Press clippings Page 7

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

Jack Whitehall hopes to educate America

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

Jack Whitehall to star in Bad Education USA

Bad Education, the BBC Three sitcom set in a failing school, is to be re-made in America. Jack Whitehall will reprise his role as Alfie for the ABC network pilot.

British Comedy Guide, 9th November 2013

Lessons I learned from watching Bad Education

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.

Everything I Know About The UK..., 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

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

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

Bad Education has got Jack Whitehall in it and Jack Whitehall is sick. (As I believe young people are wont to describe things of which they violently approve.) Whitehall (born 1988, the bastard!) is someone you might certainly wish to hate if he weren't so utterly charming, enormously talented and disarmingly honest. He went to Marlborough (he's the son of an actress and a leading theatrical agent) and one of the things that's great about him is that he makes absolutely no pretence that he's anything other than a smug, louche, overprivileged, desperately middle-class public school tosser with a weapons-grade sense of entitlement.

Whitehall has built his career on playing thinly-disguised versions of himself, whether as the eyelash-batting school tart flirting outrageously with susceptible prefect Stephen Fry on QI, or as swaggering Old Stoic JP in Fresh Meat or, in Bad Education, the spectacularly useless, impeccably middle-class, Mumford & Sons-loving Mr Wickers.

There is lots wrong with Bad Education, starting with the fact that it has nothing whatsoever satirically insightful to say about the failings of sink comprehensives like the one in which it is set. And how come the class sizes are smaller than you get in many private schools? And how come the kids, even the supposedly delinquent ones, all have hearts of gold? In truth, Bad Education would work just as well on a spaceship, or in a jungle village, or in the lodging house shared by three priests on a remote Irish island...

Just like Father Ted, though (which of course gave us little insight into the Catholic Church), Bad Education transcends its obvious limitations by simple virtue of being naturally funny. From the way it's shot to the way it's acted, it oozes the cocky, infectious confidence of a winner.

It doesn't matter that the jokes are hit and miss. When they work, you love them, like the one where the white headmaster, who has already upset a black parent with the insensitive use of a racial term ('Perhaps, with hindsight best left to rappers. Eh, bro?'), decides to open the school swimming gala as if it were an Olympic ceremony. He does so in a white bathrobe, lighting a candelabra of torches which unfortunately collapses to become a flaming cross, even as the pointed hood on his robe sticks up and he dances in embarrassment as the black parent looks on in horror. Totally contrived; utterly ludicrous; but a gag that will stick in the memory like the rude vegetables scene from Blackadder II.

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 7th September 2013

Bad Education - TV review

Jack Whitehall and Abbey Grove School need some special measures - unless, of course, it's all a send-up.

John Crace, The Guardian, 4th September 2013

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