Bad Education returns for Christmas episode that divides viewers

The instalment followed a Christmas Carol theme

Bad Education s5,13-12-2023,A Christmas Carol,Stephen (LAYTON WILLIAMS),Tiger Aspect Productions,Adam Lawrence
Layton Williams in Bad Education: A Christmas Carol. (BBC)

Bad Education’s Christmas special has divided viewers, with one calling it “painful” and saying it was time they’d “never get back”.

The BBC Three school sitcom returned for a musical-themed festive instalment, starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Layton Williams, Charlie Wernham, Mathew Horne and Vicki Pepperdine and former show star Jack Whitehall, who came back for a Christmas cameo after leaving in 2015.

The episode – entitled Bad Education: A Christmas Carol - was set on the last day of term at Abbey Grove and former pupil Stephen (Williams), now a drama teacher, staged his own funeral and had to make some big decisions about his life. He comes across the ghost of Whitehall’s Alfie, with the programme putting its own spin on Dickens’ classic.

Bad Education s5,13-12-2023,A Christmas Carol,L-R: Stephen (LAYTON WILLIAMS), Alfie (JACK WHITEHALL), Mitchell (CHARLIE WERNHAM),Tiger Aspect Productions,Adam Lawrence
Jack Whitehall was in the festive special. (BBC)

But not everyone was on board after the show aired this week, with some posting messages on X admitting it left them cold.

What did viewers think of the Bad Education special?

“What the f*** is going on with Bad Education Christmas episode,” said one person, confessing that they were “so confused”. Another viewer sniped: “This ummm... isn't good at all. Like is it just me?”

Somebody else wrote: “What were the writers of Bad Education on when they wrote the musical numbers in the Christmas Special? PMSL!”

“The bad education Christmas special is painfully unfunny!” said one miffed viewer. “So cringe and painful to watch 30 minutes I'll never get back.”

However, others thought it was spot on. “Wow, the Bad Education Christmas special is brilliant,” remarked one fan. “Wasn’t sure at first but wow, some of the musical numbers are epic.”

Bad Education s5,13-12-2023,A Christmas Carol,Stephen (LAYTON WILLIAMS),Tiger Aspect Productions,Adam Lawrence
Viewers had mixed reactions to the episode. (BBC)

Somebody else posted: “After a hectic day today I needed a laugh and so glad I did watch Bad Education the Christmas episode, it’s hilarious, so nice seeing Jack Whitehall Layton Williams and Charlie Wernham back!!”

Another fan was particularly enamoured with Williams, saying the ballroom star “CRACKED me up”. "The Bad Education Christmas Special was absolutely incredible!" said another person. "Very funny and as always Layton Williams was a STAR!!!"

When did Bad Education start?

Bad Education, which is set in a fictional secondary school in Hertfordshire, started in 2012 and ran until 2014. The first three series were penned by Whitehall, who also starred as history teacher Alfred "Alfie" Wickers.

It returned in 2015 for a film based on the series, but there was then a seven-year lull. The show returned early in 2023 with a new crop of students in Class K.

Bad Education s5,13-12-2023,A Christmas Carol,L-R: Usma (ASHA HASSAN), Jinx (LAURA MARCUS), Blessing (FRANCESCA AMEWUDAH-RIVERS),Tiger Aspect Productions,Adam Lawrence
Class K now has a new set of students. (BBC)

Williams - who has been setting the Strictly dancefloor on fire with his pro partner Nikita Kuzmin - played one of the pupils in the original series. However, when the show was resurrected this year he returned as a teacher along with fellow former classmate Mitchell Harper (Wernham).

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