Teachers: Complete Series Review

Image for Teachers: Complete Series

Tells the amusing truth about the 'adults' caring for the young minds of this country.


In the interim between leaving school and becoming a proper, functioning, responsible member of society (and it takes a lot longer for some of us than others), most folks will come into contact with people their own age who have themselves become teachers. The first time it happens, it’s a bit of a shock to discover the reality gap between the memory’s view of ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’, and the rather... ordinary person we’re presented with.

This is the joy of Teachers. Throughout its four (rather hefty) series, there was something rather comforting in watching the assortment of misfits who cared as little about their job as the rest of the population being as savage and immature to each other as the kids they were supposed to be watching over.

The show peaked in its second series, when the original cast (Andrew Lincoln, Nina Sosanya, Raquel Cassidy, with Adrian Bower and Navin Chowdhry as the show’s true backbone, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of immaturity, Brian and Kurt) were not only retained, but expanded upon. Thereafter it was a constantly changing line-up — in fact, the major fault of the programme was the failure to explain the various vanishings of characters between series (not to mention the bizarre killing-off of three before its final outing).

By the last season it wasn’t only the staff who were changing — the relocation to an entirely new school (Summerdown was ordered to merge with the neighbouring Wattkins school) and shift of focus to the woes of the older, mid-life disaster area Bob (the excellent and accurate Lloyd McGuire) proved to be ideas straying too far from the successful formula; the audience dwindled, and Channel 4 pulled the plug.

But forgiving the few faltering stepsat the end, the beauty here is in the details, and there’s no shortage of them, especially sight gags, usually involving the school donkey or the kids actually trying to kill one another (never once paid any attention by the teachers outside the classroom). Sharp writing doesn’t hurt, either; not a hell of a lot actually happens over the course of an episode, and if it does, you’re not really that bothered. But like Seinfeld, the characters have rhythms of their own that, once you’re hooked, become as endearing as that Belle & Sebastian tune over the end credits.