Hopes of glory;Leading Article;Opinion

25th June 1999 at 01:00
The new breed of Cockney-speaking Liverpudlian is proof of the power of television. Will this week's much-hyped new drama, Hope and Glory, bathe teachers in the same glamour as the doctors in Casualty or the firefighters in London's Burning?

Given the cynicism of the age, the return of Mr Chips - as black superhead Ian George - is unexpected. Episode one built unswervingly to the point where George spurned the high-powered government job and the Jag for a sink school he had recommended for closure. A likely story, you say.

But don't mock too soon. Hope and Glory is intended to be "about heroic teachers and making a difference" and there is no doubt teachers need a better image. And who better to star than the much-loved Lenny Henry?

The profession's public relations problem is deep-seated, fuelled by the tabloids, politicians on the make, and bad memories of school which still rankle with many adults. One drama won't change the world. But along with the Teaching Awards, due to be announced Oscar-style in a BBC1 tele-fest on July 11, we might see the beginning of a new appreciation of what teachers do achieve.

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