Bromwell High, an audacious, brand new animated comedy, comes to Channel 4 this week.
Bromwell High is set in an under-funded, overcrowded, graffiti-scarred secondary school in London. It follows the exploits of three exceptionally naughty teenage schoolgirls, one maverick headmaster and a bunch of desperate, underpaid teachers. This bright and lively primetime series is a co-production between Hat Trick Productions and Canada?s Decode Entertainment.
The girls are the last word in streetwise charm ? precocious but likeable, with an uncanny knack of undermining all forms of authority and getting away with it. Keisha Marie is hefty and cheerfully aggressive with more brawn than brain and a big voice to match her big personality; Latrina is South London?s answer to Lolita, a brazen blonde with a bod for sex and a head for more sex; and then there?s Natella ? if Einstein had been a pint-sized schoolgirl ? she?s a brainy born leader who uses her stunning intellect to manipulate both pupils and staff. The trio are a new breed of young ?laydeez?, spending their time snatching credit cards, flirting with the bus conductor and causing havoc as soon as they enter the school gates.
Written by Richard Osman, Richard Pinto and Sharat Sardana (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No 42), Bromwell High is brought to life by an illustrious cast of well-known comedy names including Nina Conti (Winner of the BBC New Comedy Awards 2002), Jo Wyatt, Gina Yashere (Chef, Hope & Glory), Stephen Merchant (co-creator and co-writer of The Office), Doon Mackichan (Smack the Pony), Graeme Garden (The Goodies), Simon Greenall (I?m Alan Partridge), Stephen Mangan (Green Wing) and Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Big Train, Marion and Geoff).
The series is produced by Beth Stevenson and series-produced by Anil Gupta (The Office, Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No 42). The director is Pete Bishop (Captain Star, Spheriks). Executive producers are Hat Trick?s Jimmy Mulville and Mario Stylianides (V Graham Norton, Dead Ringers), and Decode?s Neil Court and Steven DeNure. Stevenson, Court and Denure are partners at Decode Entertainment.
Jimmy Mulville comments: ?Just after the birth of my first son Joe the writers Richard, Richard and Sharat sent me the very first script of Bromwell High. I decided it was one of the funniest scripts I had ever read. Six years later I watched the final version of the first episode, and it was a great feeling. When you watch the show you really empathise with the characters and at times forget that it is animation.?
Decode partner and executive producer, Neil Court, says: ?We hope Bromwell High becomes a ?water cooler? show ? the kind of programme that people can?t stop talking about the next day. It?s certainly one of the most exciting projects Decode has worked on and we?re delighted with the response we?re getting worldwide.?
Caroline Leddy, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: ?Bromwell High is ridiculously funny, deliciously filthy and absolutely cutting edge. It?s a riot.?
Keisha Marie ? voiced by Gina Yashere
More brawn than brain. Big voice and big personality – Keisha is the hefty and cheerfully aggressive member of the trio. She shoots first and asks irrelevant questions later.
She suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder and is always on the look out for new adventures; preferably ones involving a high quotient of anti-establishment activity and physical violence.
Latrina ? voiced by Nina Conti
South London?s answer to Lolita. She?s got a bod for sex and a head for more sex.
Latrina is essentially poor white trash blessed with the kind of blond bombshell good looks that drive men wild. She finds the notion of the seduction very simple and that of contraception very hard.
Her sexual exploits do not disturb her in a psychological way – they?re just something that happen (much like Samantha in Sex and the City) – there?s no soul searching and anti-men ranting after the event. Academically she is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but Latrina doesn?t worry about grades – she takes life as it comes and is always supported by her two friends who seems to take her excessively sexual activity in their stride.
Natella ? voiced by Jo Wyatt
If Einstein had been a pint-sized schoolgirl?
Natella is the youngest and most intelligent of thirteen siblings – an errant Asian prodigy who uses her stunning intellect to manipulate both pupils and staff alike.
In any normal school Natella would certainly be top of the class – so at Bromwell High (happy home of the underachiever) – her cerebral prowess is a nothing short of astonishing.
Iqbal ? voiced by Simon Greenall
Headmaster/Levantine gangster whose exact origins are unknown.
Gregarious and larger than life, Iqbal is not a conventional teacher in any sense. He won the school in a poker game and is still getting to grips with his responsibilities.
His language is colourful but his understanding of grammar non-existent. Although he is loud and opinionated he is not a villainous man and his treatment of the staff and pupils could be described, at its worst, as benign indifference. He can be manipulative and cocky but beneath the rough exterior lurks a conscience, and occasionally Iqbal surprises everyone with moments of humanity and pastoral excellence.
Mr. Bibby ? voiced by Graeme Garden
Geography teacher and arch villain
Roger Bibby is undeniably the most unsavoury character walking the corridors at Bromwell High – a lecherous cad oft to be found lurking behind sordid schemes and locker-room peepholes.
He really is nothing more than a slimy, arrogant, self-serving toe rag who spends his time clearing up Iqbal?s misdemeanours and avoiding staff duties. As the Machiavellian anti-hero of the show he is naturally very canny and is able to influence school policy to his own financial advantage.
Martin Jackson ? voiced by Simon Greenall
Martin Jackson is a spineless and ineffectual teacher who hates children. Late-thirties, cripplingly middle class and hides it by living in Victorian terrace in the shadow of a council estate in South East London. The bane of Carol?s life.
Carol Jackson ? voiced by Doon Mackichan
Thirties, organic clothes wearing, aspirant Guardian reader. Carol understands people of all races and creeds – except her husband, Martin. She is frustrated both sexually and in terms of her career but will never leave either Martin or the school.
Melanie Dickson ? voiced by Tracey-Ann Oberman
History/Science/Music/Anything nobody else wants to do.
An Antipodean with professional aspirations that are unlikely to be realized as she has the tact and sensitivity of an outback farmer, and similar teaching qualifications.
With a libido the size of a house, Melanie spends her spare time competing with Carol for the affections of any man with a pulse.
Mr Philips ? voiced by Stephen Merchant
Mr Philips is so far behind everyone he thinks he?s one step ahead.
Bromwell High begins on Channel 4 this Friday at 23:20. The news follows our announcement last week of Channel 4’s Punjabi comedy Meet The Magoons also starting this Friday night.
For the episode guide of this show, visit our weekly guide here.