen pregnant.
  • Jing Chow (portrayed by Kae Alexander) is a Chinese pupil who often speaks in her native language to insult Alfie which he interprets as a compliment or an answer to a question. Jing appears to be the cleverest and most serious of the group and has previously taken the register, carried on working while everyone else was asleep and helps Alfie take down Pickwell at the end of series one. In Series 1 she is constantly frustrated that Alfie hardly teaches them anything, but in Series 2 she comes to Alfie's aid and comments he is a "good and Decent man".
  • Joe Poulter (portrayed by Ethan Lawrence) appears to be Alfie's closest ally in the class. He often helps out his teacher, having falsely confessed to be gay, pretended his mum has a life-threatening illness, and cooking for Alfie's father. He is often the butt of jokes and pranks by other pupils, although they do seem to have affection for him.
  • Mitchell Harper (portrayed by Charlie Wernham) appears to be the tough guy of the class. He often pokes fun at fellow pupils and his teacher. However, Alfie gets his own back by poking fun at Mitchell's family life, commenting that he doesn't know who his dad is and how he lives in a caravan. He is a huge WWE fan and he cried at the end of Toy Story 3.
  • Leslie "Rem Dogg" Remmington (portrayed by Jack Binstead) is a pupil who uses a wheelchair and constantly wears a pair of headphones and baseball cap. He comes across as a cheeky chap who pokes fun at Alfie, and is very close friends with Mitchell.
  • Stephen Carmichael (portrayed by Layton Williams) is an openly gay member of the class who has a passion for dancing, musicals and films. He is best friends with Chantelle and in the Christmas special begins a relationship with Frank Grayson after they are both in Alfie's Christmas Play, "Robocracker" (a mash-up of "Robocop" and "The Nutcracker").
  • Frank Grayson (portrayed by Jack Bence) is the school bully who not only intimidates his fellow pupils but in particular Alfie, having once stolen his shoes and on another occasion forced him to buy him and his friends cider after it was originally confiscated by Miss Pickwell. After Pickwell's departure, he is controlled by Professor Green. At times, however, he appears to be insecure about himself, breaking down in Alfie's arms after he believes that Pickwell has died and exploring his sexuality in the Christmas special, beginning a relationship with Stephen when Frank buys Stephen a ticket to watch West Ham United.

Guest Characters[edit]

  • Martin Wickers (portrayed by Harry Enfield) is Alfie's father who used to work as a teacher himself. His wife left him and married another man named Javier in Spain. He starts a relationship with Celia who did teacher training with him and in the Series 2 finale Fundraiser they get engaged. He is absent from the Christmas special due to him and Celia being away on their honeymoon.
  • Mrs Carmichael (portrayed by Hillary Whitehall (mother of Jack Whitehall)) is Stephen's mother who wanted him to leave Abbey Grove thinking it wasn't the right school for him but in the end let him stay. She is later seen attending Abbey Grove's fundraiser where she gets one of Fraser's band members in the Man Auction.
  • Mr Carmichael (portrayed by Delroy Brown) is Stephen's father who wanted him to leave Abbey Grove thinking it wasn't the right school for him but in the end let him stay.
  • India (portrayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is a drug counsellor who came to talk about drugs at Abbey Grove but actually took drugs herself.
  • Kevin Schwimmer (portrayed by Kyle Soller) is employed as a new history teacher in Series 2, who claims to be American and had lots of wild experiences that impress Mr Fraser. His short tenure at the school ends after Alfie and Jing expose him as a fraud and is actually from Dudley.
  • Mr Harper (portrayed by Sam Douglas) is Mitchell's father who works at a fun fair and rents out his stalls for Abbey Grove's fundraiser.
  • Alfie's Mum (portrayed by Frances Barber) is Alfie's mother. She left Alfie's father Martin and now lives in Spain with her new husband Javier. She appears in the Christmas special where she was told by Fraser that Alfie was in a car crash so she would come to Abbey Grove's Christmas play.[7]
  • Javier Garcia-Ramires (portrayed by Jake Canuso) is the new husband of Alfie's mother. He appears in the Christmas special where he at first mistakes Rem Dogg for Alfie.[7]
  • Bonehead (portrayed by Greg McHugh) is a homeless man who appears in the Christmas special. He is first seen at a soup kitchen Alfie and Rosie are volunteering at and later attends Abbey Grove's Christmas play.

