Return run for a class act

(L-R) Ms Baron (FRANCES DE LA TOUR), Miss Postern (CATHERINE TATE), Mr Church (DAVID WALLIAMS) and Mr Gunn (PHILIP GLENISTER)

(L-R) Ms Baron (FRANCES DE LA TOUR), Miss Postern (CATHERINE TATE), Mr Church (DAVID WALLIAMS) and Mr Gunn (PHILIP GLENISTER)

First published in Entertainment & Lifestyle
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Big School (BBC1, 9.30pm)

MOST youngsters will feel its a little too early to be discussing a return to school, but the staff at Greybridge are ready and raring to go... and few of their fans will mind giving up a non-school night to catch up on science teacher Mr Church's (David Walliams) unrequited love for French mistress Miss Postern (Catherine Tate). Meanwhile, PE's Mr Gunn (Philip Glenister) thinks he's God's gift to women, geography's Mr Barber (Steve Spiers) is permanently on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and headmistress Ms Baron (Frances de la Tour) prefers confiscating illegal substances (and dabbling in them) to keeping order.

The only change in the plot involves Mr Barber moving to the supposedly less stressful position of school caretaker.

In the opening episode, we discover there is friction between Miss Postern and Mr Church caused by a mix-up over a date at a local restaurant. Well there just has to be too restaurants called Bella Italia in town.

"Mr Church is very uptight," says Walliams, who co-writes the series. "I think that is why he has probably never had any success with the opposite sex his entire life."

Miss Postern pushes her would-be beau to the back of her mind to organise a careers workshop, where it becomes clear she needs advice as much as her pupils do, especially after she comes face-to-face with one of the speakers – her old college sparring partner Fenella Forbes, who is now a best-selling children's author. Morgana Robinson plays Fenella, and is just one of several guest stars lined-up for the series.

"Jack Carroll, the brilliant comedian who came second on Britain's Got Talent last year was perfect to play a kid in this series and he was really funny," explains David. "Myself and the Dawson Brothers wrote the part with him in mind and we had a lot of fun writing material for him.

"Also, a childhood hero of mine, Michele Dotrice, who played Betty in Some Mothers Do Have 'Em, plays Mr Gunn's mum and she was absolutely brilliant. Everyone on set was so excited we had someone so legendary with us."

Viewers will have to wait a while before they appear on screen, but whether the humour is old-school or laser-guided those who appreciate Walliams take on the world are set for a class act.

Micky Flanagan: Back in the Game (Channel 4, 9pm)

Cockney comic Mickey Flanagan worked as a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, a dishwasher, a window cleaner and a furniture maker, before trying his hand at comedy aged 35. Now, he's one of stand-up's biggest names. In fact, last year's Back in the Game tour pulled in more than half-a-million people across the UK and Ireland. The show featured his best material to date, and for anyone who's only ever seen him on the myriad of panel shows that seemed to help launch his televisual career, this is a must-see. Especially since this recording sees him performing to his home crowd, at London's Hackney Empire.

Marston's Brewery: One Ale of a Job! (Channel 5, 8pm)

BY now, it's pretty obvious I'm a sucker for a reality show with the potential for comedy characters. This documentary follows some of the 13,000 staff at Marstons brewery, who you may think are among the luckiest folk around. In this first edition of the three-parter, we see how engineer Ian McCormack and brewer Maurice Walton have to fix a dangerous broken boiler at the brewery in Ringwood, Hampshire, before disaster strikes, while distribution manager Geoff Rock has a busy Friday in Wolverhampton organising the delivery of 400 barrels and pubs in Dorchester are on the point of running dry.

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