School from hell hits TV

12th August 2005 at 01:00
A school-based cartoon likely to cause more controversy than South Park and Teachers combined begins broadcasts next week. Bromwell High is set in a run-down south London comprehensive and features 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 workforce reforms, with the head 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rebuilt using sponsorship from the Albanian Fried Chicken company, only for pupils to discover that the curriculum has been replaced by a series of chicken-related subjects.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 cartoon has already attracted the ire of the television watchdog Mediawatch. It is also likely to upset more conservative members of teachers' unions. The series is written by the team behind Goodness Gracious Me.

Bromwell High begins August19 on Channel 4 at 11.20pm

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