Bad Education - In The Press

Jack Whitehall's secondary school-set sitcom Bad Education is back on BBC Three tonight for its third - and potentially final - series. We sat down with the 26-year-old comedy star before the show returns to our telly screens to find out where he stands on...

Written by Ellie Walker-Arnott. The Radio Times, 16th September 2014

As the veteran comic returns to the BBC Three series he explains that taking on the role of the Dad to Jack Whitehall's Alfie Wickers is the worst thing he could do to his own children... and that was rather the point.

Written by Ben Dowell. The Radio Times, 16th September 2014

Here's 5 reasons why you should get involved with Bad Education.

Written by Sarah Deen. Metro, 16th September 2014

Back for a new term at school, the third series of the super-childish Bad Education has some new faces in the classroom... and one of them is Harry Enfield.

The comedy legend has made occasional appearances as the dad of Jack Whitehall's idiotic and needy teacher Alfie Wickers but is now the headmaster. And as well as making puerile jokes about his son's sexuality, budget cuts mean that he has to sack a member of staff, with Alfie the most obvious candidate.

This is a comedy that requires a bit of patience. It is idiotic, perhaps even offensive at times, and Whitehall's character does not seem enormously different from the posh buffoon he plays in Channel 4's Fresh Meat. But there's something engaging about this ensemble, it's skilfully directed and sometimes the gags do hit home. Will we ever look at Whitehall again without thinking of him as "a Topshop Peter Sutcliffe"? I think not, Sir.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 16th September 2014

As Bad Education, the sitcom both written by and starring the 'comedy king', returns to BBC Three for its third series, here's why we think Jack Whitehall has become such a popular performer.

Written by Rachel MacGregor. Metro, 16th September 2014

The third series of Jack Whitehall's sharp secondary school comedy kicks off with some big surprises for his incompetent educator Alfie Wickers. Abbey Grove's new deputy head is none other than his dad Martin (Harry Enfield), and money worries at the school mean that Alfie's job is on the line. As usual, the pupils are on fine form: as the teachers begin a strike, Stephen's (Layton Williams) ignorance sparks a hatchet job from a local journalist, while Joe (Ethan Lawrence) struggles to adapt to his newfound veganism.

Hannah J. Davies, The Guardian, 16th September 2014

When asked at the screening what his favourite scene has been, Jack Whitehall hinted that this may be the final ever series of Bad Education - "It's basically the last scene of the series when Alfie says goodbye to the kids."

Written by Elliot Gonzalez. I Talk Telly, 12th September 2014

Schooldays are the happiest days of your life? Well, there are plenty of belly laughs in the BBC Three classroom with the third series of Bad Education.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond the Joke, 10th September 2014

Jack Whitehall, who plays Alfie, to chat about the final series of Bad Education.

Written by Nick Fiaca. TV Choice, 9th September 2014

Jack Whitehall has said that he will have to make some changes to his BBC comedy Bad Education following this week's cabinet reshuffle.

Written by Harry Fletcher. Digital Spy, 18th July 2014

Jack Whitehall, who will star in An American Education for ABC, and told Digital Spy that the script by Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory had not "butchered" the BBC show.

Written by Morgan Jeffery and Daniel Sperling. Digital Spy, 21st February 2014

Bad Education's Christmas special saw Alfie Wickers facing another big problem, as he'd been tasked by the headmaster (Matthew Horne) to direct the school play or face being sacked by the governors. Inevitably his ramshackle group of students are roped in to be the stars of the show with Stephen (Layton Williams) being the only one with any discernible talent to speak of. Alfie is then shocked when school bully Frank (Jack Bence) auditions for his production and delivers an incredibly awful audition. But because Alfie is incredibly scared of Frank he casts him as the human lead opposite Stephen in his original production Robocracker a combination of Robocop and The Nutcracker.

Elsewhere, Alfie is attempting to impress Miss Guilver (Sarah Solemani) by volunteering at a soup kitchen where his class are insulted by a mouthy tramp (played by Whitehall's Fresh Meat colleague Greg McHugh).

Right at the start of the Bad Education Christmas Special, Horne and Whitehall warn us that festive editions of shows are often sloppily written with a loose seasonal feel. I would say that was true of Bad Education to an extent as it just didn't have the energy the sitcom normally possesses. The funniest moments were provided by Steven, whether it be his one-man production of Precious or his performance in the incredibly entertaining Robocracker.

Overall, while I can't say I wasn't entertained, I just expect a little bit more from Whitehall and his class of talented young actors.

The Custard TV, 24th December 2013

Yes, it sent up teachers convinced they're the next Terence Rattigan, with Alfie writing a multi-faith mash-up of Robocop and The Nutcracker. But that was about as satirical as it got. Whitehall's script relied once more on toilet humour and tired, tasteless digs at 'the fat kid', 'the kid in the wheelchair' (who is given Twister for Christmas) and the homeless.

Written by Lucinda Everett. The Daily Telegraph, 18th December 2013

The ubiquitous Jack Whitehall wrote and stars in this school-based comedy, back for a badly behaved Christmas special. Fed up with the nativity, his hapless history teacher invents a new festive story, a cross between Robocop and Nutcracker: Robocracker.

Sitcom staple Sarah Solemani plays the altruistic art teacher, while Mathew Horne sports an elf costume as the immature headmaster fond of tragic puns ("Snow-k?" "Yes sir, yours-elf?") Look out for Greg McHugh, Whitehall's co-star in Fresh Meat, as an expletive-spewing tramp.

