Leading comedy actress and former Doctor Who companion Catherine Tate stars alongside Life on Mars actor Philip Glenister in Big School, a six-part BBC One comedy drama. The first half-hour episode is due to be broadcast on Friday 16 August 2013. The programme also features David Walliams, who makes up the love triangle among the three teachers at Greybridge School.
Big School: BBC One comedy starring Catherine Tate and Philip Glenister
Catherine Tate, Philip Glenister and David Walliams star in Big School, a six-part comedy due to start on BBC One on Friday 16 August 2013.
Catherine Tate in Big School
Photo: BBC/Des Willie
When French teacher Miss Postern (played by Catherine Tate) arrives at her new secondary school, she finds herself attracting the attentions of both gym teacher Mr Gunn (played by Philip Glenister) and chemistry teacher Mr Church (played by David Walliams). This love triangle forms the basis of Big School, a six-part comedy due to start on BBC One on Friday 16 August 2013.
Miss Postern arrives at Greybridge School to take over the role of French teacher after the death of her predecessor. She has never been to France but she does have some odd teaching methods, such as vocab tennis. But she soon attracts the attention of Mr Gunn, who sees himself as the alpha male in the staff room. But Mr Gunn has a rival in the form of Mr Church, who was thinking of retiring until the arrival of Miss Postern.
Actors in Big School
Catherine Tate is one of Britain’s leading comedy actresses with two British Comedy Awards and three nominations plus five Bafta nominations, all for The Catherine Tate Show. And the programme saw her win a Royal Television Society Award and be nominated for an Emmy. She has also won SFX and TV Quick awards and picked up a nomination for a National Television Award for her role as Doctor Who companion Donna Noble. Other notable parts have included Angela Phillips in Wild West and Nellie Bertram in The Office.
Philip Glenister in Big School
Photo: BBC/Des Willie
Philip Glenister is best known for his role as Gene Hunt in Life on Mars and the sequel Ashes to Ashes. The part earned him two Golden Nymph nominations at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, three National Television Award nominations and a Royal Television Society nomination. The role also saw him win a TV Quick Award and be nominated for three others. His acting career dates back to the 1990s with roles such as Brian Gregson in Ruth Rendall Mysteries, Joe Martin in Have Your Cake and Eat It and William Dobson in Vanity Fair. More recently, he has played James Mackintosh in Clocking Off, DCI William Bell in State of Play, Phil in Roger Roger, Oberst Heinrich Baron Von Rheingarten in Island at War, DCI David Driscoll in Vincent, Mr Carter in Cranford, Rupert Galvin in Demons, Harry Venn in Hidden and Quinn in Mad Dogs.
“Basically the thing about Gunn is that it’s all bravado and underneath it he’s just a saddo who lives at home with his mum so he’s a bit of a fantasist in that respect,” said Glennister. “All the things he says about ‘what do you want to do with Miss Postern’, you just know it would never happen.”
David Walliams has won two Baftas and earned five nominations, mostly for his performances in Little Britain, the other two nominations being for Come Fly With Me and Mr Stink. He also has a Doctor Who connection, having played Gibbis in the 2011 episode “The God Complex”.
Frances de la Tour plays headmistress Ms Baron, Joanna Scanlan plays drama teacher Mrs Klebb, Steve Speirs is geography teacher Mr Barber, Daniel Rigby is music teacher Mr Martin, Julie T Wallace is Mr Church’s lab assistant Pat and James Greene is head of science Mr Hubble. Manyou, one of the pupils, is played by Jovian Wade.
Most of the rest of the pupils were, well, pupils. Filming in a real school meant they had little problem finding willing school children. “The school we actually filmed in, the kids gave up their school holidays to come and be extras in the show which was amazing,” said Tate. “You’d struggle to people that amount of background if they hadn’t given up their time to come and do it. They were in their own school so they were familiar with it, which makes such a difference. They made a huge addition which was great.”
Team Behind Big School
Big School was a BBC Production in association with Bert Productions. It was produced by Jo Sargent and executive produced by Mark Freeland. The six half-hour episodes were directed by Tony Dow.
“It's an absolute privilege to work with such a brilliant cast and off-screen production team,” said Mark Freeland, BBC head of in-house comedy. “Like my Latin GCSE, nothing can go wrong. At least that's what I thought at the time.”