The series (in black and white) ran on the BBC from 1956 to 1960. Edwards took the part of Professor James Edwards M.A., the drunken, gambling, devious, cane-swishing headmaster who tyrannised staff and children at Chiselbury public school. The Edwards character bore more than a passing resemblance to Sergeant Bilko as he tried to swindle the children out of their pocket money to finance his many schemes.
The show was written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden with the first six episodes being subtitled "Six of the Best". In 1959 a film was made based on the show, called Bottoms Up!. The show was revived in colour with updated scripts in 1971-1972, slightly retitled Whacko!. The series ran for a total of 60 episodes, with 47 of B&W and 13 colour, of 30 minutes each. There were 3 special shorts. Whacko also appeared on the radio, on the Light programme with 45 episodes of 30 minutes lasting from May 1961 till July 1963.
The front of the historic house of Great Fosters was used in the opening title sequence of the TV comedy series behind the name of the fictional Chislebury School.