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (2012)[edit]

# Title Original airdate Viewers
(in millions)[10]
1 "Parents' Evening" 14 August 2012 (2012-08-14) 1.385
It is parents' evening at Abbey Grove School and Alfie is under pressure from the deputy headmistress Miss Pickwell to mark his mock exam papers, otherwise she will fail his whole class. However, news that biology teacher Rosie Gulliver has split from her boyfriend only serves to distract him as he becomes fixated with securing a date with her. But with the unpredictable headmaster Mr Fraser also keen to make a move on Miss Gulliver, Alfie resorts to desperate measures both to mark the papers and beat Fraser to a date.[11]
2 "Sex Education" 21 August 2012 (2012-08-21) 1.119
Abbey Grove School parents are worried about the impending arrival of the French exchange students, after Jean Claude and his French classmates ran riot leaving a wake of lovestruck teenagers behind them the previous year. This year, Fraser is determined to prove to the angry parents that he has got everything under control, especially with his right-hand man Alfie by his side. But is Alfie really the right man to entrust with a sex education class? Things are relieved when it turns out that Fraser had screwed up and accidentally arranged an exchange with a town in Holland. But keeping things with them is easier said than done, thanks to one exchange student who every woman in the school seems to want.[12]
3 "Self Defence" 28 August 2012 (2012-08-28) 1.301
A new computer game craze hits Abbey Grove School that has got the children imitating a dangerous move called the 'blitz kick'. Fraser decides to buy a copy of the game to see what all the fuss is about but inadvertently turns his staff into addicts as well. Alfie decides to support his beloved Miss Gulliver in taking a stand against all this violence by organising a weapons amnesty. While Fraser hires a very inappropriate self-defence tutor, Preet, to help demonstrate the dangers of violence.[13]
4 "School Trip" 4 September 2012 (2012-09-04) 1.208
Banned from organising his own trip after a disastrous previous outing, Alfie's class are sent on Miss Gulliver's field trip to a combined petting zoo and ink museum. Alfie's pretty upset to learn she has a blind date later that day, but things get even worse when the bus gets lost in the woods.[14]
5 "Football Match" 11 September 2012 (2012-09-11) 1.372
Alfie reveals a hidden 'talent' when the annual football match between Abbey Grove and the school he attended, Middleton House, approaches. Will the benefit scroungers pull it off, or Middleton's snooty toff boys who clinch the win?[15]
6 "Politics" 18 September 2012 (2012-09-18) 0.784

Fraser's on professional suspension after an unfortunate incident involving a projector. With the school elections due to take place, Pickwell's determined to show the governors that she can run something successfully, and Alfie's keen to show Miss Gulliver he can take politics seriously.[16]

Note: Final appearance of Olive Mollinson (Leila Hoffman)

Series 2 (2013)[edit]

# Title Original airdate Viewers
(in millions)[17]
1 "Swimming Gala" 3 September 2013 (2013-09-03) 0.975
Abbey Grove's new term kicks off with the annual swimming gala and headmaster Mr Fraser decides to pay homage to the fact the UK recently hosted the greatest show on Earth, Splash!, by ending it with their very own synchronised diving competition. Alfie and his class don't usually take part in the gala, but lured by a cash bet with deputy headmistress Miss Pickwell he decides to bribe them with a group trip to a restaurant and enter the event. The first day back is also a chance for Alfie to catch up with his girlfriend Rosie, but he's shocked to find out that he isn't in a relationship with her at all, and even more shocked to find out that she is in a lesbian relationship with a former pupil.[18]
2 "The American" 10 September 2013 (2013-09-10) 1.096
Alfie is shocked by the arrival of new teacher Kevin Schwimer (Kyle Soller) at Abbey Grove and even more shocked to learn that he will be taking over Alfie's own class. Desperately upset that his class seem to be having a great time and actually learning proper, real-life GCSE history with their new teacher, Alfie is even more unhappy when he finds out which class Miss Pickwell has given him instead. With headmaster Fraser and Miss Gulliver both increasingly charmed by Mr Schwimer it is left to Alfie and Jing to uncover the truth behind this American imposter.[19]
3 "The Funeral" 17 September 2013 (2013-09-17) 0.953

Abbey Grove is rocked by the news that deputy headmistress Miss Pickwell is apparently dead and Alfie is left particularly on edge when her suicide note clearly lays the finger of blame on him after one of his class's pranks pushes her over the edge. Haunted by guilt, will Alfie be able to put her unquiet spirit at rest with the perfect memorial service? With Pickwell gone, headmaster Mr Fraser decides to advertise for her position with less-than-successful results, which may mean Rosie is offered the role full-time. But will the power change her? [20]

Note: Departure of Isobel Pickwell (Michelle Gomez)
4 "Valentine's Day" 24 September 2013 (2013-09-24) 0.927

It is Valentine's Day and headmaster Mr Fraser has planned a special Abbey Grove 'Take Me Out' to help the shy kids find love. New deputy headmistress Professor Celia Green is rubbing everyone up the wrong way, apart from Alfie's father Martin, who happened to go to teacher training college with her. Alfie is desperately trying to persuade Rosie to come to dinner with him, but is distracted by some shocking news from Chantelle. Will Rosie turn up to dinner and who is Martin Wickers's surprise dinner date? [21]

