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Teachers (2001-04)

Courtesy of Tiger Aspect Productions

Main image of Teachers (2001-04)
Tiger Aspect Productions for Channel 4, tx. 21/3/2001-14/12/2004
39 x 60 min eps in 4 series, colour
Producers Tim Bradley
 Rhonda Smith
Writers includeAndrew Rattenbury
 Ed Roe
 Julie Rutterford
 Richard Stoneman

Cast: Andrew Lincoln (Simon Casey); Gillian Bevan (Clare Hunter); Ursula Holden Gill (Carol); Ellen Thomas (Liz Webb); Adrian Bower (Brian Steadman); Navin Chowdhry (Kurt McKenna); Raquel Cassidy (Susan Gately); Nina Sosanya (Jenny Page)

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The disorganised personal and professional lives of a group of young teachers in a comprehensive school.

Show full synopsis

Teachers (Channel 4, 2001-) is set in a modern inner-city comprehensive, with pupils from diverse social backgrounds. But the pupils are essentially background furniture; the emphasis is on the teachers. On a serious level, it deals with the highs and lows of teaching, the staff-room rivalries and the various hierarchies inherent in the profession. On a more comic level it concerns itself with the lives and loves of a group of young teachers.

Teachers blends comedy and drama in a way that departs from the modern trend for realist drama in series like This Life (BBC, 1996-97) and The Cops (BBC, 1998-2001). The emphasis is on creating humorous moments, rather than developing a sustained narrative. Political issues like low wages, excessive workloads, unwanted inspections and government interference and underfunding are noticeably absent.

Far from the dedicated professionals that typically populate classroom dramas, Teachers' heroes are, mostly, an idle and apathetic bunch, more interested in their own chaotic lives than in their pupils' education or development. Andrew Lincoln, best known as Egg in This Life, plays English teacher Simon. Like Egg, Simon is directionless and lethargic, although basically decent. His colleagues and friends, Kurt (Navin Chowdhry), Brian (Adrian Bower) and Susan (Raquel Cassidy) are equally dissaffected; only Jenny (Nina Sosanya), Simon's nemesis and object of his fantasies, shows any real commitment or ambition.

Like many recent dramas, the transition from twenty-something to thirty-something is a major theme, reflecting the experiences of both the show's creators and its audience. The characters fret over new responsibilities, whether real or imaginary, or deficiencies in their personal and professional lives.

The series aims squarely at a young audience; adopting stylistic techniques, like out of focus photography and unorthodox camera positions (with characters completely obscured in some scenes) and editing, to give it a more contemporary edge. It also features a prominent soundtrack, dominated by contemporary British guitar bands. Music gives the scenes a punchiness, and reflects the soundtrack to the teachers lives, rather than the music the pupils would be listening to.

Julia Toppin

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. The Test (3:00)
2. Hypocrite (2:26)
3. Parents Evening (2:35)
4. Wednesday (1:25)
5. The Interview (1:49)
Complete episode - Part 1 (16:13)
Part 2 (17:01)
Part 3 (13:29)
Channel 4 Comedy
Channel 4 at 25
TV Drama in the 2000s