Driving School

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Driving School
GenreReality television
Directed byFrancesca Joseph
Narrated byQuentin Willson
ComposerGlenn Keiles
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1 (plus Celebrity Driving School Comic Relief special)
Original networkBBC1
Original release1997 (1997)

Driving School is a docusoap that was broadcast on BBC1 in the summer of 1997, which followed a group of learner drivers around Bristol and South Wales. The series was made on a reduced budget but shown in primetime, it created one of the first reality TV stars in Maureen Rees.

The series was created and directed by the British film and documentary maker Francesca Joseph.

It was narrated by Quentin Willson, who would later present the similar Britain's Worst Driver.

Maureen Rees[edit]

Welsh cleaner Maureen Rees became a household name in Britain after spending hundreds of pounds on lessons and failing the practical test several times.[1] She twice more failed to pass the test during the series, as well as the much easier written exam known in the UK as the theory test.[2]

Maureen's memorable moments (driving a powder blue Lada Riva estate which became as much as star of the show as Maureen herself) include moving into the overtaking lane of a dual carriageway in the path of an overtaking car, and accidentally running over her long suffering husband Dave's foot.

Maureen eventually passed in the last episode in an automatic, though after the series finished she passed a manual test. Maureen became quite a celebrity and even released a single: her cover of Madness' "Driving in My Car" reached #50 in the UK Singles Chart,[3] the music video featured Maureen driving her Lada (although it was on fact filmed sitting on a flatbed trailer to give the illusion that she was driving alone) and fronted a government awareness campaign to increase road awareness.


Teenager Danny wanted to pass his test so he could visit his girlfriend in Preston. Although he passed first time, he had already broken up with Jill.

An older lady called Joan passed her test at the beginning of the series (even though it took her a while to realise that she needed to put the car in Drive before the car would move), but had "lost her nerve" and needed lessons to rebuild her confidence.

The main instructors were Pamela Carr from Streetwise Driving School and independent Paul Farrall. The Andy1st driving school was also featured.[4]

Celebrity Driving School[edit]

A four-part celebrity version was produced in 2003 in aid of Comic Relief.[5] Celebrities taking part consisted of Gareth Gates, Paul O'Grady, Nadia Sawalha, Natalie Cassidy, Simon Day and Jade Goody. They found out live during the Red Nose Day telethon on 14 March if they had passed. None of them had.[6] Mel Giedroyc was the narrator.[5]

Transmission guide[edit]

  • Series 1: 6 editions: 10 June 1997 – 15 July 1997
  • Special: The Making of Maureen: 29 March 1998
  • Celebrity Driving School: 4 editions: 24 February 2003 – 7 March 2003


  1. ^ Lee-Wright, Peter (2009). The Documentary Handbook. Taylor & Francis. p. 111. ISBN 0-415-43402-5.
  2. ^ Choose a car The Telegraph interview with Maureen Rees
  3. ^ Landesman, Cosmo (2011). Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family and Me. Pan Macmillan. p. 260. ISBN 0-330-47930-X.
  4. ^ "Andy1st driving school". www.andy1stdrivingschool.co.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Rebecca (24 February 2003). "Testing times for celebrity drivers". BBC News Online. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Press Releases & Press Packs: TV Entertainment". BBC News Online. 15 March 2003. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  • Jackson, P. Britain In A Box "Driving School". BBC Radio

External links[edit]