A Belfast comedian has said he is “really chuffed” after he was selected to write a script for the sequel-reboot series of BBC Three’s comedy ‘Bad Education.’
Ciaran Bartlett, who is known for his sell-out comedy shows, will be joining a group of ‘breakthrough writers’ to work on the series, which is a part of the BBC’s plans to invest an extra £10m in high-impact comedy programming over the next two years.
“I’m very happy to be included” said Ciaran about his high profile writing gig on the new six-part series, a follow up to the original series which followed hapless school teacher Alfie Wikers (played by co-creator Jack Whitehall) as he taught at a fictional secondary school, Abbey Grove.
The series ran from 2012-2014 on BBC Three before being followed up by a feature film. It will return to BBC Three with a full spin-off series and a 10th anniversary special episode.
Ciaran said it was his previous work creating the Channel 4 one-off comedy film ‘Thick As’ which opened the door to writing on the series.
It is set to begin with an 10th anniversary special featuring Whitehall, before handing the lead of the series to his former ‘pupils’ Stephen (Layton Williams) and Mitchell (Charlie Wernham) as the new teachers at the school.
“I worked with a great producer on ‘Thick As’ called Luke Mason and he heard Tiger Aspect (the production company behind Bad Education) were looking for writers for a room and recommended me and it went from there,” he said.
He added he then was invited to a Zoom interview with series producer and former star Whitehall and co-creator Freddy Lyon, which he said he definitely didn’t do “in pyjamas over Christmas”.
Ciaran joined a workshop in a theatre in the city in January, which saw potential writers coming up with ideas for the new episodes.
“We all pitched ideas for episodes and characters and we chatted and basically had a real laugh coming up with the ideas for a series,” he said.
“The other writers are some of the funniest, most brilliant and kind people I've ever worked with and I had a great time.”
Ciaran, who had a former gig as a trainee journalist before his comedy career took off, said after the London visit it was a waiting game as the producers took their ideas to BBC Three. It was only a few weeks ago he received the good news, that he and other writers were chosen to write an episode each.
“These chances are so few and far between. So I was really chuffed.” he said, adding a slight illness scare put him off travelling back to London for another writing session, but he was still able to take part via Zoom. “Now we are prepping to write,” he said.
Whitehall, who will serve as executive producer on the new series, said: “The new rebooted series is so exciting. I’m so old and irrelevant I’ve decided it’s best I take more of a producer role with Bad Education, but we’ve assembled a young, talented group of writers led by the brilliant Nathan Bryon who will be carrying the torch.”
Ciaran. who has appeared on the football podcasts No Blasters and fellow Belfast comedian Shane Todd's Tea With Me online show, said it’s only the beginning for NI writers.
“Things are booming right now for comedians here. We have to make hay while the sun shines. There's definitely a wider audience for voices from here, it's just about getting out there and making your work the best it can be.”