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Teachers love wild TV image

The unions may be offended by the irresponsible stars of Channel 4's new drama, but many staff like the fact that there's not an elbow-patch in sight. Amanda Kelly reports

PORTRAYING teachers as sex-crazed beings who squeeze in a spot of marking down the pub, when they're not breaking into school, has not gone down well with the biggest teacher's union. But, after just one episode of Channel 4's new eight-part series Teachers, readers of The TES are hooked.

Or at least most of those who e-mailed our website are.

"Brilliant, hilarious, essential late-night viewing to break up the tedium of marking," raved Geoff, from Preston. "If you don't like it, don't watch it. It's time we lost the 'only got one jacket with leather patches on the elbows' image anyway."

Sally, from Leeds, thought that the series might even boost her social life.

She explained: "At least Teachers shows people who are the opposite of boring middle-aged schoolmarms with perms, obsessed with poor pay and mounting paperwork. Perhaps now I can stop pretending to be a secretary when people ask me what my job is."

Steve, from Barnstable, certainly wasn't impressed when he heard that NationalUnion of Teachers general secretary Doug McAvoy had complained that the programme would make the profession unattractive to potential recruits.

"Grow up, Mr McAvoy!" he cried. "Does the Police Federation complain about The Bill or the British Medical Association about Casualty?

"If the teaching profession has a reputation for stuffiness and pomposity, part of this must be down to the public face of the profession - our union leaders pontificating on TV at every opportunity. Please save your ire for the real issues."

However, it wasn't just Mr McAvoy who took exception to the foul-mouthed, irresponsible behaviour of the show's star, Simon, a 27-year-old English teacher (played by Andrew Lincoln of This Life fame).

"It was so over-the-top I switched off after 15 minutes," said a clearly unimpressed Ian Hollingsworth, from London.

An "offensive piece of sexist garbage" was the reaction of Surya, from Liverpool, who added: "Simon would have been throttled in any of the schools I've worked in. It was full of all the usual trendy 'kids, call me Simon' cliches. I will not be staying up again for this banality."

Jane Fallon, 'Teachers' producer, 18

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