top of page

I TALK Big School

It's very rare these days for the BBC to hit the spot when it comes to sitcoms. Shows like Count Arthur Strong and Citzen Khan I really enjoyed, but many viewers and critics alike didn't.

Then there was the disaster of The Wright Way, meant to be Ben Elton's triumphant return to BBC One and instead it became the butt of all jokes for the channel and cancelled after just one series.

What they've done recently is repeat Pramface of a Friday night, a great BBC Three sitcom that translates well onto BBC One and audiences really enjoy. But it's about time they got their act together a really funny, clever new sitcom that hits all the right notes. Cue Big School, BBC One's brand new Friday night comedy. And you know what? It's really good.

The series is co-written by David Walliams (Little Britain) and made by the same team who made the Christmas smash based on Walliams' children's book of the same name, Mr Stink. So I guess it's no surprise that this Big School turned out so well.

Set in Greybridge School, Walliams plays Deputy Head of Chemistry, Mr Church. In true Walliams fashion, the character is a little bit camp, larger than life and believe it or not, very very awkward. That said, he is slightly different to the characters Walliams has played before and before long Mr Church becomes an endearing character that I'm sure the audience will grow to love.

When we first meet Mr Church, he's about to resign from the school, but one thing gets in the way - Miss Postern...

Miss Postern is the new French teacher and is played by Catherine Tate and let's just say Mr Church takes quite a shine to her. And why not? After all, she's fresh, flirty and can't really speak French.

Similarly to Walliams, Miss Postern is typical Tate - if you remember her in Doctor Who, you'll know what I mean. It felt like she was always acting - in a sketch show. And whilst the slightly over the top mannerisms are evident in Big School, it works as it fits with the tone of the piece.

What I really love about Big School is the Tate and Walliams pairing. In my opinion comedy on the BBC was at its best when Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show was on and to have them both in one show is such a treat.

Sure, like I've mentioned before they're performances are fairly predictable but at the same time, I'm not sure I would have wanted anything else. On paper the thought of Walliams and Tate together in a comedy excited me and the idea of how they'd be in my head turned out to be exactly how they were in Big School.

The performances from each of the characters along with the distinctiveness of each character adds to the comedy and having now seen most of the series they're characters that you really grow to care about and love.

It's not all about Catherine Tate and David Walliams though - there's also a great supporting cast that includes Phillip Glenister and Frances de la Tour. Glenister plays Mr Gunn, the school's PE teacher who let's just say is a bit rough around the edges and unlike any other role I've seen him play before - not to mention the outfit! Frances de la Tour, fresh from a turn in ITV sitcom Vicious, plays the school's Head teacher - a much better role in my opinion than the one she played in Vicious.

I'm sure the comparisons between this and Bad Education are going to happen, however I think they're lazy comparisons. One is a BBC One friday night family comedy and the other is aimed at young people on BBC Three. I really enjoy both shows and think they both do a great job and are very funny, but it's good to recognise the different audiences the two shows are aiming for. The two shows aren't alike and neither should they be - but they are both very good.

Big School airs Fridays at 9pm on BBC One


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page