Inside Television: Why TV teachers are low-grade
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 05 December 2013
This week we found out that British schoolkids are still as thick as ever, according to the PISA tests comparing 65 different countries for maths, reading and science. While the politicians argue over who's to blame, TV already knows – it's those bloody lazy teachers.
Bad Education on BBC3, Man Down on Channel 4 and BBC1's Big School all portray school staff as vainer, sillier and more immature than their adolescent charges. It's notable that the one school-set programme in which teachers come off as dedicated professionals is also the one fly-on-the-wall documentary, Educating Yorkshire.
So what is it, exactly, that sitcom writers have against the teaching profession? Could it be that the qualities which make for a successful TV career aren't properly valued by an academic system which uses only maths, reading and science as measures of intelligence?
Obscurity's the name of the game
The classrooms of 2018 will be full of little Jesses, Carries, Brodys and Aryas according to new research conducted by the website BabyCentre. Traditional royal names like George are decreasing in popularity, while names from TV shows are on the up.
Breaking Bad, Homeland and Game of Thrones are among the most-watched programmes on TV, so if your child is to have a name that's both individual and speaks to the parents' good taste, you'll need a more obscure inspiration.
I recommend the sitcom Toast of London on Channel 4, which features characters called Hamilton Meathouse, Dinky Frinkbuster and Kikini Bamalam.
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