TV Highlights

Big School

BBC One - 9.30pm

Who's in it?

The school sitcom for adults returned last night, with David Walliams back in tweed as Mr Church, with Catherine Tate as his beloved Miss Postern and Philip Glenister as macho PE teacher Mr Gunn.

In a nutshell

The first series of Big School was a tad surprising. Surprisingly nice, that is. Despite having alternative comedy types Walliams and Tate on board, not to mention serious thesps like Glenister, it wasn't some biting satire of school life, or surreal twist on a mundane setting a la Green Wing. Instead it was a... sitcom. A good old-fashioned sitcom, with silly characters and big easy chuckles. Not a show that'll ever become a cult smash, or critical darling, but, you know, nice.

The second series hasn't shaken things up, if the first episode was anything to go by. There was some madcap rivalry between Miss Postern and an old colleague who's now annoyingly successful as a kids' writers, and there were not-so-romantic mishaps with the lovestruck Mr Church. And Frances de la Tour was at her spiky best as the terrifying head teacher threatening to "destroy" any pupils who cross her. Now that's an approach even Michael Gove would approve of.

What's the verdict?

Broad, easy-going humour, likeable characters, big names, and even an appearance by Cheryl "Heather from EastEnders" Fergison – Big School has just enough going for it to keep us concentrating in class. More fun than Double Geography, anyway.

4/5

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07-07-2011