I'm returning to Bad Education to keep Layton Williams’ ego in check | Jack Whitehall returns for an all-singing, all-dancing Christmas special © BBC/Tiger Aspect

I'm returning to Bad Education to keep Layton Williams’ ego in check

Jack Whitehall returns for an all-singing, all-dancing Christmas special

Bad Education is returning for a ‘all-signing all-dancing’ Christmas special – making the most of current Strictly star Layton Williams’ musical theatre background and marking the return of Jack Whitehall for a cameo as Alfie Wickers. Here the cast and showrunner Freddy Syborn talk about the hsow 

Jack Whitehall as Alfie Wickers

The Bad Education Christmas special is an all-singing, all-dancing Christmas spectacular. It was originally my idea, but Layton in particular has done a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to delivering my vision. I am tone deaf and have two left feet, so we really let him take front and centre with this episode, and it's a wonderful opportunity for him to shine.

And obviously Alfie is back, albeit slightly differently than viewers might expect. It's always fun to drop back in, if for no other reason, than even if I only appear in the show for five minutes, I'm just magically number one on the call sheet, which means that Layton has to be number two, and it's good to keep his ego in check for another year.

So that's why I like to make sure that I have a fleeting appearance in Bad Education with each new series just to make sure that Layton doesn't get too big for his boots.

Layton Williams dancing

Layton Wiliams as teacher  Stephen Carmichael

Oh, my God, I have been rooting for a musical episode from day dot, as you can imagine. So we finally got the moment. 

We're doing a play on A Christmas Carol and of course, I'm Scrooge. For most of the massive dance numbers, I'm watching Mitchell and the kids in Class K dance about.

It was so magical and I was so proud of them, they properly committed to it and I'm really excited for people to see it because you're seeing people in a different light. Like Jack Whitehall singing and dancing - ish. I would say ish! And Mat Horne, he killed it. I just remember being like, I'm witnessing Mat Horne jump and sing about in his crazy wig, what more could you want for Christmas?

Charlie Wernham as teacher Mitchell Harper

 From series one Layton always said I just want to do a musical episode of Bad Education. As someone who doesn't sing or dance, I would have been happy to sit this one out, but actually we worked out a way where Mitchell was in his own story. 

We thought about what Mitchell's dream Christmas would be and it was like a Die Hard Christmas. So we ended up having two ends of the spectrum, the singing and dancing and then Mitchell running around beating up German foreign exchange students, and that coming together and colliding is really fun.

But also, the Class K kids are super talented, they're all triple threats so seeing them throw themselves into the musical numbers was amazing. And I feel like it's sort of Mitchell's hero moment, even though I don't do a lot. So I feel a little bit smug for that episode to be honest. 

There's a whole song about Mitchell, which I absolutely love. I don't think Stephen's got his own song. I like to Rub that in a little bit.

Vicki Pepperdine as headmistress Bernadette Hoburn

It's a funny retelling of A Christmas Carol which brings back characters from past series, including Jack Whitehall. Hoburn is the Ghost of Christmas Future, clad in a ludicrous outfit which definitely ranks up there with the most absurd costumes I've ever worn in a show!

Mat Horne as ex-head Simon Fraser

We had a lot of fun because there are big choreographed sequences with dancing and musical numbers. It's always fun filming a Christmas special in the middle of summer. It's just been really enjoyable seeing the whole show go up a level, it's just wonderful.

Ali Hadji-Heshmati as pupil Warren

 We all really loved doing the dance. Our choreographer Shay Barclay was so patient particularly because, other than Laura, we weren't too great. We're all really excited to share it because we’re so proud of it.

Showrunner Freddy Syborn 

We've got some song and dance numbers in the Christmas Special, which I love. It’s just a really good example of where our show has gone, especially with Layton as one of our new leads, obviously that's us tailoring the show to the strengths of our lead performers. And so that feels like a really exciting new discovery that we’d have never done 10 years ago.

But also everyone loved doing it and it was a pleasure to shoot. I think if you feel the joy of the performers and the excitement of the people making the programme that comes through the screen. So we've tried to make more of the things that people love.

Published: 3 Dec 2023

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