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Teachers (UK TV series)

Teachers is a British television comedy-drama, originally shown on Channel 4. The series has many subtle as well as obvious jokes and follows a group of secondary school teachers as they show themselves to be just as immature as their students.

While the first series centres around "Simon Casey" (played by Andrew Lincoln), later series have a more balanced ensemble cast. The cast changes dramatically over time, with few original characters remaining in the fourth series. While some of these disappearances are explained, others happen between series without explanation.

The first three series are set in the fictional Summerdown Comprehensive, which merges with another school in the fourth series to form Wattkins School.

The series was filmed at the former Lockleaze school, and other locations around Bristol, England.

Teachers was nominated for six BAFTA awards between 2002 and 2004, and was nominated for Best British Comedy Show at the British Comedy Awards in 2003.

In January 2005, after a muted reception to the fourth series, Channel 4 announced that Teachers would not continue for a fifth series. A short-lived U.S. version was aired in 2006.

Cast

Main cast

Actor Series Character Name Subject Character Description
Andrew Lincoln 1-2, 3 Simon Casey English The focus of the first series. Regularly clashed with department head Bob over his laid back approach to teaching, and also with fellow English teacher Jenny, who he ended up having sex with, and eventually became friends with in the 2nd series. He was good friends with Brian and Kurt but his best friend was Susan. She helped him through most of his problems, and he expressed deep remorse for not being there for her in episode 6 of series 1. He becomes attracted to her in one episode of the 2nd series but the two still maintain their closeness. He left before the end of that series to apparently go travelling in South America. He returned briefly in series 3 where he acted as a supply teacher for 3 episodes, and it was revealed his travels didn't extend out of the UK. He did not return in the fourth series. The actor also directed some of the show's episodes.
Adrian Bower 1-3 Brian Steadman Physical education, Geography A PE teacher originally; later became a geography teacher. Chided for his Northerner accent and generally perceived to be a little dim-witted. Mysteriously killed off between the 3rd and 4th series, apparently in a car crash (Brian's car) which kills himself, Kurt and Matt. Lindsay, Penny and Bob later visit their graves in episode 1 of series 4. (Two characters looking like Kurt and Brian can be seen in the background of many episodes of Series 4.)
Navin Chowdhry 1-3 Kurt McKenna Information technology Dated the secretary Carol briefly. Generally more intelligent than Brian. Sometimes taunted for being of short stature. Quit smoking when he was trying to woo a parent, very desperate to have sex with anyone. Also killed off between the 3rd and 4th series, apparently in a car crash involving Matt. (Two characters looking like Kurt and Brian can be seen in the background of the staff room in many episodes of Series 4)
Raquel Cassidy 1-2 Susan Gately Psychology Separated from and later divorced husband Peter. She then moved in with fellow teacher, Jenny. Acts as the group's shrink, as she is the one they go to for advice. Has a nervous breakdown in the 1st series after taking on too much administrative work. Susan appeared to be good friends with everyone and even got on with many of her superiors. Her best friend was Simon, and she acted as his shrink most of the time. Many of the story lines in series 1 and 2 had something to do with their friendship, including one episode in series 2, where Simon became attracted to her. When Simon left in series 2, his last scene was with Susan, and he suggested she came with him. She declined but it became clear how close the two characters were. Disappears without explanation between seasons 2 and 3.