Claire Webb, The Radio Times, 17th December 2013

This is one of those shows that looks like it was filmed in the blazing heat of the British summer with the cast sweltering in their winter woolies as they get up to their usual mischief, with a bit of soppy sentimentality lobbed in for good measure like a lucky sixpence in a Christmas pud.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond the Joke, 17th December 2013

With a glut of costumes, Christmas songs and festive trappings, the Bad Education Christmas special is far from an understated affair. Forced to put on a play by elf/headmaster Simon (Mat Horne), the reluctant but unfazed Alfie (Jack Whitehall) must use the questionable student talent at his disposal to stage a story which incorporates every major world religion.

Sensitivity and subtlety not being Alfie's fortes, the Robocop- Nutcracker hybrid that he creates isn't exactly traditional Christmas fare. Silly, fun and light-hearted, Bad Education is patchy and seldom cerebral, but it still makes for an entertaining half-hour. Filled with puns, cultural references, extravagant dance routines and displaying a distinct lack of either taste or tact, it's a gaudy smorgasbord of verbal and physical comedy. Even the most committed of scrooges may find this raises a smile.

Dylan Lucas, Time Out, 17th December 2013

Jack Whitehall, fresh from retaining his crown as King of Comedy, takes a crack at that old favourite, the school nativity play, with the help of his Bad Education reprobates. A somewhat uneasy marriage of Robocop and The Nutcracker, teacher Alfie's ambitious production finds room for tolerance channelled through the medium of expressive dance, guest turns from Frances Barber as Alfie's mum and Howard from Fresh Meat (Greg McHugh) as a thespian tramp, and no shortage of near-the-knuckle humour. Not forgetting some clinches with no need of mistletoe to pack some heat.

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 17th December 2013

With Jack Whitehall due to reprise his role as the toffish, self-deprecating teacher in a US pilot next year, Alfie Wickers is arguably one of the most successful characters in Brit comedy today. This seasonal outing of the sitcom is a triumph of awkwardness, as Alfie combines RoboCop and The Nutcracker for the school play. There's even a role for bully Frank, who shows his sensitive side. Meanwhile, headteacher Fraser tries to organise a Christmas miracle: a reunion between the hapless Mr Wickers and his estranged mother.

Hannah J Davies, The Guardian, 17th December 2013

The Nutcracker is a delightful festive tale, but wouldn't it be better if it were more like Robocop? Mat Horne's deranged wordplay-loving headmaster certainly thinks so, and it's up to Jack Whitehall's bumbling educator Alfie Wickers to make his vision a reality.

While bonkers school play Robocracker is the focus of the Bad Education Christmas special, there's plenty more going on in the halls of Abbey Grove, as Mitchell (Charlie Wernham) attempts to get Alfie's estranged mother back from Spain for the holidays and Miss Gulliver (Sarah Solemani) encourages her class to volunteer at a soup kitchen, making way for a guest appearance by Whitehall's Fresh Meat co-star Greg McHugh as a foul-mouthed hobo.

Daniel Sperling, Digital Spy, 15th December 2013

Having won the top gong at The British Comedy Awards for the second year running Jack Whitehall has now set his sights on cracking America.

The Daily Express, 14th December 2013

I'm not calling Bad Education groundbreaking television, but I eventually came to feel affection for history teacher Alfie Wickers (Jack Whitehall) and his classroom full of underachieving teenagers.

British Telly Blog, 26th October 2013

When Bad Education works, it is brilliantly, deliriously stupid. But often, as with many modern sitcoms, there's something awry about the timing: a vuvuzela blast, followed by lots of floundering around. This Valentine's Day episode, though, is as disgusting as you'd wish for. Mr Fraser stages an in-school Take Me Out to get "the shy kids off Virgin rail and on to the Poontang Express", and Chantelle needs Alfie's help with a delicate matter. Will he ring her mum? "I can't; she's so flirty. Plus, I think her number's a premium line."

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 24th September 2013

I remember teachers exactly like Alfie (Jack Whitehall), who desperately sucked up to the classes that bullied them. We had a German master who turned his "lessons" into an eternal Rubik's Cube competition (prizes of cash and Smarties).

At Abbey Grove School's swimming gala, the wimpish Alfie claimed a chlorine allergy so bad it would turn him "from Jamie Redknapp to Harry Redknapp just like that". But then, in the cause of trying to prove his class wasn't a bunch of complete losers, he agreed to enter the synchronised diving contest and his face swelled up until he looked like Avid Merrion in Bo' Selecta!. God, it was funny. I sniggered all the way through and then - old habits die hard - nipped out for a bag of cheese and onion crisps, the swimming gala snack of choice, whether you're 14 or 40.

Rachel Cooke, The New Statesman, 12th September 2013

As ever, Bad Education isn't really about the plotting. Tonight's paper-thin scenario involves a hotshot American teacher arriving at the school, taking over Alfie's class and making the kids love him. So far, so predictable. But writer and lead Jack Whitehall has an enviable way with a one-liner and a remarkable eye for the feeble posturing of male loserdom.

It's hard to work out which of the male teachers is more cringeworthy. Is it the pathetically needy Alfie? Or Mr Fraser, the self-proclaimed 'Archbishop of Banterbury'? Actually, tonight it's probably Mr Schwimmer, the Yank with his secrets and lies. Whitehall doesn't write women quite as well - Mrs Pickwell increasingly feels like a dangerously close copy of Michelle Gomez's Green Wing character Sue White - but this is still an incredibly entertaining half hour.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 10th September 2013

The decision to make the classroom comedy by Jack Whitehall available in advance on iPlayer - the flagship for BBC3's plan to push all its comedy that way - paid off with a big hike in the audience for a farcical mix of wit and slapstick. Tonight, Alfie, Whitehall's overgrown kid of a teacher, has his nose put firmly out of joint when new teacher Mr Schwimer dazzles his pet pupils with his all-American charms. How will Alfie bite back?

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 10th September 2013

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