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Cartoon staff too chicken to strike

A school-based cartoon series likely to cause more controversy than South Park and Teachers combined begins next week.

Bromwell High is set in a run-down south London comprehensive, with a cast of swearing teenagers and depressed teachers.

The Channel 4 programme contains plentiful jokes about sex and drugs, as well as scenes where pupils complain that "tolerance is for gays" and consider defecating on a teacher's car.

But it is also sharply satirical about New Labour education initiatives.

One episode appears to lampoon the Government's workforce reforms, with the headteacher replacing all his staff with monkeys - except for the PE teacher. "The unions don't like it when you replace teachers with monkeys," remarks a Department for Education and Skills official. "Especially when they get a better Ofsted report."

Bromwell High is rebuilt using sponsorship from the Albanian Fried Chicken company, only for pupils to discover that the curriculum has been replaced by a series of chicken-related subjects.

The teachers are too fearful to take industrial action, so it is left to the pupils to fight back by calling a school election and setting up the "Save Comprehensive Education and F**k the Police" party.

Television watchdog Mediawatch fears the cartoon will encourage criminal behaviour among pupils and is urging parents to write to their MPs.

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Bromwell High begins next Friday on Channel 4 at 11.20pm

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