Comedy drama that aired on Channel 4 between 2001 and 2004, for a total of 40 50-minute episodes over four series. As the title suggests, the show centred around a group of teachers in a British comprehensive; for the first two series the focus was on newly qualified English teacher Simon, played by Andrew Lincoln. Unenthused about his profession and less mature than some of his pupils, Simon both feared and lusted after his scarily efficient rival, Jenny, took advice from his sarcastic best friend Susan, and spent quite a lot of time down the pub with hetero life partners Kurt and Brian, possibly the only people on staff to make Simon look like a genius. Other regulars in the first and second series were unpopular older teacher Bob, headmistress Clare, her secretaries Carol and Liz, and gay French teacher JP.
When Simon left during the second series the show became more of an ensemble, with new cast members Lindsay, Penny and Matt joining and Brian and Kurt given much larger roles. Penny was initially written to be deeply disliked by the other characters but was rehabilitated in the third series after JP, Jenny and Susan all vanished between series. Although this series ended on something of a cliffhanger with Lindsay and Matt acting on an attraction that's been building between them, the fourth series saw another major change in cast - Matt, Kurt and Brian had all apparently died offscreen, and the remaining staff had moved to a new school. Series four introduced new characters Damien, Ben and Ewan, with plotlines about Bob marrying a mail order bride and Penny having an affair with a pupil. This series was less successful than the previous three and the show was not recommissioned.Teachers
included elements of the surreal; the canteen staff is entirely made up of dwarfs, wild animals wander in the background of shots, and rather than an onscreen caption the days of the week are displayed as if painted on walls, the road, lollipop ladies' signs... The first three series were nominated for six BAFTA awards. An unsuccessful and short-lived American remake aired in 2006.
This show provides examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms - Kurt. A lot.
- Alien Lunch - Whilst pregnant Carol picks up a few strange eating habits.
- Apathetic Teacher - Pretty much all of them, to some degree.
- Butt Monkey - Bob.
- Camp Gay - John, a student who develops a crush on Simon.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome - The series culled cast members in droves between series, usually without ever mentioning them again. Eventually lampshaded when series four begins with shots of the missing characters' headstones. And then shows Lindsay and Penny pissing on their graves.
- Cluster F-Bomb - The entire series, but particular mention must go to Bob's very first line in the first episode.
- Country Matters - In the first episode you can briefly see a caretaker trying to wipe off some markerpen changes made to a sign bearing the name of the headteacher, Mrs C. Hunter.
- It's also uttered a few times in series 4 by a boy with what appears to be Hollywood Tourette's, but (unlike every other expletive in the series) bleeped.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him - Kurt, Brian and Matt are not only killed offscreen, the first episode of series 4 has Lindsay and Penny pissing on their graves.
- Everybody Smokes: A lot of the series takes place during the teachers' smoking breaks.
- Every Episode Ending: The ending theme playing up over the teachers in the pub, as their conversation trails away into playing silly pranks on each other.
- Flanderization - Bob starts off merely dull but not completely unlikeable.
- The Good Old British Comp
- Happily Married - Averted. With, erm, every married couple on the show...
- Hey, It's That Guy!! - James Corden from Gavin and Stacey appears as a student in the first series. Matt Horne, also from Gavin and Stacey shows up in series 4 as the RE teacher. Ashley Madekwe from Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Kara Tointon who plays Dawn in Eastenders. James Buckley who plays Jay in The Inbetweeners.
- Heterosexual Life Partners - Kurt and Brian. And they frequently verge into...
- Ho Yay - Kurt and Brian worry in a few episodes that they might be gay for each other. An episode revolves around them first realising that everyone sees them as a married couple and then temporarily 'divorcing' - although it's played for comedy, they're both genuinely devastated at breaking up. Brian also spends an episode struggling with a crush on JP.
- Hippie Teacher - Lindsay, briefly, after giving up alcohol. She snaps out of it.
- The Lad-ette - Lindsay
- Little People Are Surreal: The canteen staff - and only the canteen staff - are all dwarfs. No-one ever remarks on this.
- Mistaken for Gay - Brian somehow manages to mistake himself for gay.
- My Local - The Plumber's Arms
- Put on a Bus - Simon leaves in series 2, and returns for a few episodes in series 3.
- Psychologist Teacher - Susan, though she handles all her colleagues' problems as well as the kids'.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Belle and Sebastian's "The Boy With The Arab Strap". And very Ear Wormy it is too.
- Smoking Hot Sex
- Stern Teacher - Jenny.
- Teens Are Monsters - There's always a ridiculous amount of bullying and violence in the background of almost every playground, and many corridor scenes. The teachers generally appear completely oblivious to it.
- Vomit Discretion Shot - "I think I'm gonna throw up..." "Wait! Throw up over the side, it'll be more fun!"
- Vomit Indescretion Shot - After Kayla kisses Grint
- Wacky Cravings - Carol starts eating pens.
- Will They or Won't They? - Simon and Jenny.