Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #54

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf witnesses class warfare and some unfortunate scheduling…

Bad Education

Following on from the surprise that Jack Whitehall can actually act (Fresh Meat), we now get the chance to see if he can write in this new BBC Three sitcom, Bad Education. Judging by this opening episode, the jury’s out.

Whitehall also stars in Bad Education, as a feckless secondary school teacher, surrounded by a mixture of odd staff and bosses, as well as somewhat cliché students. You can’t help but think that Whitehall is trying to cram every minority and stereotypical student into his classroom, ranging from camp, bullies, unfit fat kids, wheelchair-bound, flirtatious, and intellectual oriental.

He seems to have fallen into the trap of making his own character the number one priority, while almost forgetting to flesh out all the others. The headmaster, played by Mathew Horne, comes across as an over-progressive idiot; Whitehall’s love interested (Sarah Solemani) is a bit too innocent; and the stern and frightening deputy head (Michelle Gomez) is like a less surreal – and less funny – version of Sue White from Green Wing.

There were odd moments of mirth, like Whitehall’s Pearl Harbour history lesson, but I think the only reason this could possibly get a second series is because of the star name attached to it.

In With The Flynns

In With The Flynns, the BBC One studio-based sitcom, has returned for a second series – and quite a few changes. For starters, some of the cast have been totally changed, with new actors playing old characters.

However, the main change is the time slot. The first series was broadcast before the watershed; therefore it was seen at the time as the BBC’s attempt to replace My Family with something similar. As a result, it was attacked by just about every TV critic for being as old-fashioned and unfunny as its predecessor – except me, because I quite liked the first series. It wasn’t brilliant, but for what is was (a family-friendly sitcom) it did OK.

The issue is, have all the changes damaged it too much? The humour used is still the same as it was before, featuring tame jokes and slight slapstick. Not innovative, but something you can watch with anyone. The problem now, though, is that it doesn’t fit this slot. Also, there’s the issue of the shows around it. Next Friday’s episode is scheduled between two studio-based sitcom repeats: Miranda before and Mrs. Brown’s Boys after. No favours from the BBC here, slotting it between these two modern day giants.

It’s safe to say that In With The Flynns probably won’t survive long enough to get a third series, to the joy of every other TV critic and reviewer in the country. Except me.