Bad Education Series 1 Episode 3 Review – Self Defence

A new violent computer game is captivating the students and Alfie reminisces about his childhood fads.

Yet again, Alfie’s attempts to get closer to Miss Gulliver lead to problems for the ineffectual educator.

Truly, ‘Bad Education’ is, in my opinion, one of the best comedies on television at the moment. Brilliantly realised and with such great comedy acting, timing and hilarious little sight gags – even with the adolescent humour, it is sometimes so layered that it actually often surprises.

A new craze is sweeping the school in the form of a violent computer game and the teachers are concerned, none more so that Miss Gulliver, meaning that Alfie was also immediately outraged on her behalf. An amnesty of weapons was proposed and Miss Gulliver enlisted Alfie to help. As usual Alfie, desperate to impress Miss Gulliver, claimed that his class had a series of hardcore weapons and after giving them a lecture on being non-violent he needs them to get hold of weapons in order to prove that he was telling the truth. After humiliating himself in front of the weapons expert Ron, brought in to oversee the amnesty, Alfie’s students bring in a number of unusual weapons that only serve to make the hapless teacher cringe. Fraser, dealing with his own embarrassments, was keen to see the children move onto another fad and his attempt to play Dragon’s Den left Alfie with the concept of Franimals (Fruit Animals – not to be confused with the Ricky Gervais creations) and the realisation that perhaps Alfie is not quite the worst teacher in the school.

With the brutal video game in mind, Stephen’s reaction to being bullied started an all out fight in the canteen just as the press arrived, leading to some contextually incorrect headlines. Alfie tried desperately to calm the situation by resorting to the teacher’s saviour, a dreadfully out of date and inappropriate video on violence but his attempts to calm the situation and prove that the brain is the most useful thing against aggression led to a rather odd conversation as to who would win in a fight between Stephen Hawking and a tiger. While Miss Gulliver wanted classes on conflict resolution, Fraser hired a friend from his gym to tutor the kids. I’m certainly no fan of violence but Jack Whitehall being thrown around in a gym kit by a crazed strongman was actually pretty hilarious. Oddly, the situation led to the kids realising the violence wasn’t the answer and Alfie realising that perhaps sometimes a firm hand is called for…in this case to operate a taser. Eventually it was all resolved anyway as the kids moved onto a far more interesting pastime – Murder Blade – which was to Alfie’s surprise startlingly similar to ‘Pogs’, a craze that he had previously mentioned to the class even though they had dissed it at the time and he had accepted that it hadn’t aged well. In the background, Miss Mollinson was subtly inappropriate and Michelle Gomez was delightfully eccentric as always in her role as Miss Pickwell.

It’s easy to find a few of the characters a little tiresome but if you can get through that it really is a great slice of awesome comedy pie. The students of the class really bring this show to life with their combined disdain and admiration for Alfie and as he tries to appear up to date with them, he goes down in the estimation of his peers. Jack Whitehall’s devotion to his craft is immensely admirable as the character of Alfie is from his very own pen, yet he hasn’t exactly painted himself as a hero, just a pathetic class clown which is presumably what he set out to do in the first place. Full of hilarity and high jinks, this school based comedy has all the hallmarks of a hit for BBC Three. Highly entertaining.