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I TALK TO The Pupils from Bad Education

Just after chatting to Jack Whitehall about the new series of Bad Education over at Wimbledon Studios the door bursts open and in come the six pupils that complete the show's brilliant cast.

First through the door were Jack Binstead and Ethan Lawrence who play Rem Dogg and Joe, closely followed by Charlie Wernham, Layton Williams, Nikki Runeckles and Kae Alexander who play Mitchell, Stephen, Chantelle and Jing.


What's clear from the moment they walk through the door is how much they all get on. Sure it's a cliche to say but coming from me it's true and even when I saw them all again the other week at an exclusive Bad Education screening, they were all sat behind me and I could hear how much they enjoyed the show and the banter that went on between them all was really refreshing to see.


Judging from the first two episodes which I've already seen, this series is funnier and more 'out there' than the first and having had a chance to speak to the pupils of Abbey Grove School, I think it's safe to say these six will be friends for a very long time.


First of all, what has the reaction been like to the first series?


Charlie: I think it went down really well the first series. We knew it was going to do well because we saw it and it was really funny - but after it aired we were really surprised by how well it did and when we knew we'd been given a second series we couldn't wait to get cracking with it. The new scripts are funnier, it's brilliant it's so so good to be back.


What can we expect from the pupils in the new series?

Kae: There's a lot more interaction between us, where as last year it was kind of us and Alfie. Whereas this year I think there are a lot more relationships. 


Layton: And we don't have lines for the sake of it, I don't think every line I say is - "I'm so gay!" (Everyone laughs). We have casual chats which is nice - to prove we are human. 


Charlie: I think it's really nice to have scenes with people you don't normally interact with. I've had one with Mat (Horne) which was really really nice. I think Jing's character has developed really well - she puts Mitchell in his place! It's really nice to get more involved with everyone's relationships rather than just Alfie and certain pupils, so it is nice. 


Ethan: What we found coming into the second series, is how a lot more detail has been put in, in terms of the conversations we have and connections we have. Off-set as well you know, there's always banter around the set.


How much input do you each have into the script? Do you ever get the chance to change your lines?


Jack: Oh yeah. When we're on set, doing various takes, various close-ups, things like that - we're always encouraged to throw stuff into the mix to see if it'll work. Because, unlike before, where the scripts had a long kind of gestation period, series one was done and then it was - BOSH... go! So they're still very organic and very malleable when we're doing them. And quite often, usually Charlie, would slip in an extra - "Gay" or something. (Laughs). 


Layton: Jack (Whitehall) actually said to me when we were at the rehearsals and the read-throughs that if I go through my script and think - no Stephen would say like "Werk!" or "Fierce!" or something like that at the end of the something, or he would say a certain thing then just to add it in and just ask him before we start filming. 


I've gone up to him a few times and he's liked what I've said and gone - "Do it." Or a cheeky little hashtag here and there - it's just getting the lingo right. The real deal. As much as they think they can do all our characters, it's not quite there I don't think! (Everyone laughs). 


Charlie: I think it's really nice, because when Freddy (Syborn) is on set and they're watching it on the monitors and they think of something funny, they come in and put their ideas forward. Then when you're working with Jack (Whitehall) and Mat (Horne) and obviously Sarah (Solemani) - who are always chucking in stuff. It encourages you to do it as well, so it is really nice and you learn a lot.


C'mon then... he's not here. What's it like working with Jack Whitehall?


Charlie: I've got the scars yeah! (Laughs). 


Nikki: No, he's really nice. He's just a child! (Laughs). 


Layton: We just chill, we all just have banter and when he's there we're not like - "Oh, Jack's here, give him space." It's cool that we can just chill and talk to him and he's just a really nice guy. 


Jack: Yeah, it's not split so that the adults stay together and then us pupils in the programme stay together. It's all just a big mix of all the characters together just hanging out. 


Charlie: It's scary as well, because when Elliot the director turns around to Jack and goes - "Yeah, you can just have fun with this one and do what you want." - and then he comes into the classroom you literally have no idea what he's gonna chuck at you. Literally, you don't know what he's going to throw at you!


The same with Mat and Layton as well. If someone goes - "Layton, you can just go and do what you want on this." - he's like (Clicks fingers) "Werk!" (Everyone laughs).


What's the response been like for you guys when people see you out and about, tweet you? Do you get recognised now?


Ethan: I got recognised in Sainsbury's! That was quite funny. I was at the end of an aisle and I spotted a group of teenagers walking past and they did a double take, and I thought - "Oh, here we go!". It is amusing on Twitter though when the episodes go out and you get people saying - "Hahahaha! You should get the Victoria Cross for not killing yourself." - and it's like oh yeah, great thanks. 


Layton: I'm only recognised when I'm in Soho! (Laughs). In the club, everyone's on it and they go - "Ooh are you the guy...?" (Laughs). 


Jack: When it came out we had people coming up to us saying - "It's you. You're the one from the TV programme." We did get a lot of people, but a lot of it was across social networking sites, we had quite a lot of feedback. 


Nikki: I had a lot of people asking me if I was really a slut, if I was 15, and if I was interested. But no I'm not 15 and I'm not a slut. (Laughs).


Do you think social media has been quite important for the success of the show then?


Ethan: I think it was a solid decision to make an Alfie Wickers twitter account, because it put the show into that sphere and I think in today's world it's ALWAYS good to have stuff on the internet. 


Charlie: It's the modern way for people to do it now isn't it? To get feedback and advertise the show. So yeah, it is good that that's the way they've done it. 


Layton: I think it's really nice when people just go out their way to say good things, I've not heard that many bad things on Twitter. They're just so nice - "We love you." - it's really great to hear nice responses about the hard work we've been up to.


Looking back, what was your favourite moment from Series One?


Nikki: The football one I really enjoyed, and it was nice to be out of the school. 


Layton: As much as we love the classroom scenes, we love getting out and doing different scenes. 


Charlie: The one for me was these guys dragging Rem Dogg through the woods. (Everyone agrees). 


Nikki: The funny part was that we really couldn't get him through the woods so we were truly falling over and truly pushing the wheelchair over. 


Ethan: For me in series one, it was the football one, but in particular when we were all lined up in a row and the ball had to go directly above my head, just enough to go into the goal - and they had one take to get that right. If you watch it back you can genuinely see me about to duck out of the way.


Bad Education returns to BBC Three Tuesday 3rd September at 10pm on BBC Three

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