Jack Whitehall starts a new term as hapless history teacher Alfie Wickers as his self-written school sitcom, Bad Education, returns to BBC3 for a second series (Tuesday). TV & Satellite Week caught up with him for a stiff examination about what’s on the curriculum…
What’s in store in the new series?
“We’ve got a new deputy head, played by Samantha Spiro, and there’s a swimming gala and a Valentine’s Day episode. Alfie loses his class and gets them back, and he loses Miss Gulliver [Sarah Solemani] and gets her back.”
They kissed at the end of the last series. Are they an item now?
“For Alfie, a kiss is a green light and means he’s in a relationship. There’s more of the will-they-won’t-they between them, and a love rival comes along in one episode.”
Harry Enfield’s joining the cast too, isn’t he?
“He comes in about halfway through the series as Alfie’s dad. Alfie wants to introduce his dad to the girlfriend he’s lied about having, so he needs Gulliver to pretend to be his girlfriend, which she’s reluctant to do. There’s a big dinner party scene in Alfie’s flat, and we’ve tried to make it quite farcical.”
What would you write on Alfie’s end-of-term report after series one?
“Enthusiasm is high, maturity low. We’re really upped the man-child element of him in this series, so he’s more geeky and more of a loser. Alfie gets humiliated a lot and there is some nudity.”
What does he get up to with Form K?
“We filmed a big sequence where Alfie cooks up drugs with the class, Breaking Bad-style. He consumes some, gets really high and ends up losing some of his clothes and a lot of his dignity.”
Since you were privately educated, was it hard to write a believable comedy set in a comprehensive?
“We were worried about making sure it was authentic – that’s why we left out the fox-hunting episode! We tried to create a world within this school that was accessible, no matter what sort of school you’d been to. We visited state schools as part of our research, and that’s how we picked up some of the slang.”
What do you remember about your schooldays?
“I went to a tough inner-city state school in Clapham, and did a lot of drugs… Seriously though, I enjoyed school, although I’d get in trouble for weird stuff – for instance I got caught being painted, naked.”