Note: First appearances of Celia Green (Samantha Spiro) and Martin Stool (Harry Enfield)
5 "Drugs" 1 October 2013 (2013-10-01) 1.076
Headmaster Mr Fraser has organised a special guest speaker India for Drugs Awareness Day, much to Rosie's annoyance. Alfie's class is alarmed by the news that Stephen's parents want him to leave Abbey Grove. Can Alfie persuade Stephen's parents to let him stay or will his attraction to drugs councillor India threaten to jeopardise everything?[22]
6 "Fundraiser"[23] 8 October 2013 (2013-10-08) 0.961

Abbey Grove is plunged into financial ruin when headmaster Mr Fraser gives the "Nigerian Minister of Finance" all their money with the promise of huge returns on the investment. With Professor Green executing an austerity drive which sees the school pillaged of resources, Rosie thinks it's time to move on and applies for a job for a school in Soweto. Will Alfie come up with a plan to save the school and stop Rosie from leaving? And how will he react to the big announcement Professor Green is hiding from him about his father?

Note: Return of Isobel Pickwell (Michelle Gomez)
7 "Christmas Special" 17 December 2013 (2013-12-17) 0.800

It's time for the Abbey Grove Christmas Play and with Miss Pickwell no longer around Fraser decides Alfie is the obvious replacement to direct this year's production. But with the class undecided about whether to put on the Nutcracker or Robocop, will Alfie's decision to write and direct a plot mash up of Robocracker and casting school bully Grayson as co-star prove successful?

Note: Guest appearance from Alfie's mother (Frances Barber), her new husband Javier (Jake Canuso) and a homeless man named Bonehead (Greg McHugh)

Series 3 (2014)[edit]

On 11 June 2014, Jack Whitehall announced that the third series of Bad Education had gone into production and is expected to be broadcast in September 2014.[8]


Series Start date End date Episodes
1 14 August 2012 18 September 2012 6
2 3 September 2013 17 December 2013 7
3 2014 2014

American adaptation[edit]

A pilot for a U.S. adaptation of Bad Education, named An American Education, was ordered by ABC with Whitehall set to reprise his role as Alfie Wickers.[24] The pilot began filming in Los Angeles in January 2014. However, ABC passed on the pilot on 22 May 2014, but Whitehall will continue with the original UK series of the show.[25]


The series received mixed to negative reviews from the British press. The Guardian called it "in poor taste" and accused Whitehall of "phoning it in". The Telegraph gave the show a rating of 2 out of 5 claiming the show "uses to many stereotypes" and the Whitehall "tends to repeat many jokes" rather than creating new ones. Both The Mirror and The Sun gave the sitcom a rating of 2 out of 5. [26] Despite this the show currently holds a 7.8 out of 10 rating on IMDb from its users.[27]

DVD release[edit]

The first series of Bad Education was released on DVD on 9 September 2013.[28]

The second series of Bad Education is due for release on 29 September 2014. [29]

A boxset containing both the first and second series of Bad Education is also due for release on 29 September 2014. [30]


  1. ^ Bad Education, episode 3
  2. ^ "Jack Whitehall's 'Bad Education' breaks BBC Three comedy record". Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Andy Samberg's 'Cuckoo' smashes BBC Three comedy record". Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Munn, Patrick (23 August 2013). "BBC Three Sets Premiere Date For 'Bad Education' Season 2". TVWise. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Fletcher, Alex (30 July 2013). "iPlayer first: BBC Three will debut all scripted comedy online". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Fletcher, Alex (4 September 2013). "Jack Whitehall 'Bad Education' iPlayer experiment proves a hit". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Munn, Patrick (7 October 2013). "BBC Three's 'Bad Education' Gets Christmas Special". TVWise. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "Jack Whitehall sitcom 'Bad Education' gets 2nd series". 23 August 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Bad Education, Parents' Evening". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Bad Education, Sex Education". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Bad Education, Self Defence". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Bad Education, School Trip". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Bad Education, Football Match". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Bad Education, Politics". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Top 10 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Bad Education, Swimming Gala". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "Bad Education, The American". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Bad Education, The Funeral". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Bad Education, Valentine's Day". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "Bad Education, Drugs". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Bad Education, Fundraiser". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  24. ^ Klompus, Jack (9 November 2013). "'Bad Education': Jack Whitehall comedy to get US remake". Digital Spy. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Bad Education USA cancelled - News - British Comedy Guide". 
  26. ^ Britland, Mike (16 August 2012). "Bad Education produced bad TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Bad Education [DVD]". Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  29. ^
  30. ^

External links[edit]