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Series / Teachers (2001)

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The main cast from the first two series. L-R: Jenny, Kurt, Simon, Susan, Brian
A British Dramedy 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 school; 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 a lot of time down the pub with hetero life partners Kurt and Brian, possibly the only people on the 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.
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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.

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Teachers included elements of the surreal; the canteen staff is entirely made up of dwarves, wild animals wander around 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.

No relation to the 1984 film starring Nick Nolte, or the 2016 sitcom on TV Land.


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This show provides examples of:

  • Apathetic Teacher: Pretty much all of them, to some degree. Jenny and Susan are the two partial exceptions, but both of them slip back every so often.
  • Awful Wedded Life: For most of the show's married characters, it seems.
    • From what we see, this is Susan's relationship with Peter. Until she gets a divorce, at least.
    • Bob undergoes this as well, with his first wife leaving him for a TV repair man and his second wife — Ping, the mail-order Thai bride — sleeping around behind his back.
    • Matt is married with children but has several affairs, including relationships with both Penny and Lindsay.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bob, especially in later series. Also Grint, the prematurely-balding pupil who is frequently made fun of by the teachers.
  • Camp Gay: John, a student who develops a crush on Simon.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hoo boy. The series lost various cast members between series, usually without ever mentioning them again. This was eventually lampshaded when Series 4 begins with shots of some of the missing characters' headstones.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The entire series, but particular mention must go to Bob's very first line in the first episode.
  • Cool Teacher: Simon's whole schtick.
  • Commitment Issues - Simon.
  • 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.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Kurt. A lot. Also, Damien (one of the new teachers in Series 4) claimed to have caught Grint "wanking in a cupboard".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Susan, mostly. Jenny takes her shots as well.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kurt, Brian and Matt are killed offscreen between Series 3 and 4. In the first episode of the latter, Lindsay and Penny piss on their graves.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Or at least, everybody wants to have lots of sex with each other.
  • 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 started off as a dull but not completely unlikeable authority figure (as Head of English, he was Simon's boss). By Series 3 he had developed into something of a buffoonish Butt-Monkey, culminating in his Series 4 storyline involving a mail-order Thai bride who was only using him to get a British visa, which ended with her walking out on him shortly after the wedding (which took place at the school).
  • The Good Old British Comp: Where most of the action takes place. Apart from the pub, obviously. In the first three series it was called Summerdown School, while in the fourth it was called Watkins, apparently the result of a merger. A different school was used as a filming location for the latter.
  • Jumping the Shark: Series 4 — which introduced several new characters and moved the action to a different school — began with two characters who had not been written out visiting the graves of several characters who had, and urinating on them. The series that followed was decidedly Denser and Wackier, and the show was not renewed for a fifth series.
  • Happily Married: Averted. With every married couple on the show.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kurt and Brian.
  • Hippie Teacher: Lindsay, briefly, after giving up alcohol. She snaps out of it.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Simon, basically every episode.
  • Just Friends: Simon and Susan, although he briefly considers it. Both agree they're better as Platonic Life-Partners.
  • The Lad-ette: Lindsay.
  • Little People Are Surreal: The canteen staff — and only the canteen staff — are all dwarves. No-one ever remarks on this. Even when two of them are seen climbing out of one of the dustbins during one of the teachers' many smoke-breaks.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: A Series 3 storyline involved secretary Carol's pregnancy — she wasn't married and the main characters tried to figure out who the father was. Kurt, who'd had a fling with her in the previous series, wondered if it could be his. It was eventually revealed that the baby was part Chinese, making maths teacher (and very minor character) Mr. Chong the likely father.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: To the extent that Simon freaks out when he realises he doesn't desperately want to have sex.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Brian somehow manages to mistake himself for gay.
  • My Local: The Plumber's Arms, where the main characters spend most of their evenings.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Downplayed example: Carol (whose surname, Schicklgruber, was Hitler's father's original surname) and Grint are the only members of the school's "Aryan Society". They try (and fail) to recruit Penny.
  • Only Sane Man: Susan and Jenny border on this in seasons 1 and 2.
  • Put on a Bus: Simon leaves to go travelling in Series 2, only to return for a few episodes in Series 3, when it is revealed that his travels took him no further than Bristol.
  • Psychologist Teacher: Susan, though she handles all her colleagues' problems as well as the kids'.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: The intended effect of Susan's makeover.
  • Stern Teacher: Jenny.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Penny and Anthony. Liz finds out, but seemingly doesn't report it.
  • 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.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Something of a Running Gag. Aside from the Canteen Dwarves (see above under Little People Are Surreal), there were also random appearances of animals (donkeys, sheep and even lions) in the background in some scenes. Teachers and pupils alike seemed oblivious to them.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: "I think I'm gonna throw up..." "Wait! Throw up over the side, it'll be more fun!"
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: After Kayla kisses Grint.
  • Wacky Cravings: Carol starts eating pens, having picked up a few strange eating habits whilst pregnant.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Simon and Jenny in Series 1 (they do, once).

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