Nina Sosanya 1-2 Jenny Paige English The object of much discussion and desire amongst the male characters; Jenny had one night stands with both Brian and Simon (although Jenny was quick to suggest Susan seduce Brian, citing her experience with him as pleasant enough). Originally not involved with the main group but was integrated into the group during the first season. Promoted to Head of Year 11 at the end of that series, and had a notable relationship with educational psychologist Alec in series 2. Disappeared without explanation between seasons 2 and 3.
Tamzin Malleson 2-4 Penny Neville English Arrived as an NQT in series 2. With a reputation for making disastrous choices in men, she had a 10-month affair with Matt, and later a relationship with pupil Anthony Millington. Has false breasts, and regularly tries to manipulate her colleagues by crying in order to get herself out of trouble. She was initially very unpopular with her colleagues (especially Liz) although by the fourth series, Penny had become a much more integrated member of the group.
James Lance 2-3 Matt Harvey English Replaced Simon. Married with children, however had several extramarital affairs, including a 10 month relationship with Penny, and later a short lived affair with Lindsay. He attempts to deny his 'true' feelings for Lindsay (illustrated through his assertion that there is no love in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream). Also killed off between the 3rd and 4th series in a car crash.
Shaun Evans 2 John Paul (J.P.) Keating Modern Foreign Languages Specialises in French, and originally mistaken for a sixth former. The show's only main homosexual character. Extremely sociable with everyone. Disappears without explanation between seasons 2 and 3. Simon is also extremely jealous of him as he replaced Simon as the person who gets the most attention.
Vicky Hall 3-4 Lindsay Pearce Biology Extremely popular amongst the male members of the group, Lindsay in a sense replaced the void left by Susan. Lindsay also embarked on a brief affair with Matt after much sexual tension between the two, but as of series 4 it was revealed their relationship had ended, when Matt returned to his wife.
Lee Williams 4 Ewan Doherty English Head of English at Wattkins School. Mild-mannered, skirt chaser in the series. Feels sorry for Bob, who made him the subject of a hate campaign after losing his position to him when the two schools merged. Shares a flat with Damien and Ben, and may have saved Wattkins from closure by seducing the inspector. Usually this would be done by Clare, but unfortunately for her the inspector turned out to be a woman.
Daon Broni 4 Damien Waller Food Technology Normally sarcastic and un-impressed with the antics in the group. Likes to get Ben into slightly awkward situations from time to time. Had a crush on an inter teacher but did not really get pursued. Found out about Bob's mail-order bride and exposed the secret which led to his disgust against him. Named Bob as "fat bastard" in his mobile.
Mathew Horne 4 Ben Birkett Religious Education A hypochondriac. At one point thought that he would be dead after being foretold by a Ouija board as a child. Changed religion nearly twice a day at one point in an attempt to please all the gods of different religions.

