TV & Satellite Week talks to Jack Whitehall about starring in the new, and likely final series, of hit comedy Bad Education (BBC3, Tuesday, Sept 16).
Why do you think it the show has struck a chord with viewers?
“The major premise of the show is that Alfie is a bigger kid than any of the kids. And playing with that has been really fun, seeing how far we can push it and how inappropriate he can be.”
What about having Harry Enfield playing your dad?
“It’s amazing working with Harry. He was always a bit of a hero of mine when I was growing up. In the first series you felt like you were working on hallowed ground every time you stepped on to set with him. But by series three, one’s guard is down a little bit more and you can have a bit more of an actual relationship with him and he’s such a brilliant guy. He gives me a lot of jip, but I give as good as I get.”
And did you ever think of casting your own father Michael instead?
“No! I believe Fresh Meat were going to approach him when they needed to cast JP’s dad and I said I didn’t think that was a good idea. My dad’s not an actor, so I don’t think he would have been up to the task. But Martin has elements of my dad and of Freddy Syborn’s dad [Whitehall’s co-writer]. We’ve made a hybrid of both of our dads.”
What was the worst thing you did at school?
“Me and a few friends put on balaclavas and attacked all of the cadets – the people that did the army drills at school. We attacked them with water balloons and bags of flour whilst they were doing their military parade and they all ran away – they were quite cowardly if anything. We were trying to prepare them for an assault that they might receive if they were in a combat situation – we were trying to help them out! But it wasn’t seen as helpful and we were all suspended and told not to come back for the leavers’ ball. But I was a young man then, it was an error of judgement. Now I am a big supporter of Help for Heroes and I watch Commando School every week.”
Are there any shows you would like to appear in?
“Doctor Who. So next time I see Steven Moffat I’m going to gently hint that I would love to be in the show because I’m a big fan and Peter Capaldi’s brilliant. He’s really done something different and exciting.”
Were you sad when you filmed the final scenes?
“It was quite an emotional series. It’s been such a big part of my life so it’s weird that it’s probably coming to an end now. I think this is the last hurrah. Certainly for Class K and all of the kids that we’ve got to know and love over the two series. Saying goodbye to them in the final classroom scene was actually really hard.”