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Oil's not well at school canteen

Half the teachers are aliens, the head has a god complex, and the school canteen serves oily chips with nasty side-effects.

It could be a day in the life of any local comp. But, for the Doctor, it is a clear indication of supernatural goings-on.

In the latest episode of Dr Who, produced in Wales and to be shown on BBC1 this Saturday, the travelling timelord and his companions are at the fictional Deffryvale high, investigating the mysterious disappearance of several pupils.

They quickly discover that all is not as it should be. Posing as a physics teacher, the Doctor finds that pupils are disturbingly well-behaved, and demonstrate a prodigious knowledge of his subject. And such studiousness from Year 9 obviously arouses his suspicions.

"I thought they'd all be hoodies," he said. "Happy-slapping hoodies with Asbos and ringtones."

Meanwhile, Rose, his assistant, stumbles on canteen chips being fried in suspicious-looking oil by staff in gas-masks. Deffryvale clearly has no interest in the teachings of Jamie Oliver - a poster impels pupils to "eat more chips!"

This oil-heavy diet was instigated by Mr Finch, the evil-eyed headteacher.

Since the arrival of Mr Finch, played by Anthony Head, better-known for his roles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the Nescafe coffee adverts, Deffryvale pupils have been getting record results.

But the ever-wise Doctor, played by David Tennant, proves what every teacher knows: results are not everything. With the help of K-9, the famous robotic dog, he uncovers a sinister plot to take over the world.

He then sums up the situation with what many teachers would say was all the skill of an Estyn inspector: "Think how bad this could possibly be, and then add another suitcase full of bad."

A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said: "It's extraordinary the lengths to which some schools will go to improve their league-table positions. But Dr Who won't be on their side."

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