Supporting Cast

  • Lloyd McGuire – Bob Porter, the previous head of English. Though initially a relatively minor character (his role in series 1 was as a scary authority figure who would get on Simon's back about incomplete work), by Series 3 he had developed into a main character, almost one of the gang (though he was repeatedly made fun of and generally disliked) and most of his scenes revolved around his buffoonery or foul mouth. Lost his position to Ewan, whom he hates a lot. He ordered a bride from Thailand (Ping) who had an affair with Ewan later on. Ping dumped Bob at their wedding reception. His first wife - Yvonne - left him for 'the Sky installation man' in series 3. This was because she was not satisfied with their sex life, after a brief revival, due to the series 2 Christmas party.
  • Ellen Thomas – Liz Webb, one of the school secretaries, known for her witty and acerbic put-downs. Her daughter, Kayla, was in Brian's class in series 2 and 3. Despite being married, she had a one night stand with Kurt, and an intense affair with Bob for a few days after the Bonfire Night Disco.
  • Gillian Bevan – Clare Hunter, the headmistress. Usually provides the staff with their topic of discussion for the episode (disabilities, age awareness etc.). Had a brief fling with Bob. Was renowned for her iron-like nature, as exemplified with her no-nonsense approach towards Carol and the "Come In" buzzer which sounded on the opening of her office door.
  • Ursula Holden-Gill – Carol Schicklgruber, one of the school secretaries. Speaks very rarely and incoherently, apart from when repeating something that Clare has said, when her impression is perfect. Had a brief relationship with Kurt, and it is suggested they got back together after the second series, though they are not together in the third. Carol is pregnant at the start of Series 3 and the father is unknown. The baby is born later in the series and is regularly accidentally left behind by Carol in various locations. It is eventually revealed that the baby is Chinese, and therefore not Kurts. The assertion by the main characters is that the maths teacher Mr Chong is the father, an assumption reinforced by Carol's reaction towards him in Series 4.
  • Zoe Telford – played the police officer girlfriend of Simon, Maggie. Dumped by Simon in the final episode of series 1, after he slept with Jenny, and is not seen again.
  • Jonas Armstrong – played Antony Millington, a student who has a brief affair with Penny, who originally thinks he's a teacher. He dumps her after deciding that he needs to focus on his school work, though she rather childishly tries to make his life miserable. He then mentions the affair to Liz to try to get Penny off his back, but they manage to reconcile before any news of it gets to the headmistress. The two get back together at the end of series 4 when the school year ends.
  • Jason Boyd played premature balding student "Grint" the 3rd and 4th series. He had an episode focused on him when he was found "wanking in a cupboard" by Damien. He is a practicing Buddhist and also was seen to be a member of the 'Aryan Society' along with Carol the school secretary, in series 4 which Penny is invited to join..
  • The Canteen Dwarfs – Although the very first episode features tall dinner ladies, many of the school's canteen staff are dwarfs, for no apparent reason. They appear as background characters in various scenes, seldom speaking or interacting with the teaching and administrative staff. Dramatically, the Canteen Dwarfs are used to perpetrate many visual jokes, running parallel to the (spoken) dialogue of the main characters, usually at the bin-yard behind the school kitchen. For example, whilst some teachers have a sly smoke between lessons, a dwarf is seen climbing out of a large industrial rubbish bin. A few moments later, another dwarf follows. The teachers seem oblivious.
  • Liz White played Eileen, a dinner lady who spends the night with Simon and in a later episode goes on a date with Brian in series 3. She is not a dwarf.
  • Damien Goodwin - played Alec, the school psychologist. He had a relationship with Jenny. Kurt, Brian and Simon usually came to him for advice, which didn't please Susan. Jenny broke up with him because she thought the relationship was getting boring.
  • Suthas Bhoopongsa - played Ping, Bob's Thai bride. Bob got her over the internet in Series Four. When she arrived, she slept with Ewan, without Bob knowing. Bob married Ping in the final episode, but she left him, because she only wanted British citizenship.
  • Kara Tointon played Pauline Young, a year 11 pupil in Simon's class and friends with Cheryl. Pauline slept with Cheryl's boyfriend and gave him crabs, which Brian accidently revealed. Also "complained" when Bob stared at her breasts during French. She only appeared in Series 1 not returning for Year 13 to work for her dad in an office job.
  • Phoebe Thomas played Cheryl Cassidy, Pauline's friend and also a year 11 pupil in Simon's class. Dumped her boyfriend following Simon's advice after he wouldn't have sex with her but later realised this was due to him catching crabs off her friend Pauline. She only appeared in Series 1 with no explanation to her departure.
  • James Corden played Jeremy Stevens, probably the smartest pupil in Simon's year 11 class. He would always worry about Simon's lack of "proper" teaching and loved being tested, much to his fellow classmates dismay. He disappeared after Series 1 and returns in Series 3, as a sixth former, when Simon's returns from travelling and quizzes him on the places he went.

Episodes

List of Teachers Episodes

Themes

Like many sitcoms Teachers had certain themes that it maintained through every episode. These included:

  • Appearances of animals, particularly donkeys, in unusual places
  • Every day beginning with some form of journey, usually to school, with the name of the day written in the scenery or a prop. A police car with sirens usually featured.
  • A staffroom scene early in the episode, usually with an announcement by Clare to set up one of the plots or premises of the episode.
  • Smoking is a very prominent feature in every episode. A lot of the scenes in all episodes, primarily through the first three seasons, feature members of the cast smoking as they banter

Every episode featured contemporary music, usually with clips of at least five songs (regularly including the bands The Dandy Warhols and Feeder), and the soundtrack to all four series has been released on CD by the Channel 4 shop. The theme tune is the solo section of The Boy With The Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian.

DVD Release

All four series of Teachers have been released individually and as a complete boxed set in Region 2 (UK).

See also

External links

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